Manchester United played out a third successive draw, the game at Selhurst Park offering very chances for both sides. Now 14 points off their rivals, the Red Devils will go into the Manchester derby on Sunday playing for the pride of finishing in the top four in the Premier League.
The game started with Luke Shaw looking dangerous on the left, floating in balls at the heart of the Crystal Palace defence. The first big chance of the game fell for Bruno Fernandes, the Portuguese on hand to set up Nemanja Matic for an effort from range just outside the box, Vicente Guaita equal to it to tip it away for a corner after the ball deflected off James McCarthy making it it awkward for the Palace keeper.
Marcus Rashford came close moments later as he combined with Shaw once again. The ball delivered from the left flank into Palace's danger area, with Rashford's penultimate shot fizzed past Guaita's left hand post. The Eagles threatened themselves in their own build up play with Andros Townsend attempting an effort on Dean Henderson's goal only to hit the ball into the ground in the process.
The match was not the greatest advert for football, both teams defending deep in their respective halves and severely lacking in quality all over the pitch. Mason Greenwood had United's best chance late in the second half looking for the top left hand corner of the net after his ambitious strike from outside the penalty area, the ball missing the goal by centimetres. Palace's Patrick Van Aanholt nearly grabbed the winner late on trying the sneak the ball under the legs of Henderson deep in the box, but it wasn't meant to be for both sides, both leaving London with a point apiece.
United stay in second place
After a fair to say lethargic performance from the Red Devils most players were average underperforming on the night, United are now 14 points behind their rival counterparts Manchester City. Clearly missing Paul Pogba's presence, the man central to driving at defences but also his presence of game management, the Reds failed to replace his credentials in midfield, during the match in South London.
The Red Devils did look better when Daniel James was introduced for Edinson Cavani late on but the performances weren't good enough on the night for a side still fighting to stay in touch of Man City at the foot of the table.
Man United had 11 shots on goal during the game compared to Palace's two, with one shots on target to the Eagles two. The possession count for the Red Devils was much higher with a 63% to 37% ratio at Selhurst Park. The total pass count for the Red Devils was a big 587 to Palace’s 351. The Manchester side also had the better passing accuracy of 86% to the host's 78%. The statistics tell us the visitors lacked the end product on the evening and were very pedestrian going forward on the pitch.
Solskjaer admitted his team lacked a spark with Palace making it very difficult
United now have Man City in their sights after the 0-0 scoreline. Ahead of the big game, Solskjaer wasn't satisfied with the performance on Wednesday night, expecting more next time out at the Etihad Stadium.
"It's disappointing. We were just a little bit off. If you're not spot on you won't win games. Palace always make it hard for you. In the second half we never got going. Sometimes it's human nature, sometimes you don't work at your best. Today we didn't. It's been a long season I'm not blaming that because everyone has the same season. You're playing against a good team who make you play the way they want to."
"We kept giving the ball away. There were times in the first half we built some pressure, had some half decent chances but kept giving it away. Then you don't build momentum and that's the game you get. It's not good as you know if you want to move up the table you need to win. You have to earn the right, you have to win tackles, you have to fight, you have to play passes better, we kept giving the ball away. The tempo was missing, once in a while it happens. It wasn't one of our best night that's for sure. We just have to find a spark again, the quality again and try and win the games."