DAVID MOYES’ STRUGGLING Manchester United side got back to business after their warm-weather break in the Middle East. Tony Pulis aimed to heap more pressure on the Old Trafford boss as they faced off in south London. Here’s how it unfolded:
Full-time: Crystal Palace 0 Manchester United 2
16.45 – So United need to make a statement this evening at Selhurst Park; preferably without one of their forwards kung-fu kicking a Palace fan. Here’s the team that Moyes reckons can do just that:
De Gea; Smalling, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Carrick, Fellaini; Mata, Rooney, Januzaj; Van Persie.
What do you think of that? Looks relatively strong, no?
16.46 – Cork native Damien Delaney was included in Martin O’Neill’s squad for the Serbia friendly earlier this week. He’s in Tony Pulis’s side today:
Palace: Speroni; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Parr; Puncheon, Jedinak, Ledley, Ince, Murray; Chamakh.
17.16 – Paul Ince is in the Sky Sports studio to watch his son take on his former side. Anyone fancy Thomas to make an impression this evening?
17.29 – Reckon this is how they’ll line out, then?
17.30 – The old south London venue is united in applause to remember one of English football’s icons, Tom Finney.
17.31 – Glenn Murray makes his first-ever Premier League appearance as he returns after 10 months on the sidelines. He hit 30 goals in the Championship last year.
17.35 – Murray makes his presence felt early on as he challenges Chris Smalling in the air at the back post and forces a header. The home fans are in full voice as you can imagine for a Saturday night game against the champions and this will not be easy for Moyes et al.
17.40 – In that now-infamous draw with Fulham recently, Rooney passed to RVP twice; and once was a kick-off. The England man tried to connect with his strike partner there, beating Ireland defender Delaney in the air to nod down for van Perise. The Dutch international tried a spectacular effort however, that didn’t come off.
17.44 – It’s Cantona day for the away fans today. Here’s a group in Le King masks on the way to the ground:
17.47 – Check out this miss from Edin Dzeko earlier:
17.48 – 16 minutes: Adnan Januzaj had the ball in the net, having drilled the ball home from the edge of the box but referee Michael Oliver ruled it out quickly for a handball I think.
17.55 – Co-commentator Alan Smith reckons that beating Bobby Charlton’s club goalscoring record must be ‘part of Wayne Rooney’s thinking’ in signing a new eye-wateringly huge contract. Call me cyncial but I don’t think it’s top of his priorities, Smudger.
Source: Sky Sports
17.58 – Former Turner’s Cross favourite Damien Delaney had the ball off the line moments ago, rising well to head it clear under pressure. Wayne Rooney had tried to dink one into the top corner while Vidic couldn’t head home form close range moments later.
18.11 – 38 minutes: United are probing a little here but to no great effect, epitomised neatly moments ago as Carrick tries to thread a pass through to midfield partner Fellaini but the Belgian gives away a silly free-kick to give the hosts a reprieve. What do you think of it?
18.17 – First-half garbage time and Wayne Rooney whips a free-kick wide. ‘He did the hard bit’ says Alan Smith of the effort that beats the Palace wall but curls wide.
18.18 – Peep peep! The teams head in all square after a 45 minutes in which United have failed to spark despite their four star forwards starting.
18.34 – 46 minutes: Crystal Palace have started the second half brightly, earning a corner which Wayne Rooney hacks away.
18.38 – Jason Puncheon had a clear sight of goal thanks to a lovely knock down from lively striker Glen Murray*, but the Palace winger couldn’t beat David De Gea. United are yet to emerge from the dressing-rooms, really.
(*Any Irish grandparents, son?)
18.44 – 55 minutes: The first possession stats are in my friends… and the Eagles are enjoying 52% of it.
18.47 – United enjoyed a few consecutive minutes of possession in which they tried to open up this well-organised Palace side but couldn’t find a gap. Then when the ball was worked back to Vidic, the big Serb made one of his ever-more frequent mistakes and had to make a cynical foul and take a yellow card to avoid a major blunder. Moments later Murray cleverly volleyed one over his shoulder but De Gea was equal to it.
18.48 – Penalty! Evra was adjudged to have been fouled bu Chamakh after the hour.
18.49 – GOAL! Palace 0 United 1 Robin van Persie breaks the deadlock and runs to the away fans to celebrate.
18.55 – United’s first shot inside the box this evening was that penalty:
Source: Jonathan Fadugba
Glen Murray is applauded off the pitch to be replaced by Cameron Jerome, meanwhile, and he immediately forces a good low save in the corner from de Gea.
18.56 – GOAL! Crystal Palace 0 Manchester United 2 – Wayne Rooney 69′
18.59 – Well, you get what you pay for, as those VW Golf ads are telling us lately. And Wayne Rooney reminded some of us why Old Trafford chiefs are happy to sign off on a new £300k-per-week deal for the England forward.
Patrice Evra got to the byline, pulled it back to the edge of the box and Rooney met it sweetly to score what Martin Tyler described as a’rasper’.
Source: Daniel Hambury
19.09 – 80 minutes: Giggs is on for Janusaj, bringing up United’s average by a couple of decades. Martin Tyler is reminscing about that school night at Selhurst Park in 1995 when Cantona was sent off for a trip on Richard Shaw and then launched himself into the crowd. Giggs was watching from the bench that night.
19.16 – 87 minutes: This game looks dead and buried. Fellaini’s off for Fletcher. Here’s that Rooney strike:
19.23 – And it’s all over. David Moyes and his players get back on track with a workmanlike win in south London. Next up, Greece and the Champions League last sixteen.
What did you make of it?