Crystal Palace Stun Manchester United at Old Trafford
On a brisk Saturday afternoon, the once majestic Old Trafford bore witness to an unexpected twist in the Premier League narrative.
A Palace Ascendant
In a compelling display of resilience and strategic prowess, Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace soared above Manchester United, ensuring their spot above the Red Devils in the Premier League pecking order. The clash culminated in a 1-0 triumph for the Eagles, courtesy of a mesmeric finish by Denmark’s Joachim Andersen. With United unable to parry the threat posed by Eberechi Eze’s wicked free-kick, Andersen unleashed a scintillating shot that etched its path into the top corner.
The theatrical aftermath was palpable: a desolate United, met with the ire of their loyalists, trudging off amidst a crescendo of boos echoing their dissatisfaction.
The Old Trafford Drama
United’s Slow Burn:
The match started with a somewhat subdued energy, with the first significant opportunity only emerging a good ten minutes in. A casual giveaway by Sofyan Amrabat to Jordan Ayew nearly cost United. An ensuing foul granted Palace a tantalising free-kick, which would set the tone for United’s struggles to deal with Eze’s set-piece artistry.
The Turning Tide:
Palace’s doggedness bore fruit at the 25-minute mark. A needless foul just outside the box gave Eze another chance to showcase his skills. Andersen, proving he’s as adept at attacking as defending, clinically dispatched Eze’s delivery past a flailing Andre Onana.
Post the interval, Manchester United returned with a rejuvenated spirit. Dominating possession, they sought the equaliser. Bruno Fernandes, leading by example, almost delivered but was thwarted by Sam Johnstone. Their efforts, however, went in vain as Palace displayed their defensive masterclass, with Andersen and Marc Guehi emerging as the bulwarks.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Andre Onana (GK) – 6: Onana faced little pressure throughout but was powerless against Palace’s on-target effort. However, he made a commendable save off Hughes’ attempt.
Diogo Dalot (RB) – 6: Eager to contribute offensively, but often found himself reined in, dealing with the dual threats of Schlupp and Mitchell.
Raphael Varane (CB) – 6: Frequently in possession as United ventured forward and managed a fairly stable performance at the rear.
Victor Lindelof (CB) – 6: Lindelof, in sync with Varane, handled defensive distribution competently.
Sofyan Amrabat (LB) – 5: Showcased moments of promise in the inverted full-back role. Nevertheless, Ayew consistently overshadowed him in their tussles.
Casemiro (CM) – 5: Ventured more advanced than usual. Despite a robust approach, his impact was minimal.
Mason Mount (CM) – 4: A shadow of his usual self, he often looked out of depth. Also, spurned a golden opportunity with a late header.
Facundo Pellistri (RW) – 4: Hardly left an imprint on the game.
Bruno Fernandes (CAM/C) – 6: The skipper endeavoured to spark some creativity amidst a lacklustre United side.
Marcus Rashford (LW) – 5: Demonstrated flashes of menace, but requires greater consistency. Not his best outing.
Rasmus Hojlund (ST) – 5: Despite his tireless running, he found himself outmuscled by Guehi and Andersen. Regretted a missed sitter late on.
- Alejandro Garnacho (60′, replaced Pellistri) – N/A
- Anthony Martial (76′, replaced Rashford) – N/A
- Christian Eriksen (76′, replaced Mount) – N/A
- Harry Maguire (87′, replaced Lindelof) – N/A
- Donny van de Beek (87′, replaced Varane) – N/A
Unused: Altay Bayindir (GK), Jonny Evans, Hannibal
Erik ten Hag – 5: A questionable selection of players in unsuitable roles. Certainly an afternoon to forget.
Crystal Palace Player Ratings
Sam Johnstone (GK) – 7: Displayed commendable reflexes against his former club, especially thwarting Fernandes brilliantly.
Joel Ward (RB) – 7: Managed Rashford effectively, even prompting a tactical change from United.
Marc Guehi (CB) – 8: A stalwart at the back, effortlessly winning aerial duels and making key interceptions.
Joachim Andersen (CB) – 9: A stellar game capped by a sumptuous goal. Defensively resolute throughout.
Tyrick Mitchell (LB) – 6: Faced relentless United pressure post the break but held his ground.
Cheick Doucoure (DM) – 8: The linchpin in midfield, disrupting countless United advances.
Will Hughes (DM) – 7: Covered every blade of grass, tackling fiercely. Was close to getting on the scoresheet.
Jeffrey Schlupp (RM) – 6: Diligent in his role, though fluffed a prime opportunity in the first half.
Ebe Eze (AM) – 8: The heartbeat of Palace’s attack. His performances echoed creativity and drive.
Jordan Ayew (LM) – 7: A thorn in Amrabat’s side, continually offering a threat on United’s left.
Jean-Philippe Mateta (ST) – 6: An imposing presence, ensuring Varane and Lindelof had their hands full.
- Jairo Riedewald (76′, replaced Schlupp) – N/A
- Chris Richards (87′, replaced Eze) – N/A
Unused: Remi Matthews, Nathaniel Clyne, Rob Holding, David Ozoh, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, Malcolm Ebiowei, Ademola Ola-Adebomi
Roy Hodgson – 8: Hodgson’s men repaid his faith, successfully implementing his strategy.
Joachim Andersen (Crystal Palace) – Undoubtedly the man of the match with a fantastic goal and solid defensive play.