Man Utd 1-0 Palace
Crystal Palace's winless run was stretched to five games at Old Trafford thanks to a deflected Juan Mata second half strike. In an often dire affair, the visitors had the best opportunity to take the lead in the first half as Fraizer Campbell got in behind the United defence after indecision between Blind and McNair at the back. With De Gea in no mans land the striker lifted the ball over the Spaniard but also high over the bar.
The Eagles will now have to stew over this winless period over the international break before returning to fixtures against Liverpool at Selhurst Park and an away trip to fifth place Swansea City. It's never easy in the Premier League.
"Warnock, make a change!"
The last thing that the DR Congo needs right now is another trip to Africa but this unfortunately what he has to do. Since his return from international duty last time around Yala has often looked bereft of energy and it was never more apparent than yesterday at Old Trafford. After 25 minutes he went on his first meaningful run, using his pace to beat his man before whipping in a cross that caused all sorts of problems in the middle of the six yard box before going behind for a corner. Before the corner was taken, Bolasie was bent over and struggling for air. Last season he made a very similar run but travelled almost twice the distance, in the 82nd minute against Liverpool and he continued to make runs after it. There is clearly something wrong.
Finally he was dragged from the field of play in the 80th minute and by then it was too late, the damage had already been done. Mata took to the field of play and took advantage of the lack of cover down his flank and stretched a previously tight game by exploiting the space, something that Januzaj could not do before him. How he was gets into that United team over Zaha is beyond me, but that is not a discussion for now.
Watching a game from the stands is very different from watching a game on TV. It is very easy to get fixated on one aspect of proceedings and it can seem like the most important factor of the entire 90 minutes. You can then discuss the game with someone else that was there and they barely even considered it. For almost the entire game the all of the people around me were saying that Bolasie was clearly not at the races. As we all continued to corroborate with each others opinions of his seeming lack of effort I started to wonder if we were making a mountain out of a molehill and that perhaps he was doing as he was instructed from the sidelines e.g. to sit deep.
"Bolasie covered the least distance on the field by some distance."
Then the stats at the end of the game showed that of all the players that played from kick off to minute 80, Bolasie covered the least distance on the field by some distance. In a team that conceded 71% possession, this is clearly not good enough. This is not me slagging off Yala. A player is going to want to play. It's the managers decision to decide whether or not he is good enough to partake at that particular time. Clearly he was not.
Now this leaves me wondering, what is Neil Warnock and his team, we can't just point the finger at Neil here (unless he is ignoring advice from Millen and co), is seeing from the sidelines? It was obvious to the people around me and as the entire travelling supporting started singing "Warnock, make a change. Warnock, Warnock, make a change" it was clear that it was obvious to everyone else watching that things, on so many different levels, were not working.
I don't need to go on and tell you all that Neil Warnock is a dinosaur. I have made my feelings very clear in the Sunderland match report. As long as that man is at the club we will regress on the field. To miss something so obvious in this match is just another black marker on a list of many black marks against his name for me.
Manchester United are Shockingly Bad
During my life time, United have basically dominated English football. Yesterday it fully dawned on me that their time at the top, for now at least, is most certainly over. Never have I seen such a poor United team.
I laughed in the face of a United supporter that said to me after the game (the thoughts of this fan were echoed by Louis Van Gaal post match as well) "Palace only wanted to defend and that is really hard to play against." Teams have been coming to Old Trafford and defending for the past 20 years! You never heard Alex Ferguson moan about it otherwise he would have been moaning every single week.
There is clearly a lot of plot losing going on in Manchester.
Not Scoring is Criminal
With all of that in mind, not managing to score past United yesterday was embarrassing in the extreme for me. A few Palace fans were sarcastically saying on the way out, directing it at people that were moaning, "I woke up this morning and thought, Palace are obviously going to win at Old Trafford today." That sort of non-belief is what cost us in the game.
Anyone with an ounce of sense could see that United were there for the taking. Having not watched many United games this season I had to see it with my own eyes to realise how rubbish they are at the back. The Campbell chance optimised the nonsense defending that was taking place back there. If he scores, we do win at Old Trafford.
It is increasingly frustrating to watch a team seemingly intent on doing everything that they should not be doing. I think the Tony Pulis mentality of a specific role for each player has seeped into my veins as watching a team that has no direction, with players wandering aimlessly around the field, is slowly killing my desire to go to games. I haven't felt like that since the back end of the 2011/12 season when we won something like 3 in 28 under Freedman. At least at that point I wasn't being charged a small fortune to go and watch the sh*t football.
Under "strengths" on WhoScored it suggested we "showed no significant strengths". That pretty much sums it up for me.
Man of the Match: Joel Ward
His best game for sometime. Had a lot to with the lack of support from the exhausted looking Bolasie. He was kind enough to let Januzaj out of his pocket so that he could leave the field.
Having looked at various social platforms since the game it would seem that my second place for the award is Campbell. Despite one awful finish, I thought that he had a very good game and battled very well on very limited service.
Up Next: Liverpool
"After last year that should be a cracking match" said Neil Warnock. The two teams could not be more different. The Palace fans could not be more different. It is going to be absolutely nothing like last years game. Yet another misanalysis from the Gaffer.
Come on you Palace!