Man Utd 0-0 Palace
Crystal Palace secured a first league point at Old Trafford 29 years, but much like that 1-2 victory back in 1989, we could have been racing the United fans back to London with all three points. Roy Hodgson’s men repeatedly hit the hosts on the counter only for poor finishing saving Jose Mourinho from even further headache.
The Disallowed Goals & the Officials
When Kouyate glanced a header into the far corner on the stroke of half-time, the scenes in the away end were heart-breaking. The natural cynic in me immediately glanced to the linesman as I was in the air from my first celebratory jump, and when I saw that the flag had stayed down I got twisted around by a friend and was facing away from the pitch. Then, the people from the row behind fell into my row, knocking me into the row in front. Some fifteen seconds had passed before I realised that the goal had been chalked off.
Watching back on Match of the Day, I cannot believe how long it took the flag to go up and as a result, we had to suffer loads of abuse from the United fans in the vicinity of the away end.
Revenge would come in the second-half. Lukaku, who now hasn’t scored in 11 games for them, pounced on a parry from Wayne Hennessey and tapped home only for the referee to raise his flag. The offside decision on Kouyate was tight, this was even tighter. Two particular United fans celebrated for a very long time before the grim reality struck home and they had to wear a barrage from the visiting fans.
The official on that side of the pitch should be praised. The two decisions were extremely tight, but he got them both correct. Also, at Old Trafford it is a lot easier to give the one against Palace than the one against United, so fair play to the man.
That being said, Lee Mason was busy giving the officials the bad name in between the white lines. How Lingard did not end up with at least a yellow card I will never know. Palace made two cynical fouls in the game and both were rightly punished with yellow cards. Lingard made two on his own, and neither was punished beyond a free kick.
In the second-half, Fellaini went through Milivojevic’s shin with a full complement of studs a matter of mere yards away from Mason, who had a completely unobstructed view. Apparently, studs up challenges aren’t even worthy of a free kick if committed by a United player at Old Trafford. Meanwhile, play goes on as Milivojevic is rolling around on the floor and Mason then makes another error, by blowing the whistle to stop play. It is not a head injury, they should have to kick the ball out of play. Now, the home fans are booing Milivojevic all because the most budget footballer of all time has just massacred his shin with all his studs.
The Andros Townsend Miss
When Townsend picked up the ball, there were four United players ahead of him and there looked to be little to nothing on. A drop of the shoulder and a couple of lucky ricochets later and it looked like our luck was about to turn. Andros found himself looking into the white of de Gea’s eyes and with the near post gaping, the Palace man elected to go across the Spanish stopper only to miss the far post by a whisker.
There were other misses in the game, notably Patrick van Aanholt missing a brilliant chance in the first half when Zaha destroyed Matic before breaking away and finding the unmarked Dutchman at the far post. Unfortunately, it fell on the right foot and not the left and he scuffed it wide. This one hurt far less than the Townsend miss for some reason.
Looking back over the performances in recent weeks, if we only hand someone at the end of the pitch that could put the ball in the back of the net, we’d be looking up instead of over or shoulders.
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Jordan Ayew: Is he stupid?
He was only on the field for a handful of minutes, but he managed to anger me so much that I left the stadium grumpy, instead of celebrating a historically impossible point.
Within seconds of coming on, Lindelof injured his groin and was clearly struggling. Ayew had a run against him and it was abundantly clear that the United man was holding his groin and struggling big time.
Deep into injury time, a normally 30/70 ball in favour of Lindelof was passed down the flank for Ayew, but with the injury situation it made it a 100/0 ball. Instead, Ayew, who had been on the field for a few minutes only, decided that he couldn’t be bothered to chase it. Ayew then saw Lindelof struggling, as if he had completely missed his groin holding a minute before, and then decided to chase. The two seconds that the Ghanaian international wasted meant that instead of being all but one on one with de Gea, United had the ball and the chance was gone.
On the official Palace Pod this week, Ayew was asked if he had anything to prove to the Palace fans after scoring two goals for Ghana. “No” was his answer. Cut our losses, bin him off and find someone else.
Man of the Match: Wayne Hennessey
In the first half, Wayne came and flapped at a cross, but fortunately, Chris Smalling was unable to convert at the back post. My friend lost the plot with the Welsh stopper in the stands, and from that point on he was unbeatable. Much to our delight as we turned to said friend after every save and laughed at him.
At the end of the game, the Palace fans were singing his name and he seemed delighted when he turned to applaud our support.
There is no doubt that Wayne is winning over many of his critics this season. Not all of them by any means, but now there is certainly debate and people who are prepared to fully stick up for the big man.
It is probably a combination of Dean Kiely and the competition for his place from Vicente Guiata, but you must respect that he is a much better goalkeeper than he was a year ago.
Speroni, McCarthy, Mandanda and now Guiata. Somehow, he saw the first three off, but if he sees off Guiata, he will have earned it based on his performances so far.
It would be amiss not to mention some of the other performances from Palace players. Mamadou Sakho had his best game for a while. His jumping chest down interception that then set up the chance for Andros Townsend was glorious. During the ninety minutes, I lost the number of times that I called him a beast. Well played, Mama.
Unsurprisingly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka was brilliant again. He had Martial in his pocket and absolutely skinned him at one point with the ball at his feet. Perhaps the best part of his performance was the fact that he absolutely cleaned out Ashley Young, without taking the ball. The fact is, if Aaron wants the ball, he takes it, so this means that he WANTED to clean out Young and that is fine by me.
Up Next: Burnley
The next four games are going to shape our season. Are we going to have the largely uneventful mid-table season that we crave, or are we going to be in a relegation battle? Seven, very achievable, points from the next nine and we are laughing. Fewer than three points and people will be questioning whether Hodgson should still be in a job.
It’s make or break time.
Come on you Palace!