Wednesday 20 April 2016

United 2-0 Palace: Youth, pace and promise

This was a match that United simply had to win and they easily managed to get the job done thanks, partly, to an inferior Palace side who have yet to secure top flight safety.

The Reds were everything their visitors were not-bright, creative, energetic, pacy and hungry.

One win will not paper of the cracks of a disappointing league campaign, yet Louis van Gaal's side have given themselves a fighting chance of sealing a top four place and Champions League football.

United still face difficult tests against leaders Leicester (home), West Ham (away) and must also travel to a Norwich side fighting for their Premier League lives before we end the league season at home to Bournemouth.

It was one of those days that suggested United's future might be bright after all.

There have been others- tantalising glimpses like the 3-0 at Everton, the home win over Arsenal and the derby day victory at the Etihad.

This result, over a Crystal Palace outfit who showed next to no ambition wasn't as eye catching but it was a professional job done and there were at least promising signs of life.

Van Gaal picked Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford together in the same team for the first time.
The quartet were all happy to get forward and help their side boss the game in one of our better home performances- albeit against toothless opponents with their minds on the weekend. 

It was as if he was determined to play his part after calling for his team to step up a notch after another pedestrian performance on Saturday.

The first half alone saw seven shots - six on target- an early goal and 62% possession.
It was entertainment, LVG style.

United's previous four league wins had all come with a 1-0 scoreline but, this time, we always looked likely to add to our lead against a limp and lifeless Palace side. 

But for keeper Julian Speroni, the Eagles would have been on the receiving end of a rout as Martial, Rashford and Lingard once again hinted at United's promising future. 

The trouble with almost every other good United performance this season has been that it's been swiftly followed by an awful one.

Van Gaal will hope that habit is broken in time to book a place in the FA Cup final.

His job may yet depend on it.

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