Thursday, 15 December 2016

United re-write the season's narrative and get over the line - just

For so long, it looked to be the same old story for Jose and his side in south London.

Having thought to have broken through a psychological barrier in the weekend win over Spurs, all the old flaws and frustrations that have caused so much damage this season reared their head again.

This time, though, the ending was different - a show of resilience, spirit and determination from yesteryear channelled the Reds injustices, after an officiating horror show, and rescued three points that we deserved.... just.

We chalked up successive Premier League wins for the first time since August and could be an invaluable victory snatched from the jaws of what looked to be yet another draw.

Palace might be struggling but, make no mistake, Selhurst Park is never an easy place to go, and in their last seven matches they have shared a total of 33 goals.

But Alan Pardew's side looked anything but an outfit that have been scoring - and conceding - goals for fun.

That suggested that we might have been able to wreak havoc and score more than once in a league game, a feat that has proved rare this season and one that has contributed to so much disappointment.

United dominated the first half but, without the injured Henrikh Mkhitaryan, lacked the spark and speed the Armenian has provided in his starring role of late.

He wasn't the team's only impressive performer against Spurs and was ably abetted by the superb Ander Herrera but the Basque was off his game here.

Pogba and Carrick were superb in midfield, Phil Jones impressed again and Zlatan led the line brilliantly. 

Just when we must have been grateful for a change of luck, the standard of officiating hit a new low.
United seemed to have suffered more than most other clubs from refereeing ineptitude - it has happened a staggering amount of times this term.
Regardless of the issues surrounding Marcos Rojo's challenge and then our opening goal, that does not excuse the string of errors that followed. 

Craig Pawson completely ignored Joe Ledley's blatant handball in the box and then also ruled out Juan Mata's perfectly good goal for offside - despite replays showing that he was level.

Officials do a difficult job but there have been so many shockers this season that it's a surprise Jose has not talked about a 'campaign'.

It was a moment of quality that broke the deadlock but Palace levelled after the break and the Reds were left seething at a number of dubious refereeing decisions.

Juan Mata had a perfectly good goal ruled out and we had a certain spot-kick waved away when Joe Ledley forearmed a corner away.
Palace could feel aggrieved too, but it only added to the sense that this was a match that would follow so many that had gone before. 

United could have sulked and prepared their hard luck stories again but we kept at it and Palace eventually caved in. 

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