A Nemanja Matic stunner late in the game sealed three points for Manchester United in a belter of a clash against Crystal Palace.
Manchester United came back from two goals down to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at the Selhurst Park on Monday night.
It was the home team that started positively and they were duly rewarded when Andros Townsend’s strike ended up in the back of the net via deflection of Victor Lindelof just ten minutes into the game. Two minutes into the second period, Palace doubled their advantage courtesy of a Patrick van Aanholt strike.
Chris Smalling pulled one back for Jose Mourinho’s men in the 54th minute heading in an Antonio Valencia cross. And with fifteen minutes left to play, Romelu Lukaku brought the Red Devils back on level terms, displaying good composure in front of goal. United kept knocking on the doors and in the second minute of the added time, Nemanja Matic struck a stunning volley to complete a fantastic turnaround.
Nemanja Matic’s 91st minute winner v Crystal Palace was his first goal for @ManUtd – also the first goal Palace have conceded beyond the 90th minute in the PL this season
United have now scored 11 PL goals from outside the box this season, joint-most with Man City pic.twitter.com/sYL6RjvxWa
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) March 5, 2018
The result meant Manchester United moved back into the second place in the Premier League standings, two points above third-placed Liverpool. Here’s how we rated the performances of the United stars on Monday.
David De Gea: 6.5/10
The Spaniard had little chance to stop the first goal, owing to a big deflection. Was rooted to his spot and ended up getting beaten at his near post by Van Aanholt for the second. Proved his worth again with another sensational stop to deny Christian Benteke with the score at 2-2.
Antonio Valencia: 5.5/10
Poor start, giving away a silly free-kick and conceding possession regularly. Was culpable to some extent for the second goal as he completely switched off. Somewhat redeemed himself setting up United’s first goal, before being taken off. The captain’s form has been on the wane of late.
Victor Lindelof: 4.5/10
Another very jittery display from the Swedish centre-half. Started off with a sliced clearance leading to a corner and was unlucky to see Townsend’s strike deflect off of him into the net. Improved his positioning thereafter and tried to battle the physical Benteke. Doesn’t look Manchester United quality, though.
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 5, 2018
Chris Smalling: 5.5/10
Began very nervily, failing to connect with a clearance that put his partner under pressure. Showed Benteke too much respect in the buildup to the opening goal and was caught napping for the second. Started the turnaround with a very well-placed header to make it 2-1. Made the most clearances on the night, but still doesn’t convince.
Ashley Young: 4/10
Nowhere near Townsend in the leadup to the opener. Tried to drive forward but was too predictable and lacked any sort of cutting edge which United craved for badly in the first period. Booked. A forgetful display from the veteran.
Scott McTominay: 4/10
Time can be a cruel mistress. From being the talk of the town last weekend after taking Eden Hazard out of the equation against Chelsea, McTominay endured a poor game at the Selhurst Park. His passes were haywire and he struggled to keep up with the pace of the game. Booked for a bad challenge on Van Aanholt. Taken off at half-time and rightly so.
Nemanja Matic: 6.5/10
The Serbian too was some way off the level of his performance against Chelsea last weekend. Found it hard to cope with the Palace midfield early on and gave away the free-kick leading to the second goal for Palace. Improved thereafter and sealed all three points for United with a special strike late in the game. Couldn’t have picked a better time to get his first goal for the club.
Paul Pogba: 4.5/10
Not in his elements in the early exchanges. Constantly mishit passes and conceded possession, looked lethargic and arguably played his worst 45 minutes of football in a United shirt. Improved after the break and drove his team forward in search of ways to turn things around but it was nevertheless a poor display from the Frenchman.
Jesse Lingard: 6/10
One of the few positives for the Red Devils in the attacking third, the academy graduate constantly looked to pose problems for the Palace defence with his sharp movement and pace. Did a more than decent job after being shifted out to right-back in the final stages of the game.
Romelu Lukaku: 6.5/10
Hardly got a look-in in the first half but continued to work hard at the top as he has done all season long. And when the chance presented itself in the second period, he did not miss out as he showed a calm head under pressure to slot home from close range for 2-2. Has now scored 23 goals in all competitions since his summer move.
Alexis Sanchez: 5.5/10
Tried to galvanize things in an insipid first period for Manchester United, but things just did not seem to work for the Chilean international. It did not help that he always tried to get into a central position, given Palace were always trying to narrow down the pitch. Not at his best, but the spirit and the endeavour was there to see.
Marcus Rashford: 7/10
Seemed to spark life into United’s forward play after his introduction at half-time in place of McTominay. Stretched the Palace backline and gave them plenty to think about with his pace and direct running. Staking a claim for a starting berth for next weekend.
Luke Shaw: 6/10
Coming in place of Young as United chased the game, the former Southampton man impressed and made a strong case for himself to be involved on a more regular basis. Showed great urgency and positivity, helping United stretch the home side’s defence.
Juan Mata: 6.5/10
On for Valencia in the second period, the Spaniard added another dimension to United’s attacking play with his intelligence and ability to exploit spaces in the final third of the pitch.