Manchester United fell further adrift of the Premier League title contenders as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday
The first half saw a lot of end-to-end action, with both sides managing to conjure up meaningful chances. Crystal Palace came the closest through Patrick van Aanholt, who fluffed his lines from a close-range effort, while Jesse Lingard would have broken the deadlock, if not for a solid stop from Wayne Hennessey.
At the stroke of half-time, the Eagles thought they had taken lead after Cheikhou Kouyate headed the ball into the back of the net. But, the Senegalese was adjudged offside by the slimmest of margins. The same official made another contentious call post the break, with Romelu Lukaku being denied this time.
Manchester United then had David de Gea to thank for making a superb double save to deny Kouyate and Andros Townsend, who should have scored with another opportunity later on. On the other end, Lukaku’s frustrations grew as Hennessey brilliantly parried away his goal-bound effort.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 24, 2018
In the end, there was very little to separate the two sides, as Old Trafford greeted the full-time whistle with a chorus of boos. Following yet another disappointing performance by Manchester United, The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jose Mourinho’s men.
David de Gea: 7/10
A largely quiet evening for de Gea, with Crystal Palace being wayward with their shooting for the most part. But, when he was called into action, the Spaniard came off his line quickly, distributed the ball quite well and even made an excellent double save to keep the score level. Will hope this signals his own turnaround in form.
Matteo Darmian: 6/10
Darmian may have been a shock selection ahead of Antonio Valencia and Diogo Dalot. But, he was one of the few Manchester United outfield players who gave a good account of themselves on Saturday. The Italian completed all three of his tackles and was surprisingly a decent enough outlet going forward as well, judging by his usually low standards in the final third.
Chris Smalling: 5/10
A hit and miss outing from Smalling, who suffered from lapses in concentration while being largely solid on the day. On the other end, the English international should have opened the scoring for his side with a header from point-blank range; hence the lower rating.
Victor Lindelof: 6/10
One of his poorer outings since becoming a regular at the back for Manchester United. Still, much better than his performance against Manchester City, with Lindelof reading the game well for the most part while also passing the ball astutely.
The only forgettable moment for him was when Townsend flicked the ball past him in the second half. But, there was no harm done as the English speedster fluffed his lines. Did not force Manchester United to play with 10 men when he picked up a thigh injury, and even nipped a counter-attack in the bud – something that clearly went down well with Mourinho.
Ashley Young: 4/10
Starting as a left-back due to Luke Shaw’s suspension, Young looked a far cry from the inspired makeshift full-back of the last two seasons. James McArthur often gave him a scare in a footrace, and the veteran did not look the part going forward either – none of his 11 crosses were successful. Shaw will surely come back into the side straightaway next week.
Paul Pogba: 5/10
Paul Pogba's game by numbers vs. Crystal Palace:
80% pass accuracy
1 tackle made
0 shots on target
0 chances created
0 take-ons completed
Not his best display. pic.twitter.com/EQBojWv5k0
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 24, 2018
Pogba has had a tendency to switch off entirely in some matches, all through his Manchester United career, and this was one such game. There were a few moments of brilliance, as one would expected from a player like Pogba, but those only came few and far between.
Deserves some praise though, for showing determination on the defensive front, winning a couple of balls with outstanding tackles. But, it is on the other end where he produced precious little, although it was still surprising that he – and not Nemanja Matic – was sacrificed for Alexis Sanchez.
Nemanja Matic: 4/10
Much improved than his outing against Manchester City, but Matic still does not look good enough. His lack of mobility meant Crystal Palace easily overran him in the middle of the park, with Cheikhou Kouyate enjoying a lot of freedom.
Also, as has become typical of him, the Serb slowed down the game as well, whenever on the ball. One can only wonder when he will be dropped, with Fred being comparatively better thus far, and idling away on the bench.
Juan Mata: 5/10
Making his 200th appearance for Manchester United, Mata would have liked to make the difference. But, the Spaniard was lacking his usual incisiveness on the ball, although he did deserve an assist when Smalling missed a sitter in the first half. Might have done better in a central role.
Jesse Lingard: 6/10
Jesse Lingard's game by numbers vs. Crystal Palace:
most tackles attempted (5)
most tackles won (4)
most shots (3)
Strong showing. 🦁🔥 pic.twitter.com/WXqAijbhMq
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 24, 2018
Lingard did start in the aforementioned central slot and was, by far, the most potent threat for Manchester United on Saturday. The Englishman took more shots than anyone on the pitch (3), and worked hard off the ball as well – he won the most tackles on the day (four out of five completed).
Was surprisingly the first player taken off as Mourinho dug deep into his resources for the elusive goal.
Anthony Martial: 5/10
Martial had been the in-form player for Manchester United coming into the game. Could not take on Aaron Wan-Bissaka, losing the ball many-a-time, and his shooting was off as well. Another player who squandered a glorious opportunity, with the Frenchman failing to put any power on a free header, nodding the ball straight to Hennessey.
Romelu Lukaku: 5/10
As has become typical of most of his outings this season, Lukaku found himself isolated a lot of times, while his first touch was unmistakably poor. But, his hold-up play was much improved for the most part, as he tried to bring his teammates into the game.
Denied his first goal at Old Trafford since March, rather harshly so when he was pulled back for offside, and was then thwarted by Hennessey, whose excellent acrobatic save kept the score level.
Marouane Fellaini: 5/10
Fellaini was brought on as the Plan B in place of Lingard. But, his usually colossal aerial threat was missing as the visitors negated his threat rather perfectly. Could have perhaps done better had any of Young’s crosses actually reached him.
Marcus Rashford: 6/10
Showed the required urgency that most of the other Manchester United players were missing. But, his end product was lacking severely, which meant the output was not the desired one. His standout moment was on the defensive front as well, as he won a couple of tackles in quick succession to initiate a counter-attack.
Alexis Sanchez: 5/10
On for Pogba for the final 20 minutes or so, Sanchez played in a central role. But, his decision making was poor, with the Chilean being extremely wasteful with his passes.