David de Gea and Anthony Martial stood out for Manchester United as they returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Thursday.

After a heart-wrenching 2-2 draw against Southampton on the weekend, Manchester United returned to winning ways on their journey to London as they faced Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The game did not start off well for the visitors, who were immediately put on the back-foot by Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew. The first half included a penalty appeal, a few brilliant saves from David de Gea and finally a goal from Marcus Rashford on the cusp of half time.

The consequences of starting the same lineup for five games in a row started to pile up on Manchester United, who looked exhausted in the second half. They were able to somehow put the final nail in the coffin thanks to Anthony Martial’s goal in the 78th minute.

A disappointing game capped off by a couple of decent individual performances. Three points all the same; and now, The Hard Tackle runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s win following their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace

David de Gea: 8/10

The season has not been going well for de Gea, who has looked underconfident with both his gloves and feet. However, on Thursday, he found redemption. The Spaniard made five saves, one of which came from a stellar Luka Milivojevic free-kick that would have found a way into the top corner had it not been for de Gea’s superhuman effort to keep it out.

Manchester United no. 1 de Gea also seemed much more composed on the ball, completing four of his six long ball attempts and ending the game with an 88% accuracy.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 5/10

There has been little doubting Wan-Bissaka’s brilliance throughout the season, but Thursday was simply not his day. The Englishman looked tired throughout the 90 minutes, which was evident through his sloppy passes and drained dribbles. He completed none of his crosses or long balls and was lucky enough to not concede a penalty as he locked horns with Wilfried Zaha.

Victor Lindelof: 6.5/10

Victor Lindelof was immediately put on the back foot after his bedraggled attempt to find Marcus Rashford was intercepted on the halfway line by Scott Dann, who then launched a counter-attack. On a more positive note, he completed 94% of his passes, and pulled off a clutch tackle to half Zaha’s solo run. A second too early or too late and it would have been a spot kick for the Eagles.

Harry Maguire: 6.5/10

Quite a letdown. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Quite a letdown. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Harry Maguire has played every single minute of Manchester United’s Premier League campaign so far and has come up clutch on so many occassions. Not against Crystal Palace, though. He too, was showing signs of fatigue, misplacing passes and moving too slowly to defend.

The Manchester United captain was bullied off the ball a couple of times by Jordan Ayew and was lucky not to concede. We can only expect him to finish off the season with two more 90 minute performances and a European spot.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah: 6/10

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bamboozled everyone when he named Fosu-Mensah as the left-back instead of going with Diogo Dalot. It was the Dutch youngster’s first game of the season and it was clear from his game.

Fosu-Mensah did not add much to the build-up but was able to make two key passes, one of which nearly sent Rashford through on goal. He did, however, get dribbled past thrice and lost the ball 10 times. The youngster also conceded three fouls, completed 1/8 ground duels, and just 1/3 aerial duels. Still, a decent showing for his first appearance for Manchester United in nearly three years.

Scott McTominay: 5/10

McTominay replaced the in-form Nemanja Matic in the Manchester United double pivot, but was not able to do enough to impress. He was too conservative with his passes and constantly looked for Paul Pogba or the centre-backs when he got the ball. The Scotsman also conceded two fouls, one of which would have been converted if not for de Gea’s superb save.

Paul Pogba: 6/10

Another player who was suffering the impact of the fixture pile-up, Pogba was haphazard in both attack and defence. The Frenchman conceded three fouls and constantly lost possession in the final third.

He completed just 6 of his 13 ground duels against Crystal Palace, out of which only one was a successful dribble. The World Cup winner also attempted just one shot on goal, which went a bit too wide off the post. Manchester United fans will be hoping he gets the rest he deserves in the FA Cup tie against Chelsea this weekend.

Mason Greenwood: 5.5/10

Tired and sloppy. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Tired and sloppy. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It has not taken a lot of time for Mason Greenwood to become a fan favourite at Old Trafford. He has shown his immense quality with his sublime finishing and ambipedal footwork. It was far from his day on Thursday, though.

The youngster was ineffective in attack, and careless with his passing. There were a lot of moments when he could have done more, but out of a lack of effort, he could not. Proof of the same is his 36 touches of the ball and 76% passing accuracy. Disappointing.

Bruno Fernandes: 6.5/10

It could have been a lot worse for Bruno Fernande, had it not been for his assist for the opener and the key pass that created Anthony Martial’s goal. Apart from those moments, he was clearly exhausted and lacked motivation throughout. The Portuguese hit four shots off target and missed a very easy chance when he struck the pole from 10 yards out. He also lost possession a massive 28 times.

Marcus Rashford: 7/10

Marcus Rashford took it upon himself to score United’s opener in the first half after some great link-up play with Bruno Fernandes and Martial. He wrong-footed three players before hitting the ball in a nearly open net. The Englishman then added an assist to his tally after setting up Anthony Martial for their second of the game.

He lost possession 19 times, though, and was late to play the ball a lot of times. Rashford also missed attacking runs from Martial, Wan-Bissaka and Pogba and tried to keep the ball to himself instead of taking the risk of playing them through. This was very uncharacteristic of him, since he has adopted an all-round role in attack for Manchester United lately.

Anthony Martial: 8/10

Martial was the only outfield player for Manchester United who seemed to be making an effort at times. This is a man who is tired of playing the Europa League and will do everything to push for a spot in the biggest competition in Europe.

The Frenchman took responsibility of the attack on several occasions, making three key passes, and picking up the ball out of his position to run at the Crystal Palace defence. Martial was heavily involved in the first goal and scored the second one with a stunning finish.


Jesse Lingard: 6/10

Jesse Lingard was given his first outing in the Premier League since a substitute appearance against Burnley in January, earlier this year. He took up the right wing slot, replacing Greenwood, but probably did not do enough to call for a starting spot in the next couple of games.

Nemanja Matic: 7/10

This season, Manchester United have really struggled without Matic, who has come in as a key player for them since late 2019. He came on to replace McTominay on Thursday, with nearly half an hour to go and helped stabilise a midfield that had been run over by Crystal Palace for an hour.

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