Dean Henderson stood out, but Bruno Fernandes and the rest of the attack faltered as Manchester United played out a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace.
On a misty night that was already making it hard to follow the proceedings from a distance, the game became even more unwatchable by the quality on offer. In fact, between the two sides, there were just three shots on target, with Nemanja Matic’s early deflected effort being the closest Manchester United got to scoring.
At the opposite end, Dean Henderson’s smothering save to deny Patrick van Aanholt ensured at least one point for the visitors. However, after playing out a drab goalless draw, Manchester United are now 14 points behind Manchester City, following the leaders’ win over Wolves on Tuesday. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
Dean Henderson: 8/10
The clear standout for Manchester United. Henderson did not have a great deal to do in the game, which meant it was a big test of his concentration when Patrick van Aanholt had a late chance coming his way. The English goalkeeper, though, made a huge save to preserve his clean sheet and give Solskjaer one more reason to make him the first-choice goalkeeper.
Goals conceded by Dean Henderson this season [club appearances only]:
Another solid performance between the sticks. 🪨 pic.twitter.com/XmPElmhCmO
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 3, 2021
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Wan-Bissaka. The right-back was solid enough at the back and dealt with Eberechi Eze reasonably comfortably. Going forward, though, he was sloppy, giving the ball away 17 times while also failing to pose a threat with his deliveries. Needs to do better.
Eric Bailly: 7/10
Solskjaer continued the Bailly-Lindelof rotation on Wednesday and the Ivorian gave a reminder as to why he deserves even more minutes. A rock-solid presence at the heart of the Manchester United defence, Bailly hardly put a foot wrong and was the better of the two centre-backs when it came to showing composure in crunch moments. A step in the right direction.
Harry Maguire: 6/10
While he would be delighted with the clean sheet, Maguire will also consider himself to be fortunate after a couple of inexplicably sloppy moments went unpunished. Having said that, the Manchester United captain was imperious in the air, winning 6 aerial duels, which helped negate Christian Benteke.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
The best of the Manchester United defenders, Shaw did his defensive job diligently by keeping a check on Andros Townsend. Going forward, the English international was once again one of the more creative prospects for the visitors, although this time around, quite a few of his crosses did not meet the intended target. The chance for Daniel James was beautiful, though.
A blow-hot-blow-cold performance by Fred, who looked to keep the ball moving whenever he got on the possession. However, he could not move it quickly, which, in turn, contributed to a drab display going forward by Manchester United. Needs to show more urgency.
Nemanja Matic: 6/10
Back in the starting lineup, Matic came the closest to scoring for Manchester United, which in itself says how poorly the attack performed. Apart from his deflected goal-bound effort, though, Matic settled in well in midfield and kept Manchester United ticking with quick passes, completing 92 percent of his attempted balls. However, one moment when he gave the ball away could have been crucial.
Mason Greenwood: 5/10
The brightest prospect in attack for Manchester United, although that does not really say much. Greenwood tried to manufacture a chance at times, and he came within whiskers of scoring from a left-footed shot in the second half. Could not link up with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani that well, though.
Bruno Fernandes: 4/10
The Manchester United talisman has been experiencing some rough times in the Premier League of late and Wednesday’s outing was more of the same. The run of games seems to be taking a toll on Bruno Fernandes, who appeared to be quite jaded and frustrated in the game while also being quite sloppy in possession, although he did play a game-high 4 key passes. Could do with some rest.
Marcus Rashford: 3/10
The terrible run of form continues for Marcus Rashford, who was clueless in the final third against Crystal Palace. With the hosts putting men behind the ball, the Englishman was wasteful with the ball at his feet and did not take on his defenders as much as Solskjaer would have liked. In need of some inspiration right now.
Edinson Cavani: 5/10
Back in the starting lineup after recovering from an injury, it was a frustrating return for Cavani. The veteran striker was left isolated for large parts of the game, with both of his shots being off target. Did create a half-chance but that was as good as it got on a night to forget for him and the Manchester United attack.
Scott McTominay: 5/10
On for Fred, McTominay looked to provide some urgency from midfield, but the goal never really came.
Daniel James: N/A
On for Cavani, James looked to be a menace with his pacy outlet and even got a fine chance coming his way after showing some superb movement. However, he failed to provide the finishing touches from his header, one that Cavani would likely have buried.