Matteo Darmian forced an own goal before scoring himself as Manchester United recorded a comfortable 2-0 win over Crystal Palace this evening.
Man United got themselves in front within four minutes of the contest when Damien Delaney contrived to put Darmian’s cross into his own net. Julian Speroni then denied Anthony Martial from making it two with a good save. Just before the break, Palace’s Pape Souare was lucky to only see a yellow card after a wild lunge on Juan Mata.
United extended their advantage in the second half when a corner ball fell to Darmian, who took one touch before blasting into the net with his left foot. A superb double save from Speroni stopped Rashford and Jesse Lingard from killing off the game as a contest but it mattered little as United comfortably saw out the three points.
Tweak in formation and good start
Louis van Gaal tweaked his tactics against Crystal Palace by employing a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Morgan Schneiderlin sitting behind a midfield four of Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial. Marcus Rashford started up top.
The change brought immediate reward as Delaney poked the ball into his own net to give United the lead early on. As the first half developed, United looked far more menacing than they have been in recent months. They even managed plenty of shots on target. Will we see more of this system moving forward?
The 18-year-old is really coming into his own in this United side.
Rashford has it all: his vision, movement and close control are all top class. During the very early stages of his United career, Rashford scored important goals but he perhaps went missing in-between. Now his all-round game is improving, which bodes well ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup clash at Wembley.
Darmian has been disappointing in recent weeks but he enjoyed a memorable evening against Palace.
First of all, the Italian’s cross led to Delaney’s own goal. Darmian then got on the scoresheet himself when he fired home in the second half. The likes of Timothy Fosu-Mensah have come into the fore recently and Darmian would have been delighted to remind van Gaal of his talents.
United build momentum ahead of Wembley
Van Gaal’s side were much better from an attacking point of view against Palace and they will be confident heading into the Cup semi-final against Everton, who were awful as they lost to Liverpool.
Of course, anything can happen in the Cup but United certainly have an excellent chance of making it to the final.