Manchester United have failed to score for the third consecutive game after playing out a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park this afternoon.
Palace set out their stall early on at Selhurst Park as Dwight Gayle and Wilfried Zaha threatened. Yannick Bolasie then hit the crossbar before David de Gea tipped Scott Dann’s header over his goal. United got through the tough period and managed to get themselves on the ball more as the game went on.
Wayne Rooney looked like he was through thanks to a superb ball from Anthony Martial but Wayne Hennessey was there to clear. Ander Herrera was the next to waste a good chance for United as he failed to make proper contact on Martial’s ball into the box.
Matteo Darmian was booked for bringing down Zaha following the interval, meaning he will miss the West Bromwich Albion clash next week. United struggled to get going during the second period and found chances hard to come by. Instead, it was Palace who went the closest as Yohan Cabaye and Dann saw their efforts go inches wide. Neither side could find a winner, however, meaning they both went away with a point.
Shaky opening period
This United team struggles when a team presses them high early on and Palace did exactly that at Selhurst Park.
Zaha, Gayle, Cabaye and Bolasie all got themselves on the ball for Alan Pardew’s side after they forced United into mistakes by closing them down well. Fortunately for United, they weathered the storm and avoided a repeat of the Arsenal debacle earlier this month, although Palace did come within a whisker of opening the scoring through Bolasie. It was hugely worrying to watch how easily Palace got at United and it is a problem that van Gaal will need to faze out as the campaign progresses.
The Italian has been in and out the team in recent weeks and he struggled during the sketchy opening period against Palace.
Darmian had to cope with a number of Palace attacks and he did little to stop them as players such as Zaha made things happen for the hosts. Thankfully, he settled down along with United as the first half drew to a close but his nervy performance will do little to inspire confidence in him from van Gaal. It looked like Darmian would be the firm first-choice right-back before the season started but the position is now very much up in the air.
We seem to be saying it every week but Martial was a bright spark for United yet again on Saturday.
The Frenchman’s tricky footwork won United a number of fouls and he always looked to run at his defender. It was a rough and tumble clash against Palace but Martial also showed he was more than prepared to get stuck in for his side.
He really should have registered two assists but Rooney and then Herrera spurned the good opportunities that Martial created for them. Van Gaal finally moved Martial up top as United searched for a winner but the youngster couldn’t cap off his encouraging display with a goal.
Subdued second half
Supporters would have expected United to fly out the traps during the second 45 minutes but they instead continued to labour in their play after the break.
United zipped the ball about with relative ease but they rarely threatened Hennessey’s goal. Palace, on the other hand, looked menacing when they broke on the counter-attack. Considering the amount of money United have spent in recent years, it is staggering to see them so meek going forward.
Attack attack attack
‘We’re Man United, we want to attack’, was the chant fans in the away end sung at Selhurst Park towards the end of the game as they watched their side struggle from an offensive point of view against Palace.
Van Gaal has made United defensively sound and tough to beat, which he deserves credit for, but it is a different story at the other end of the pitch. United have an abundance of attacking talent at their disposal but opponents seem to stifle them with ease. And there is no solution to the problem in sight.