A brace from Lukaku and then one at the end from Young made sure Manchester United remain unbeaten under Solskjaer in the league
A long list of absentees due to injury meant Solskjaer had to make changes to his squad to get the balance right. Everyone expected Chong to start but it was surprising to see Dalot playing as a right winger along side Lukaku and Alexis in the front three. Unavailability of Matic and Herrera meant Fred got a start for the first time since Boxing day alongside Scott.
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17 year’s old Garner also made his first team debut for United as a subsitute coming on in the dyeing stages of the match. He is also expected to be involved at the weekend as confirmed by the manager himself.
Manchester United should have scored early in the first half when a cross from Luke Shaw found a free Lukaku, who kicked it over the goal post. Crystal Palace responded quickly and could have scored when a tap in from Townsend missed the goal as well.
The decision to play Dalot as a winger seemed to be a tactical ploy in order to provide more defensive cover on the right for Ashley Young. Zaha’s speed and recent
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The game was looking balanced when finally Lukaku scored after a brilliant run from Luke Shaw. The left back attracted three players, leaving room for Lukaku to crisply find the bottom right corner.
Manchester United could have had a great start to the second half when a pin-point cross from Dalot found the head of Pogba. Paul, however, was not able to keep it down. United kept going and finally found the net again when a corner from Young found Smalling, who headed it towards Lindelof, who then found the left foot of Lukaku.
There was a sudden switch of momentum as soon as Crystal Palace went two down and they showed a great response. United failed to clear the ball in their area and following a mistake from Young, a diving header from Ward meant Palace were back in the game.
The home crowd got their mojo back and it appeared that Crystal Palace were more likely to score the next goal of the match. But Paul Pogba rose to the occasion and against the run of play following a great link up play with Lukaku, found Young who scored in an emphatic way.
Two goal lead killed the game and United looked in total control from that moment onwards. Meanwhile Bailly was also subsituted to shut the shop at the back and Rashford also got some game time in place of the struggling Alexis.
David DeGea: Cannot be blamed for the goal, looked a bit rattled giving away the ball but calmed himself down. =>6
Ashley Young: Was to blame for the Palace goal but made up by scoring one himself. Still weak defensively. =>6
Chris Smalling: Replicated his performance against Liverpool. Could have cleared the ball on one or two occasion but yes much improved. =>7
Victor Lindelof: Settled as the first choice CB for United. Firm while defending and great when going forward. Got an assist as well. =>8
Luke Shaw: Made full use of the width available. Got a brilliant assist and had the game of the season. =>8
Fred: Could not utilize the opportunity. Gave the ball way to often and still need time to adjust it seems: =>5
McTominay: Looked calm and composed. Had control of the midfield and is playing much more than his expected potential. =>7
Paul Pogba: Was not at his absolute best but still controled the game going forward. Got the important assist for the third goal. =>7
Alexis: Still struggling to prove his worth. Made some nice runs and passes and but no end product again. =>4
Lukaku: A much needed performance from him. Missed an easy chance but got back to score two. => 7
Dalot: Looked decent playing in an unnatural position at the right wing. Produced some good crosses. =>6
Rashford, Bailly and Garner were the three subs used and each quitely did their respective jobs without getting much noticed.
The victory meant Manchester United for the first time have won 8 games in running away from the home. The fans would be expecting the same to continue as United next travel to France before hosting the Saints at home.
It was also very important for Lukaku to score and get some of that confidence back as he has not been quite himself this season. Solskjaer again showcased his tactical strength and further cemented his claims to get the job turned permanent.