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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 17 December, 2018


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WE’VE GOT ONE game in England’s top flight this evening as Manchester United travel to London to take on Crystal Palace.

Jose Mourinho’s side were late getting to the ground, but they’ve arrived in the last few minutes. Insert tedious joke about parking the bus. Kick-off is 8pm and we will bring you the teams in a moment.

Palace boss Roy Hodgson names Martin Kelly and Jeffrey Schupp in his starting line-up, with Timothy Fosu-Mensah — ineligible to play against his parent club — and Jairo Riedewald dropping out.

One change to the United team that defeated Chelsea last time out, as Jesse Lingard comes in for Anthony Martial, who isn’t in the squad at all.

Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Schlupp, Van Aanholt, Kelly, McArthur, Milivojevic, Townsend, Sorloth, Benteke.


Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Young, Matic, McTominay, Pogba, Sanchez, Lingard, Lukaku.

Palace, currently 18th in the table and in real danger of going down, are five league matches without a win. The Eagles went down 1-0 to Tottenham eight days ago.

United, meanwhile, hold a one-point advantage over Spurs in third and victory tonight would put them back into second place ahead of Liverpool.

Paul Pogba arriving at Selhurst Park. The Frenchman is alongside Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay in a three-pronged midfield tonight.

Crystal Palace v Manchester United - Premier League - Selhurst Park Source: John Walton

You have to go all the way back to May 1991 to find the last time Crystal Palace beat Man United in a league game. The goalscorers in a 3-0 win that day were John Salako (2) and Ian Wright.

Source: Man Utd Goals/YouTube

So, anyone out there think Hodgson’s men can take points off the Red Devils here? Give us your predictions…

Poll Results:

‘Glad All Over’ rings out as the teams enter the pitch. Palace are wearing their home strip of red and blue, while United have a change grey and white kit on.

It’s not quite Martin Tyler’s trademark “AND IT’S LIVE”…


Van Aanholt takes a hand to the face as Valencia attempts to shrug him off. Play continues for a minute until United put the ball out of play so the Dutchman can receive treatment.


The Eagles will look to fire long balls into United’s box throughout and they’ve already begun doing that. Lindelof clears initially, before Townsend’s cross runs out of play.

Moments later, Swedish defender Lindelof concedes a corner. It falls to Tomkins and the big defender sends an acrobatic overhead wide.


Save! United’s front three combine to create their first chance. Lukaku heads on the ball from downfield, Lingard gets a flick to direct it towards Sanchez, and the Chilean heads at goal but Hennessy is out to make himself big and block.

Flag 11Mins

GOAL! Crystal Palace 1-0 Manchester United (Andros Townsend) 

Selhurst Park erupts as the hosts go in front! Benteke receives the ball out wide and looks up to find the late run of Townsend. The ex-Tottenham and Newcastle attacker hits a curling first-time effort at goal, Lindelof turns his back and the ball deflects off him to beat De Gea.


United are giving the ball away too easily here and Sorloth is allowed to get his shot off from 20 yards out. De Gea makes a routine save.


A good passage of play from United sees Sanchez chip into the path of Lukaku, but Van Aanholt does just about enough to put the Belgian striker off.


Hennessy looks uncertain under a cross from Pogba, but gets away with it. Down the other end, Townsend finds space to shoot from distance and blasts well over the bar.


Still 1-0 and no decent chances at either end to report. This has been a disjointed performance from United so far. Pogba has looked well out-of-sorts, and his latest cross-field pass sails out for a Palace throw-in. It’s difficult to see what McTominay brings to the team too.


Another stray pass from United’s most expensive player, this time it’s over a crowd of bodies in the Palace box. He’s been poor, but one thing you will say is that he never shies away from the ball.


Lingard shoots off-target when a number of team-mates are waiting in the danger area. That was the wrong choice.


Yellow card – McTominay takes Van Aanholt’s legs and quite rightly receives a yellow card.


This man will not be one bit happy with that first-half performance…

Crystal Palace v Manchester United - Premier League - Selhurst Park Source: John Walton

Flag 46Mins

Second half – We’re back at it. Marcus Rashford is on in place of McTominay as Mourinho looks to inject some urgency into his team. He’s taken up a place on the left with Sanchez moving more centrally.


Rashford immediately involved and he’s running at defenders, as you would expect.


GOAL! Crystal Palace 2-0 Manchester United (Patrick van Aanholt)

The Eagles double their advantage! Quick thinking from Schlupp sees him take a free-kick and play in Van Aanholt. The wide man advances forward and drills the ball past De Gea with United caught napping.


United win their first corner of the evening and Hennessy comes but gets nowhere it. Smalling attempts to get his head on the ball but it hits Tomkins first and goes out for a goal-kick.

Flag 55Mins

GOAL! Crystal Palace 2-1 Manchester United (Chris Smalling) 

United have pulled one back! The ball is cleared out as far as Valencia and his cross is headed home by Smalling.


Van Aanholt’s cross is met by the head of Benteke but he can’t direct it goalward.


Decent stop – Valencia pulls the ball back to Pogba and he curls an effort at goal. Hennessy is well-placed to palm it away, however.


Double change – Mourinho withdraw his full-backs, Valencia and Young, for Juan Mata and Luke Shaw. Lingard is now playing as a right full-back.


Another Benteke header goes harmlessly over. 20 minutes to play.


Matic drills a strike at goal when it falls to his feet from a corner. It’s stopped on the line by Benteke but the Serbian believes he’s scored.


GOAL! Crystal Palace 2-2 Manchester United (Romelu Lukaku) 

And they’re level! Sanchez’s shot is deflected and loops up onto the crossbar. Lukaku collects the rebound and, despite having a crowd of Palace defenders in his way, somehow manages to squeeze it over the line.


That’s a super stop from De Gea, who denies Benteke moments after United’s goal. He’s right up there as one of the best, if not the best, goalkeeper in the world right now.

Palace sub – Schlupp leaves the field for Dutchman Jairo Riedewald.

Flag 90Mins

GOAL! Crystal Palace 2-3 Manchester United (Nemanja Matic) 

Oh. My. Days. That is an unbelievable strike. We’re deep into injury time and Matic lets flied from long range after the ball had sit up nicely. They’ve been below-par for much of this but that’s quite the turnaround.

About the author:

Ben Blake


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