Manchester United got back to winning ways in the Premier League after beating Crystal Palace 3-1 at Selhurst Park on Wednesday evening thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Ashley Young. Contributing writer, Nathan Quao, had his eye on the game and puts down his observations.
Winning response after Liverpool
Despite the challenges of injuries to loads of first team players, winning at Crystal Palace was important and incumbent on the Red Devils and it was pleasing to see that the players were willing to give their efforts to get the points.
It may not have been classy but it got the job done especially seeing that Palace had experienced some good times in the last few weeks in terms of their fight against relegation. Add last season’s thriller and the South Londoners were not going to be easy pickings for Solskjaer’s men.
The efforts were commendable and the discipline to stay compact and remain locked in for large parts of the game was great.
With Arsenal winning, three points on a tough trip was a huge relief to the Red Devils.
Top marks to Luke Shaw for a follow-up to the performance against Liverpool. He set up the first goal for Lukaku and he was one of the best Man United players in the game.
The Belgian has not enjoyed a consistent run under Solksjaer but he came alive against Palace and led the line as well as he could have done for the team.
The industry was apparent and he was ready to hold the ball where possible and mix it up with the Palace backline that was physical.
However, Lukaku provided the base for the victory: two important goals at two important moments especially the second because it was the cushion that eased the pressure after Palace scored and were threatening to find the leveller.
The former Everton man earned every bit of the plaudits on the night and he gave the manager a reminder of his qualities and probably his status as the main man before Rashford found form.
With the games coming quickly, he is showing that he still has something to contribute to the cause and it is a great tool for the manager to possess in the pursuit of top four football and perhaps, a trophy.
Top four hunt still on
With the team being one point behind Arsenal ahead of the next round, the victory keeps the chase for European football alive. It is crucial to be in the mix at all times between now and the end of the season.
Beating teams of very shade is a large part of that job and that is solely down to Solksjaer and his players. They cannot fail or falter at this point of the season.
The other part of the hunt will hang on other results and a match like the North London Derby between Spurs and Arsenal on Saturday is a chance for the Red Devils to get into the top four on the table.
A few of such matches remain this season and Man United must be prepped to take advantage of them to make the Champions League next season. It is non-negotiable.