Sunday, May 10, 2015

"Review on Manchester United performance V/S Crystal Palace, 2-1 , 09 May 2015”

United XI: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling (McNair 84), Shaw (Evans 40), Blind, Herrera, Mata, Fellaini, Young, Rooney (Falcao 45).

Subs: Valdes, Pereira, Januzaj, Wilson.

Crystal Palace XI: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Jedinak (Lee Chung-yong 84 mins), Ledley (Puncheon 45), McArthur, Zaha (Chamakh 85'), Bolasie, Murray.

Subs: Hennessey, Kelly, Puncheon, Mutch, Lee, Chamakh, Campbell.

After three defeats in row, United's back to winning way but rather in a very unimpressive manner against resilient Crystal Palace. The first half display from United was not spectacular rather calculative in possession. Roneey played upfront as the lone striker for United until he was substituted in the second half by Falcao. It seems Rooney has some minor injury with his thigh and he was very uncomfortable before the end of first half.

It has been a revelation season for Ashley Young and he have since proven capable of leading United's attack in the absence of winger Angel Di Maria. Young was booed by the Palace fans during the entire match but he was unfazed by it. And he contributed enough for the penalty awarded in 18th minutes converted by Mata (1-0). The penalty may be controversial but it appears to be a right call from the referee point of view. Obviously, the decision was against Palace team but this is football where any decisions from the referee can go against the team or for the team.

The threat of Palace's duo Zaha and Bolaise was evident although United managed to neutralized in the first half. However, Luke Shaw was very unlucky to be injured once again and replaced in the 40th minutes by Johny Evans. Except for the penalty converted by Mata otherwise the first half play from United was uneventful. The second half of United was at the mercy of Crystal Palace  relentless attacks. United midfield players were overrun by Palace players. The experience of Michael Carrick was sorely missed in the second half.

Daley Blind is rather a good left back rather than a holding midfielder. His position in the second half was pretty awful because he was playing the ball behind the two center-backs for most of the second half. And it was very easy for Palace players to overrun the other midfield players, i.e., Herrera and Mata. I thought if Blind was more solid as a natural holding midfield then I don't think Palace would have create that many chances in the early second half. In fact, United was imbalance in defense as well as in attack in the second half. And Palace rightfully equalized the score 1-1 through a deflected free kick from Puncheon in the 58th minutes.

If not for Ashley Young trickery and pace, the second goal headed by Fellaini in the 78th minutes was far from making the scoreline 2-1 in favor of United. I felt sorry for Palace's full back Ward as he was receiving end of Young pace and trickery in the second half. And Fellaini was the man of the moment when United needed the win badly for Champion's league spot. Ashley Young and Fellaini deserved the every praises and the adulation from the traveling United fans because they didn't disappoint with their performance at all during the match.

David De Gea, I'm not sure how he managed to saves in the 71st minutes of Palace's Murray point blank shot on the goal with his palm. He is a top top goalkeeper and I won't be surprised if he signed the new deal of 200,000 pounds a week because he deserved it. Without De Gea, United would have lost nearly half of the matches they won throughout the season, and it is plain simple fact. De Gea is already emulating the greatness of United's goalkeeping greats Peter Schmeichel and Edwin Van Der Sar. All he need to do is stay for a longer period to win trophies like them.

The defense of United is nearly clicking but then an established star defender is a must signing in the upcoming summer window to instill confidence in defending. Smalling is reliable with his current form but Jones and Evans are somehow still making the fans bite their finger nails. Valencia, though consistent with his pace but he is inconsistent as an original full back and that's is his weakness. In midfield area. Herrera is doing well but he needs the good support from a holding midfielder like Carrick otherwise he cannot play his game to full potential. It is tactical advantage for United as Carrick can open up spaces for creative midfield players like Herrera and Mata.

Louis Van Gaal as manager is the best prospect for United to challenge the title next season since the sacking of David Moyes. All he needs is a couple of good signings in the upcoming summer window and injury free first team squad. For the match against Crystal Palace, I will rate the performance of the team 3 out of 5. And the deserving man of the match is certainly Ashley Young despite the good performance of Fellaini and De Gea.

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The upcoming match for Manchester United is on 17 May 2015 (Sunday) against Arsenal at Old Trafford. And the Match will start at 8:30 PM (IST).

Thank you.

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