Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace: United scrape a dull win at Old Trafford

Michael Regan

Manchester United were pretty disappointing for most of their game against Crystal Palace, with a Robin van Persie penalty and Wayne Rooney free-kick

We still dont' know if David Moyes is the continuity candidate in terms of winning trophies and building great teams, but he certainly is for getting Manchester United to win while playing badly, if today's match against Crystal Palace was anything to go by.

United were mostly lethargic and lacklustre against the newly-promoted South Londoners, although did begin the first half quite brightly at least - Julian Speroni had to be alert to deal with Michael Carrick's long-range effort, before United had a penalty appeal when Mile Jedinak brought down Patrice Evra in the area, although the referee waved play on.

Palace were keeping United at bay too easily, although two flashes of brilliance from Robin van Persie went close to breaking the deadlock, first backheeling Evra's ball wide of the post and then meeting a lofted Wayne Rooney pass with a majestic volley which smashed against the woodwork. Ashley Young then went down in the area, again under a Jedinak challenge, but the referee correctly booked the winger for diving as his reputation preceded him (rightly, in this instance.)

Yet Young was soon involved again right before the end of the half, again going down under Jedinak's challenge, the decision this time very marginal, but the Australian midfielder was given a red card for the tackle, and Robin van Persie coolly dispatched the penalty to put United into a 1-0 lead as the half-time whistle blew.

Despite the man advantage, United were somehow even more lethargic in the second half, and struggled to make any impact on the game until two substitutions which will hopefully be a sign of things to come were made - Marouane Fellaini made his United debut in place of Anderson, before even more promisingly, Adnan Januzaj replaced Ashley Young.

United immediately improved after the introduction of the two Belgians, and Januzaj soon had a hand in the killer second goal after beign fouled 25 yards from goal. Wayne Rooney, who was otherwise having a poor game, stepped up to curl the free-kick into the bottom corner to seal the win and the points.

All in all, United were disappointing, but their play was far better after the introduction of Fellaini and Januzaj, and it seems both are ready to play a role in this team already. Fellaini should really be starting our next game, while Januzaj has showed he can make an impact from the bench. We've had plenty of gritty wins like this before, and were slightly fortunate with the penalty and red card, but Palace hardly threatened all game. Improvement is needed, and we're bound to get some "at this stage of the season the only thing that matters is the three points" talk. For now, we'll take the win.

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