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Mata saves United as Van Gaal's men labour to Palace win

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Manchester United barely scraped past a poor Crystal Palace side at Old Trafford, with Juan Mata coming off the bench to break the stalemate.

Richard Heathcote

The Van Gaal revolution continues. Manchester United unleashed their philosophy in all its glory on a pretty rotten Crystal Palace side, and were largely poor until Juan Mata came off the bench to score the only goal of the game.

There were few chances at either end for most of the first half, with Adnan Januzaj, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney looking pretty poor, and Angel di Maria continuing his recent form of showing some nice touches but lacking any real penetration.

United were shooting from range in the first half with little success, although Luke Shaw did force Julian Speroni into a good save after a fine run and shot. But it was miserable fare all-round, until United had a huge scare at the end of the half when Fraizer Campbell took advantage of hestitation from McNair and Blind to go through on goal, but lifted his shot over.

United marginally improved after the break, Marouane Fellaini saw a header cleared off the line, before having a penalty shout turned down, but then came the turning point. Juan Mata was introduced for the disappointing Januzaj, and soon fired in a slightly-deflected shot from the edge of the area to break down Neil Warnock's side.

United took the opportunity to sit back for ten minutes and Palace begin to push for an equaliser, but lacked the quality to seriously threaten. The game ended on a slightly sour note as Paddy McNair went off with what appeared to be an injury, which means we can probably look forward to a Carrick-Blind centre-back pairing soon.

Still, three points, eh?