5 Things Learnt From Manchester United’s Win Over Crystal Palace

Although Manchester United was the better team for most parts of the match against Crystal Palace, they needed Juan Mata to come off the bench and register the only goal of the game. Barely five minutes after he came on for Adnan Januzaj, Mata was on hand to curl in a deflected shot that beat Palace goalie Julian Speroni. The result brought a sigh of relieve around Old Trafford as the fans were beginning to get weary of the winless run that they have witnessed in their last three matches. The match has come and gone and however lacklustre as the Red Devil appeared today, they will relish the 1-0 victory but then there are about five lessons that the Old Trafford outfit should learn from it.

Manchester United were not at their best: This could be as a result of the absence of several squad members but then the Red Devils still lacked the flair that they had shown when they faced Chelsea and Manchester City in their previous two matches. All through the first half, Louis van Gaal’s men failed to create clear cut chances despite the fact that they dominated consistently. Apart from the run that Luke Shaw made into the box, the Red Devils couldn’t really get past the Palace defenders and if Campbell had converted the chance he had in the first period, things could have been messier.

The Red Devils could still manage a clean sheet despite defensive frailties: This was in fact Manchester United’s first clean sheet in seven games and if credit is to be given out to some players, then a huge chunk will definitely be passed on to David De Gea. The Spaniard had in front of him a team of make-shift defenders. The manager had paired Daley Blind and Paddy McNair in the central defence and Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw in the wing-back positions. With this kind of defenders, keeping a clean sheet might seem like a fairy tale but Manchester United could still manage to achieve it.

Louis van Gaal is a risk taker: How many managers have the courage to tweak their entire backline in the game’s closing stages. It was McNair and Daley Blind who started in the central defence but as the game wore on van Gaal made an adjustment that saw Daley Blind move into his natural position with Michael Carrick replacing him in the defence. In the injury time, the manager once again showed confidence when he brought Vice-captain Darren Fletcher in for Paddy McNair. This tactic made Blind return to pair Carrick in the defence leaving Fletcher to handle business in the midfield.

Shaw will not disappoint: Many have wondered why Manchester United paid so much for an untested teenager but since the former Southampton man recovered fully from his injuries, he has been a sight to behold. In today’s game, Shaw won all the tackles he was involved in and also two of the aerial duels he contested. He was on hand to make seven clearances and two blocks with an overall 84% pass accuracy. With the rate at which the lad his improving, Manchester United may have another Patrice Evra on their hands.

The Louis van Gaal and Robin van Persie bond: Several people believed that James Wilson will get the nod ahead of van Gaal’s countryman due to Robin’s dip in form but it appears that such won’t be happening anytime soon. Obviously, the bond that exists between Robin and his boss is beyond the comprehension of many.