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Manchester United vs Crystal Palace 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well!

Apologies there wasn’t a post after the Aston Villa game I had some issues with my laptop! It was an extremely poor performance from us, losing 2-1 and losing our unbeaten streak at home. The only positive I can think of from that game was Marc Guehi getting another Palace goal but it was overshadowed by the lack of passion showed in the performance. This form carried over into our midweek game away at Leeds, ultimately losing to a late penalty, but again we showed no real threat like we had in the previous weeks. It was up to Vieira to try get through this rough patch and hopefully it not last too long.

On Sunday 5th of December we had our 3rd game in the space of 8 days, this fixture was away at Manchester United. If you’ve been reading my posts for a while you would know I went to Manchester back in 2018 with the aim of meeting Lingard (which I was successful with), I managed to convince my mum to take me up north once again, this time to try meet Jadon Sancho, who just in the summer made the move over to England from Germany, saved us a trip to Dortmund! The trip to Old Trafford is about a 4-hour drive from South London so had to leave really early to get up in time for the match.

After a difficult start to the season United had picked up points in their last 3 matches while under their interim manager Michael Carrick, with the most recent being 3-2 against Arsenal midweek. A few days before the Palace game it was announced that Rangrick would become their manager until the end of the season, with this game being his first in charge; new manager boost has been seen a lot recently in the Prem with Vieira being one of them, so United should have been even more up for this game. Palace had beaten United on their last 2 visits to old Trafford and this fixture seemed to be leaning towards us in the recent seasons, so we needed this to continue and get us back on track!

Like I previously mentioned it was a long drive up to Manchester so we booked into the Hilton Hotel that was connected to Lancashire cricket grounds, our room had a view overlooking the field! When we got there, I needed to get changed into more warm clothes before heading down to the stadium, their disabled toilets were not appropriate at all, I barely had space to do a full turning circle and my chair is fairly small. There was also no bed so mum had to try balance me on the baby changing bed as there was no other option, I think it’s crazy how big places are still about to not have the necessary facilities for all abilities. So, after that interesting situation we walked down to the stadium, my step dad came into the grounds with me while mum went back to the hotel. The walk was obviously dominated with United fans but it was all safe and we didn’t feel intimidated at any point. We actually arrived pretty early so to waste some time we went into Hotel Football for a quick drink, we stayed in there last time we visited Manchester but it was completely sold out when we wanted to book the hotel.

By the time we got into the ground it was about 45 minutes before kick-off. We had a separate entrance to the rest of the fans so we didn’t have to mix which is much easier, they had changed the disabled seating since we last went, last time we were at the bottom of the away fans and kind of mixed with the home fans, whereas this time we sat above the away fans so had a great view. Well the view was great until it started to fill up then it was difficult to see over the tall people, but it wasn’t too bad so could see the majority of the game. The disabled visitors had access to their own food stall and toilets which was again completely separate from the other away fans.

Vieira missed the press conference due to a family emergency, but he was back on the side-line for the game. He was forced into a change taking out Ward who had received a one game suspension due to picking up 5 yellow cards, he was replaced by Clyne who was playing his first minutes for the first team this season. Benteke was also bought in to replace Edouard. Tomkins kept his place in the team as Andersen is still out injured, hopefully it’s not too long till he’s back! And Zaha was given the captains armband just like the last time we played United.

This was a 2pm kick off and I’m pretty sure the away end was sold out, so we were definitely loud and proud! United were awarded a very early corner as Tomkins was able to slide in on Rashford to put the ball out, we were shooting towards the other end for the first half so this action was directly in front of us; no real threat came from the corner but there was a final shot from outside the box (giving us a goal kick) which was frequently seen throughout the game. From the start there were some worrying moment as we gave the ball away way to cheaply, United have players that can hurt us so we really shouldn’t just gift them opportunities too. With that being said United also had their moments in the game, one being early in the first half McTominay losing possession to Zaha, he was able to break into our attacking third and set Palace on their first attack, before playing the ball through to Benteke who’s shot was tame, but he was offside so wouldn’t have counted anywhere. They appeared to be working a lot harder than they had been in the previous games, actually closing players down (specifically Conor and Schlupp), so this was nice to see as we definitely didn’t want to create a pattern in that; this then caused United to have to play back relieving us from some pressure momentarily. There was a beautiful bit of play down the left, Mitchell clipped the ball down the line to Zaha, he came inside before playing a one-two with Benteke, he found himself on the end of the box and had a shot but it was a comfortable save for De Gea. Schlupp gave a free kick away on the edge of the area, this was taken by Ronaldo and thankfully it went straight over the bar! United’s ‘star-player’ received a lot of ironic cheers from the away stand every time he made a mistake, which was surprisingly quite frequently so that was pretty entertaining to see, as he isn’t the most introverted with his actions! Most of our threat came from a linkup between Mitchell and Zaha, on another occasion they were able to win themselves a corner, although nothing came from it, it still showed the threat had. Ayew started the game relatively well winning the ball back and closing players down, including in the middle of the pitch on the 15th minute markbefore playing the ball into Benteke but he wasn’t able to sort he’s feet out fast enough so the defender could get a foot in. Mark Guehi made a great block after Ronaldo was able to get in behind the defenders, but Mark managed to get back and put the ball out for a corner. The crowd noise was completely dominated by the away fans, there was only a small section of the home fans singing and that was at the other end of the pitch, but the rest of the stadium was completely silent. A lovely little skill from Ayew got a big cheer from the away stand, as he was able to turn through the middle of two United players, his pass let him down though as he played it straight out of play, it’s super frustrating because he had done the hard bit, this was the story of our game really. United had a period of play that put us under a lot of pressure, but the final action was a shot from outside the box from Fred but it was straight into the face of Tomkins and out for a corner, it looked extremely painful but he was immediately up and didn’t need any treatment. For the majority of the rest of the first half United completely dominated us but no real danger was created, and the defence stayed concentrated and solid. We got a free kick on the half hour mark, but frustrating it backwards and ended up losing the ball and Clyne receiving a yellow card, I don’t understand why even when were in attacking positions we opt for the backwards pass it’s something we used to do under Roy but you’d thin Viera would want that out. A shot from Sancho was deflected by Guehi, it hung in the air for a while so was an anxious moment waiting to see where it would drop but thankfully Guaita was prepared to tip it over the bar. We had a brief period of possession the ball was sent into Benteke from Zaha, but it was just too close to the keeper so was easily gathered. Shortly after Ayew had an opportunity from outside the box but his shot went wide of the post. The closing stages of the half was pretty end to end, with United a little on top, but they went into the break goalless.

Palace put in a good shift in the first half, marking their men well and making it hard for United to break us down. We also had spurts of attacking threat so it would be really hard to predict which way the game would go!

Gallagher had the first kick of the second half and we were under way. Clyne did not have a great second half it seemed as though all of his passes were going wrong, it’s understandable because of his lack of minutes but it just shows how vital Ward is in the back 4; but he was solid at keeping his men quiet. There was an early chance where Benteke was nearly through after a nice run in behind, but the ball from Ayew was just to short and the defender could cut it out. Ayew was involved once again running down the wing at the United defender, his cross was just too close to the keeper and was a simple collection. After a tussle around the edge of the box Palace were awarded a free kick after a foul on Ayew on Fred, it just showed how we lack options for free kicks, Conor took it but he always looks to whip the ball into someone rather than shooting, would have been a good opportunity for Eze; we did get a corner from it nevertheless. We had a decent period of time on the ball playing it round nicely, but we definitely invite pressure onto ourselves too much by always going back, and United eventually won the ball back frustratingly. Our defence was looking very strong in the opening stages of the game again putting their bodies on the line and actually fighting for the ball. The second half corners were directly in front of us away fans, the corners on the right were taken by Mitchell, this is the first time I’ve seen him be given the responsibility, he whipped some decent balls in so that’s exciting for the future. Our first substitution came in the 65th minute with Edouard coming on in replace of Benteke. A free kick for United and Guehi booked for his foul on Rashford, the ball was whipped in my Telles looking for the goal, it just skimmed the top of the cross bar but very worrying times for us. Similarly to the first half we were making needless mistake and giving the ball away do easily. United fans were completely silent for the majority of the second half once again, it was actually disappointing to see how a 78K stadium could be so quiet. Ayew won us a corner in the 75th minute, Mitchell went over to take again, he whipped the ball towards the back post to Tomkins who could get a header back across goal, where an awaiting Ayew was advancing, he had the one more job to do just to put the ball into the net, no one around him but somehow his shot went straight past the far post and out for a goal kick. All the away fans jumped up thinking it had gone in, he has to be scoring there, and it should be 1-0 to us! If it was on target the keeper wouldn’t have had a chance in stopping it! It was nice to see us actually testing United and not just sitting back all game, looking back I would have definitely been happy with a draw if we couldn’t steal all 3 points ... but sadly that wasn’t the case. In the 77th minute United managed to break our unite down and get the first and only goal of the game, the ball was played out to Fred who was waiting outside of a packed box, and his first time shot found the back of the net, it was a good finish but it’s just extremely frustrating and disappointing how we let the point slip away minutes after we had a huge chance ourselves. Of course this woke the United fans up and they briefly found their voices. There was a lengthy period of time paused so Maguire could receive treatment for head clash with Edouard; in this time Vieira bought Eze and Olise on for Kouyate and Ayew. I think it’s way too late to bring them on, the game was calling out for their creativity much earlier, and it’s extremely hard for them to make a real impact in 6 minutes. We managed to win a free kick as Zaha received a great ball up from Eze, he managed to get past Lindelof while running onto the ball and he was bought down: Olise was on the free kick but it was sent straight out by the first United player. We had 2 consecutive corners, which Olise took again but disappointingly he couldn’t clear the first United player on both occasions. It seemed like we actually woke up and started to control the possession in the closing stages but it was just too late and the game ended 1-0.

Super frustrating game neither team created clear cut chances apart from the Ayew one for us and the goal for them, so arguably a draw would’ve been the fairest outcome, but football is a frustrating game and I guess we just need to look at the positive being we kept them quiet for so long, showed real effort in the game, and wasn’t afraid to play when in possession. With this being our third loss in a row we are currently sitting 14th in the table, hopefully we are able to pick up some points in the upcoming games and get back to the form we had a few weeks ago!

We then went around to try meet Jadon, I should probably mention he is my favourite non-Palace player so that’s why we travelled so far to meet him. After about a 30 minute wait he came out and we did manage to get a picture with him, most of the security guards were super unhelpful but it was thanks to one of them we managed to get him over, and of course thanks to my mum for shouting him over! It was a very rushed meeting but I’m still extremely happy to have finally met him after waiting about 4 years for the opportunity! After this it was nicer to get back to the hotel into the warm, and we watched the F1 race (what an end to the championship this has become!). Although Palace lost it was still an overall good day, so thank you to my mum and Steve for taking me!

Match stats:

• Palace had a total of 38.7% possession, United had 61.3%

• Palace had a total of 8 shots with 2 on target.

• United had 16 shots with 3 on target.

Our next game is at home to Everton on Sunday 12th of December, so look out for that post.

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx

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