Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace: Five lessons we learned

by Sam Peoples

A win is a win. Robin van Persie’s goals were fundamental in Manchester United winning the Premier League last year and judging by how the start of this season has gone, they will be instrumental if we are to retain our title in 2013/14.

His cool penalty in the first half gave United the lead and Rooney’s classy free-kick (great to have him back amongst the goals) ten minutes before time sealed the win.

It was hardly a vintage United performance. Chances were at a minimal and despite playing with ten men, Crystal Palace put up a very good fight but United came out on top. It might not have been the show-stopping performance that many wanted the team to bounce back with but it is a vital three points that kick starts our season after the Liverpool loss.

Debut double for Belgian boys. Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj both made their debut today and within two minutes they had both contributed to the game.

Januzaj made a darting run down the right before sending in a great cross and when the ball eventually broke to Fellaini, his first time half volley nearly found the bottom corner. A midfielder who actually looks like he might score? We’re in heaven.

There is no question that Fellaini joining United has strengthened the squad and it will be fantastic to have a real physical presence in the side but despite his price tag, his debut was overshadowed by a brilliant cameo from Januzaj.

The 18-year-old immediately looked like he belonged in the first team. On the 50th anniversary of George Best’s debut, it was appropriate that United gave a senior debut to a whizzkid from the academy.

Struggled to create chances. United dominated possession and the tempo in the first half but struggled to create any clear cut opportunities. A lack of chance creation is something that has been apparent in all of United’s games so far this season.

United played with real width for the whole match and didn’t struggle to find room on the flanks against Crystal Palace but when it came to putting the final ball into the box, Valencia and Young couldn’t find their man.

Januzaj’s introduction brought some much needed creativity with his through balls splitting Palace’s defence but with the derby next weekend, David Moyes needs to have United creating more chances than they did today.

Why Young splits the fans so much. Young is actually a decent enough winger but his constant cheating is what grinds fans.

He was rightly booked when he went down in the penalty box after leaving his trailing leg out wide to look for contact and despite earning a fair penalty later on (if it was in the box…), he had a pretty poor match.

Unlike Valencia, Young at least gets the cross in. Although, today his crosses were pretty wayward. Januzaj’s introduction brought far more success down the left for United and Young has done nothing to suggest that he warrants a place in the starting XI.

Big week for David Moyes. In the space of eight days United face Crystal Palace, Bayer Leverkusen and Manchester City so a comfortable win at home to Palace is the perfect start for Moyes.

He is a greenhorn when it comes to European football so all eyes will be fixed on how he sets his team up in Europe on Tuesday. He has already admitted Ryan Giggs’ experience will be a major factor in United’s European football but he will have a steep learning curve as there is no room for error in Europe.

Then comes the big game. Manchester City away. Last season, van Persie’s last minute winner defined the season and gave United a lead at the top that they never let go of. It is going to be a very tough away day for Moyes but he knows that if United can walk away from the Etihad with three points, it could be the victory that is the springboard for us this year.

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