Five Things We Learnt From The Defeat To United
In what was a difficult defeat to take in the dying minutes after an excellent performance from the Eagles, it is time to pick through the wreckage and share the five things that we learnt in defeat to United.
1. In case we needed any reminding, football can be utterly cruel. Palace have now been within touching distance of four points against two of the top six only to come away empty handed. 19 out of 20 Premier League keepers wouldn’t have saved Benteke’s late header, and 49 times out of 50 Matic’s strike would have flown into the Whitehorse end. We can only hope that United’s killer blow hasn’t sucked all remaining life out of the players.
2. Palace’s injury list is starting to take its toll. Mourinho was able to shift the momentum of the game by bringing on Rashford and Mata, while Roy didn’t trust his bench enough to make a change until late in the match. By the end, we looked off our feet from continuing to pour forward, and as United forced us deeper and deeper, it felt almost inevitable that another goal would come.
3. Despite the quality of the performance, Palace will be disappointed with how they defended for United’s goals. We were guilty of falling asleep for the first – letting them back into the game at a crucial moment – and probably could have reacted quicker for the other two. Last night can be added to a long list of home games – Bournemouth, Everton, Man City and Newcastle, to name a few – where we really should have picked up all three points.
4. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has surprised a lot of people. Most will admit to being apprehensive when the youngster was given his first start against Spurs, but he has since been one of our best performers against two of the league’s top teams. He was given a real test by Rashford, but his timing of the tackle, composure on the ball and defensive maturity showed he could feature in this side for a while yet. Shout outs must also go to PVA, Townsend, Benteke and the returning Schlupp, who were all superb.
5. It ain’t over yet. Few thought Palace could get anything before yesterday’s game, and despite the manner of defeat, the task remains the same as we envisaged it would be waking up this morning. At the very least, the players showed they are up for the fight, and with only nine crucial games left, we need to be too.