Wayne Rooney’s fabulous volley earned them crucial three points away from home at Selhurst Park last night and kept within touching distance of Liverpool.
The reigning champions made their visit to Crystal Palace, who have been a rigid outfit under Tony Pulis, looking to end their winless streak and got the first break when Patrice Evra was brought down inside the box by Marouane Chamakh on the hour mark. Robin Van Persie, who had been otherwise quiet throughout the match, stepped up to take the kick and buried it on the top left corner.
Minutes later Wayne Rooney, who recently signed another long term contract with the club, put the game beyond doubt by volleying home another Patrice Evra cross giving United much needed three points.
Manchester United boss David Moyes looked a relieved man after the win, especially on the back of the uneventful last few weeks where they crashed out of both domestic competitions and managed only five points out of a possible fifteen. Rooney’s new contract certainly rubbed on the entire team as he pulled the strings from the midfield trying to break down the disciplined Palace defense.
Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini both started the game for United along with Adnan Januzaj giving the fans a flavor of what the team might be like in the season to come. Fellaini had a decent game, making crucial involvements in both sides of the pitch but missed a sitter to put United ahead early on in the match. The Belgian’s lack of match practice could well be attributed to the miss after he lamely curled the ball wide of the Palace goal from point blank range.
Pulis set his team out to block United and hit them on the counters. They came close a few times but overall, lacked the fire to get past an United defense which looked solid with veteran duo of Ferdinand and Vidic at the back.
Manchester United now have 45 points having played 27, one more than Liverpool who have 53 points and host Swansea later today. Moyes will be hoping that the Reds drop points today and give his side a realistic chance of playing in the Champions League next season.