Friday, January 28, 2022

Manchester United 1-0 Crystal Palace: Key Talking Points As Ralf Rangnick Gets Off To A Winning Start

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 6 Dec 2021

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With new interim boss Ralf Rangnick making his first appearance in the Old Trafford dugout on Sunday afternoon, Manchester United landed a late 1-0 win against Crystal Palace.

Only having his visa approved earlier in the week, Rangnick’s new side did manage to make it back-to-back Premier League wins after an action-packed 3-2 victory against Arsenal on Thursday.

At least briefly finding a route back into the top-six, we have taken a look at the main talking points as United just about came past a rugged Crystal Palace outfit on Sunday.

Fred to the rescue

Dominating large spells of Sunday’s meeting and by far the dominant force in the final third, some Manchester United fans could have been expecting a similar tale at Old Trafford.

However, landing maximum points against the Gunners just three days prior, Rangnick’s arrival certainly lead to a more energetic approach, something they have previously come under real scrutiny for this season.

Watching Diogo Dalot go close to opening the scoring just seconds before the half-time break, United did eventually get their breakthrough as Fred produced a sublime finish from outside the box after 77 minutes.

Claiming back-to-back Premier League victories for just the second time since the middle of September, Rangnick and United will now have their sights firmly set on finding a route back into the top-four.

Only given a few days on the training pitch with his new squad, Rangnick would have simply been glad to see his Old Trafford tenure get off to a winning start in front of a sellout home support.

In fact, Sunday’s 1-0 win means that Rangnick emulated three of United’s other four new managers since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 by winning his first match at the helm, with Louis van Gaal the only man to fail.

More late heartbreak for Palace

While Crystal Palace might have entered November’s international break with back-to-back Premier League victories against Wolves and defending champions Manchester City, the Eagles have largely come crashing back down to earth.

Suffering real last-gasp heartbreak away at relegation scrappers Leeds earlier in the week, new boss Patrick Vieira has now seen his side collect just a single point from their last four top-flight contests, including three defeats on the spin.

Still battling it out in the bottom-half of the table, despite receiving plenty of praise since the former Arsenal icon took charge over the summer, there were still some positives for Palace on Sunday.

Largely limiting United to few clearcut chances on Vicente Guaita’s goal, they did themselves come close to opening the scoring when Jordan Ayew turned James Tomkins header across the face of goal and narrowly wide of the far post.

However, with attacking talisman Wilfried Zaha now failing to find the net in his last four Premier League appearances, Vieira will have a headache over his side’s recent issues in the final third.

Failing to muster a single shot on target in the second-half, Palace have scored just a single goal on their three-match losing run.

What’s coming up for both?

Watching on from the dugout as Fred managed to get his United tenure off to a winning start on Sunday afternoon, there is no doubt that Rangnick will be desperate for his new squad to build off of that result.

Signing off their Champions League group stage adventure when they welcome Swiss outfit Young Boys to Old Trafford in midweek, the former RB Leipzig boss will know that his side face a generous Premier League run.

Next seen on domestic duties when they face off against Norwich next week, United will then make the trip to another relegation contender when they meet Brentford on December 14th.

As for Palace, with Vieira making it clear that he will build off of Sunday’s Old Trafford positives, fans around Selhurst Park will now be calling for a response on the pitch.

Suffering late heartbreak against United and Leeds over the past week, the Eagles should be relishing some time off before they return to south London in seven days time.

Ahead of a stacked Christmas schedule, Palace will be next seen when they host a struggling Everton.

Match Report:

Manchester United: De Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles, Fred, McTominay, Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford, Ronaldo

Subs: Greenwood, Elanga, Van de Beek

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Clyne, Tomkins, Guehi, Mitchell, Gallagher, Kouyate, Schlupp, Ayew, Benteke, Zaha

Subs: Eze, Edouard, Olise

Goals: Fred 77′

Yellow Cards: Manchester United: Lindelof, McTominay – Crystal Palace: Clyne, Guehi

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Craig Pawson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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