Apr 20, 2016 at 8pm UK at ​Old Trafford
Man UtdManchester United
Crystal Palace
Delaney (4'), Darmian (55')
Darmian (62')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Kelly (6'), Souare (43')

Live Commentary: Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace - as it happened

Lee Chung-yong and Wayne Rooney in action during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Crystal Palace on April 20, 2016
Find out how Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Old Trafford with Sports Mole's text updates.

A goal in either half saw Manchester United record a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

Palace defender Damien Delaney put through his own net in just the fourth minute to put the home side in control.

Then, 10 minutes after the restart, the outcome was secured when full-back Matteo Darmian scored his first goal in a United shirt.

Find out how the match unfolded with Sports Mole's text updates below.

7.02pmEvening all and thanks for joining Sports Mole's live text coverage of this Premier League encounter at Old Trafford. Here, we have Champions League-hunting Manchester United up against Crystal Palace, who are still not completely safe from relegation. Thoughts of the FA Cup semi-finals will have to be put aside for 90 minutes...

7.03pmFirst of all, though, let's get the two starting lineups, which have just been released.

7.04pmMAN UNITED XI: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Darmian; Lingard, Schneiderlin, Mata; Rooney, Martial, Rashford

7.04pmMAN UNITED SUBS: Romero, Fosu-Mensah, Rojo, Young, Fellaini, Herrera, Memphis

7.05pmPALACE XI: Speroni; Kelly, Mariappa, Delaney, Souare; Jedinak, Cabaye, Lee; Zaha, Sako; Adebayor

7.05pmPALACE SUBS: McCarthy, Dreher, McArthur, Mutch, Puncheon, Campbell, Wickham

7.08pmSo, what do we make of those sides, then? Life under Louis van Gaal at Man United has often been mundane, but the Dutchman has certainly picked an attack-minded team tonight. Morgan Schneiderlin in midfield is likely to be busy when you consider that he is the only player in midfield with a defensive bone in his body.

7.12pmOf course, the man (teenager) of the moment is Marcus Rashford. The 18-year-old has scored seven goals in 12 senior outings, including the winner against Aston Villa at the weekend. Van Gaal hinted that he would rest the youngster tonight, but he has been included. Anthony Martial has also been recalled to the attack, along with Jesse Lingard. Skipper Wayne Rooney keeps his place after his recent return from a knee injury, while Marouane Fellaini and Memphis Depay drop down to the bench.

Marcus Rashford in action during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Aston Villa on April 16, 2016© Getty Images

7.13pmThere is also a change in defence, which has seen Marcos Rojo vacate the left-back position. However, rather than recall Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who has been impressive during his first-team outings, summer signing Matteo Darmian has been given the nod.

7.16pmIt will be no major surprise to learn that with their Premier League status close to being secured and a FA Cup semi-final to come on Sunday, Palace boss Alan Pardew has made changes. Joel Ward, Joe Ledley, Yannick Bolasie and Scott Dann have all been left in South London, while the likes of Jason Puncheon, James McArthur and Connor Wickham are among the substitutes.

7.19pmThere is also an alteration in goal as experienced Argentine Julian Speroni takes the gloves from Wayne Hennessey. On top of that, the attack will be spearheaded by Emmanuel Adebayor. Adrian Mariappa, Bakary Sako and ex-United winger Wilfried Zaha also start.

7.23pmZaha's time at Old Trafford was certainly a strange one. Signed by Sir Alex Ferguson for Β£15m in January 2013, by the time that the winger had linked up with United, the legendary manager had moved on. Neither David Moyes nor Van Gaal seemed to rate the 23-year-old and so, after just four appearances for the Red Devils, he moved back to Palace two years later. A player of undoubted potential, he must wonder what might have happened had Ferguson stayed around to help him bed in.

Wilfried Zaha of Manchester United runs for the ball during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2013© Getty Images

7.26pmAnd, if any United fans opt to jeer the returning winger (although I don't see why they would), he had a message for them earlier this week:

"My time at United has gone and I don't mind if I get booed. I still have Man United followers on Twitter. They might wait until I make a mistake in a game or something, and they'll come out with something like 'that's why you got sold'.

"I just think you're either following me or you don't. That stage when I was at Man United has gone now and I'm a Crystal Palace player. I am just trying to progress in my career, so going back to Old Trafford will be like playing at any other stadium. I am just going to do my best as usual."

7.29pmAs for the man that sanctioned Zaha's sale, speculation surrounding Van Gaal's future continues to mount. Whether you believe what you read about Jose Mourinho or not, it is looking increasingly unlikely that LVG will still be in the job at the start of 2016-17. He can, of course, help his cause by finishing in the top four and ensuring that United qualify for the Champions League. They go into this match four points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal, having played the same games.

7.31pmWith that in mind, Van Gaal had this to say to reporters yesterday afternoon: "This game against Crystal Palace is very important. We have to win, we need to win, otherwise we cannot close the gap [to fourth].

7.34pmWhile football is not played on paper, United and Van Gaal do at least have history on their side. Long story short, Palace have a rotten record against the red half of Manchester. The Eagles have never beaten United in the Premier League era, losing 10 times and drawing on three occasions. Of those 13 encounters, Palace have failed to score in 10 of them. On top of that, their last clean sheet in this fixture was way back in 1970. Gulp!

7.37pmOne thing that will give Palace a boost, though, is their recent form. Much of 2016 results-wise has been miserable given that they embarked on a 14-match winless Premier League run. However, no defeat in four - including an impressive 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Sunday - has eased relegation fears. They are just one point shy of the magical 40-point mark now, so it looks to be only a matter of time before safety is confirmed. Who knows, it could happen tonight!

7.40pmAnd here is Pardew discussing the year so far: "We weren't expecting that run [of defeats] to go on as long as it went on. The first half of this season we got it right, but the second we haven't. We need to address that. The confidence levels, hopefully, have gone up, and our nervousness has disappeared."

Alan Pardew ahead of the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Norwich City on April 9, 2016© Getty Images

7.44pmWEMBLEY BOUND: It is worth remembering that both of these sides will be heading for the home of English football this weekend. On Saturday, United face Everton in the first FA Cup semi, before Palace take on Watford 24 hours later. Were both to win their respective ties, we would then have a repeat of the famous 1990 final which saw a young Ian Wright announce himself on the scene. The first game ended 3-3, with United winning the replay 1-0 thanks to a goal from full-back Lee Martin. It was a trophy that many believed saved Ferguson from the sack.

7.47pmIt will be interesting to see if those two games have an impact on this one tonight. Pardew has certainly picked a side that reflects the important of Sunday, but Van Gaal has gone very strong with his team. That is probably a sign of where both sides are. United still have something to play for in the league, but Palace don't (barring a big slump).

7.50pmHow many Palace fans have made the trip up the M6? Have a guess... Around 450 hearty souls is the answer!

7.54pmWant to watch the United players arriving at the ground and warming up while we wait for kickoff (which is under 10 minutes away now)? Of course you do!

7.57pmRight, the players have made their way out on to the pitch and the pre-match handshakes are underway. Only a couple of minutes left now and we'll be off and running at Old Trafford.

1 minKICKOFF! It is United skipper Rooney and the youngster Rashford that get proceedings started.

3 minWith so many attack-minded players on show for United, there was a bit of uncertainty as to how and where they would all fit in. It seems that Mata is playing in the centre of midfield, with Rooney playing off Rashford. Martial and Lingard are operating out wide. But, with Van Gaal, that could all change at any minute!


4 minSome own goals are unfortunate, but this one isn't! It is tough to describe exactly what Delaney has done. It is Darmian that sends in a cross, but rather than deal with the danger, Palace centre-back Delaney somehow diverts the ball into his own net. It seemed easier to clear for a corner! Nevertheless, it's the hosts that take an early lead.

6 minBOOKING! A bad start gets a little worse for Palace as Kelly goes into the book for tugging back Martial. The Palace full-back will now be walking a tightrope for the rest of the game.

10 minCHANCE! All of a sudden, Palace have a decent opening. United fail to deal with Lee's cross into the box and when the ball breaks free, Adebayor is sharp with his reaction. However, his shot is a stabbed one that bobbles comfortably wide of the target.

14 minSTAT! Look away now all you Delaney fans!

19 minThose that have watched United regularly this season will not be surprised to hear that very little has happened over the last five minutes or so. They are having plenty of the possession, but aren't going anywhere with it. As a result, the crowd is really flat.

21 minAll of a sudden, Lingard bursts into life with a clever dribble into the box. He turns down the chance to shoot and instead finds Martial, who is crowded out.

23 minSAVE! And it's Martial involved again as Speroni is called into action. United's French attacker attempts to bend his shot inside the far post, but the Palace keeper, who sees the ball late, turns it behind for a corner. That's a good stop from the veteran.

26 minSAVE! More work for Speroni, although this time it's relatively routine. Martial is the provider on this occasion as he picks out Rooney on the edge of the area. The captain's shot is powerful, but it's straight at the Palace custodian.

30 minThere are 30 minutes on the clock at Old Trafford and it's that bizarre Delaney own goal that continues to separate the two teams. Apart from that, there is still very little action to speak of.

33 minMartial has been United's standout player so far this evening. Not for the first time he skips by Kelly and then attempts to pick out Rashford with his low cross. It looks like the youngster is going to get there, but Delaney intervenes crucially.

38 minMATCH ACTION! Here's a shot of United skipper Rooney and Palace winger Lee battling for possession.

Lee Chung-yong and Wayne Rooney in action during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Crystal Palace on April 20, 2016

39 minSAVES! On this occasion Rashford does get his shot away from a Rooney pass, but the angle is against the teenager and his effort is well saved by Speroni. Then, from the resultant corner, Lingard fires straight at the Argentine.

40 minSAVE! Mr Speroni is keeping Palace in this game at the moment. Martial's shot is destined for the corner, but Speroni dives at full stretch to get his left hand on the ball and keep it out of the net. United are slowly starting to exert some pressure.

43 minBOOKING! A second caution of the night goes to Palace and their full-back Souare for a challenge on Mata. Replays show that it was not a good tackle at all from the Palace player, who on another day could have been red carded. He had left the floor there.


8.49pmThere goes the whistle for the break and in truth, it's hardly been a classic. The game has had a really end of season feel about it.

8.53pmUnited have been the dominant force, of that there can be no doubt. However, while a number of shots have landed on target, few have caused Speroni many problems. In fact, their goal came from a Palace player! Those at Old Trafford have seen this all before and it is a major reason as to why Van Gaal's job is under threat. There have been too many of these displays.

8.57pmMeanwhile, Palace look like a side that have made a number of changes - disjointed. They have offered very little going forward and appear to have a mistake in them defensively - a fact highlighted by the own goal. The 450 that made the trip may well be wishing that they hadn't bothered. Having said that, in terms of the scoreline, they remain in the game.

9.00pmMATCH ACTION! He did not get the final touch, but he's Lingard celebrating the United goal.

Jesse Lingard celebrates the opening goal during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Crystal Palace on April 20, 2016© Getty Images

46 minRESTART! Palace, who trail 1-0, get us back underway. United will be attacking the Stretford End during he second half.

51 minThere are a lot of empty seats at Old Trafford tonight, but one of them is occupied by Edurne Garcia, girlfriend of United goalkeeper David de Gea. This is perhaps her visit since comparing Manchester as a city to the back of a fridge!


55 minWell, that is a fantastic way to open your account in a United shirt! Darmian, a summer signing from Torino, is not known for his goalscoring prowess, but with finishes like this one, he perhaps should score more! The ball finds its way to the Italian defender on the edge of the Palace area and having chested it down, he then lashes a half-volley in off the post. Game over? More than likely.

60 minPALACE SUB: A first switch of the night for the away side as Lee comes off and is replaced by Mutch.

62 minSAVES! Fantastic work from Speroni to ensure that the scoreline remains 2-0. Rashford weaves his way into the area and then he is denied by the Palace keeper, who gets up in time to thwart an onrushing Lingard. The man with the gloves is having a top game tonight.

64 minMAN UNITED SUB: A change for United and it's the lively Rashford that is given a standing ovation by the home faithful. He has been replaced by Memphis. Also, moments ago, Darmian was booked for a trip on Zaha.

67 minPALACE SUB: With Wembley in mind, Pardew has now opted to take off Cabaye. On comes the fit-again McArthur.

72 minMAN UNITED SUB: Very little happening out on the pitch right now, but plenty on the benches! Lingard is off, with Herrera replacing him.

75 min

76 minPALACE SUB: Adebayor has been barely noticeable this evening and now his race is run. He trudges off, with Wickham entering the action.

78 minMAN UNITED SUB: It's Rooney's number that flashes up, again with the FA Cup semi-final in mind. The captain's armband goes to Smalling, while Fellaini enters the fray.

82 minThis game is done. It's being played a pedestrian pace, with both sides having accepted the outcome. The referee could blow the final whistle now and nobody would be complaining!

86 minHerrera has just produced an awful cross from the right wing that flew out of play and with that it seemed that half the crowd headed for the exits. They have seen enough!

90 minThere will be three minutes of stoppage time at the end of this encounter.


9.51pmWhile that was an instantly forgettable 90 minutes, it's an important three points for United in the race for the Champions League places. The Red Devils deserved it as well because they were in complete control from the moment that Delaney scored the own goal. They are now just a point behind Arsenal in fourth. Palace, meanwhile, must wait for another day to reach the 40-point mark.

9.52pmThat is all we have time for from Old Trafford. Thanks for joining Sports Mole this evening and until next time, goodbye.

Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Hull City at Selhurst Park on April 25, 2015
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