The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW36): Crystal Palace 0-2 Man United
After Leicester’s 2-0 win over Sheffield United earlier in the day, the pressure is on for Manchester United to keep pace in hope of a Champions League place next season. The Red Devils will have to bounce back after a last-minute draw against Southampton and can’t afford another slip up to keep pace.
In the early moments of the game David de Gea was tested by a Zaha shot that was well saved, with Palace not intent on just sitting and defending. The first half was very fractured, and nothing of real note happened until the 39th minute when Jordan Ayew had a shot that was aimed straight at de Gea for another save. The game changed when Victor Lindelöf challenged Zaha in the United box, wipes out Zaha but gets a slight tough on the box, and the kicker being that the referee wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. There was not even a mention of VAR for the incident.
Roy Hodgson would also go into the half time fuming, as in the first minute of injury time Bruno Fernandes has a through ball received by Rashford who sits down Patrick van Aanholt, and slots in his shot to give Manchester United the lead. After the controversy over Palace not getting a penalty at the other end, controversy strikes again over Manchester United getting the rub of the green for referee decisions.
Crystal Palace came out with a point to prove in the second half. They did have the ball in the back of the net in 55th minute. Zaha takes on Wan-Bissaka and whips a ball to the back post and Ayew slides in and slots the ball to equalise for Palace. Here is the twist, it is ruled out by VAR, by no more than a centimetre. It was an extremely tight call and is another head scratching moment for Roy Hodgson who has found no luck in this game so far. This didn’t depress Palace, as in the 60th minute James McCarthy collected the ball from the left channel and lashed a half-volley which was saved well by David de Gea.
Fernandes hits the post on the 74th minute after a cut back from Rashford. Palace now struggling in the pace of the match. A minutes later the United pressure paid off with a neat triangle starting with Fernandes saw Rashford feed a perfect through ball for Martial who slots in the shot to double their lead. Martial in pursuing the goal accidentally collided with Patrick van Aanholt, with the Dutchman stretchered off following the collision.
Palace were still determined to get back into the game, and Zaha had a chance 89th minute from the right channel, with de Gea forced into action again. The Spaniard was there once again when his team needed him. At the other end of pitch Rashford had another chance in the 93rd minute, curling a shot that Guaita made a decent one handed save. The final minutes saw Martial go down, easily, after Scott Dann makes an excellent challenge to deny the United forward.
The victory for Manchester United means that they keep pace with Leicester, still hunting for a place in next seasons Champions League. If Leicester and United win both of their next games, it will be a winner takes everything game on the final day of the league.
Goal Contributions: Manchester United
Goals: Rashford (1), Martial (1)
Assists: Fernandes (1), Rashford (1)
Man of the Match: Marcus Rashford (MUN)
Among the recent run of form for Manchester United the plaudits have gone to Greenwood for breaking through, Martial for scoring more goals, and Fernandes for the impact on this United attacking setup. Today showed my Marcus Rashford is an important part of OGS’s team, he scored the opener with a well taken goal, using a dummy to sit van Aanholt down.
The Englishman also got the assist for Martial’s goal, showing that he also can create goals too. Rashford could have scored three tonight, and he looks more comfortable as a winger than as a centre forward. Rashford highlighted why he is a highly rated player in England’s setup tonight, and his contribution won the game for the Red Devils this evening.
CRY 0-2 MUN - Insight and Analysis:
So, here we go again. I know I am going to get more stick from Manchester United fans for writing this, but I got to call it as I see it because this isn’t just a random sequence of events anymore, this is a systematic pattern forming: referee and VAR bias towards Manchester United is real. After the controversy at Villa Park (Fernandes diving and putting a foot into Konsa, who then wins the penalty); FIFA stepped in and Pierluigi Collina, who is the head of referees, declared that all VAR calls in the Villa game were all incorrect, and all of the decisions favoured United. The Red Devils have won the most penalties this season, and a third have been won due to VAR, and you guessed it right, United have also had the most opposition penalties denied in their games.
Today, Zaha was wiped out by Lindelöf, and whilst he got the ball, he only did it by taking out Zaha’s leg to get to the ball. The momentum forced Zaha to the ground, and there wasn’t any deception as Lindelöf hit Zaha hard. The Swede didn’t need to make a challenge, and his blushes were sparred when the referee didn’t see anything in it, even though it was reckless, and there was not a single peep from VAR. Where was the video ref for the call? There was no break whilst they decided, it just carried on the play and VAR ignored the call.
That call decided the game, and afforded Manchester United the opportunity to go in half time with a lead. Decisions like this decide games, and if the rumours of FIFA taking control of VAR in Europe’s leagues next season, that would be an amazing change that might be able to sort out the inconsistency in the league. The problem here is that the referees all know each other and are told to support their decisions for things like penalties and fouls. A referee’s may not want to annoy his mate by showing him up.
Steve Parish, Palace’s owner, tweeted during the game if VAR is broken. It’s not broken Steve, it is jut used when the referees want to use it.
Venue: Selhurst Park
Manager: Roy Hodgson
GK: Vincente Guaita
RB: Joel Ward
CB: Scott Dann
CB: Mamadou Sakho
LB: Patrick van Aanholt (Mitchell 84')
RM: Andros Townsend
CM: James McCarthy (Riedewald 84')
CM: Luka Milivojevic
LM: James McArthur (Schlupp 72')
ST: Jordan Ayew
ST: Wilfried Zaha
Wayne Hennessey, Max Meyer, Jeffrey Schlupp, Martin Kelly, Jairo Riedewald, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Sam Woods, Tyrick Mitchell, Brandon Pierrick
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjær
GK: David de Gea
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka
CB: Victor Lindelöf
CB: Harry Maguire
LB: Timothy Fosu-Mensah
CDM: Scott McTominay (Matic 63')
CDM: Paul Pogba
CAM: Bruno Fernandes
RW: Mason Greenwood (Lingard 63')
LW: Marcus Rashford
ST: Anthony Martial
Sergio Romero, Eric Bailly, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Fred, Diogo Dalot, Daniel James, Odion Ighalo, Nemanja Matic
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