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September 14, 2013
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: J. Moss
• Attendance: 75102
R. van Persie 45'+
W. Rooney 81'
Right, that's it from me - I've been Tom J Doyle, and thanks for joining me for the LIVE commentary of Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace. Bye for now.
There'll be plenty of debates over whether the challenge on Young was outside the box, but David Moyes will just be relieved to record his first win at Old Trafford. Marouane Fellaini looked assured on his debut, and Adnan Januzaj looks as good as a new signing for the Red Devils - maybe they dont need Cesc Fabregas after all?
It's Manchester United who get the three points today, courtesy of a penalty from Robin van Persie and a fine Wayne Rooney free kick. Crystal Palace worked hard but in truth once Kagisho Dikgacoi was sent off for bringing down Ashley Young, they offered little to suggest they would get back into the game/
90' + 4'
Rooney's in - but no, Danny Gabbidon gets in a great block five yards out to prevent a certain goal - and that's it!
90' + 3'
Fellaini and Carrick already look like a good combination in the centre for United. The former has the strength and aerial ability, while the latter has been spraying passes around nicely.
90' + 1'
Delaney meets the corner but he's running away from goal and can only volley extremely high and wide. No comeback then...
Kebe closes down Vidic and the Serbian makes a rare mistake, punting the ball out for a corner after being caught off balance. Time for a comeback?
Chicharito has the chance to close the game up for good, but can only sidefoot a half-volley into Speroni's hands from the right. The Mexican definitely needs more game time to make his usual impact this season.
While they are surely heading for defeat, Palace can take away positives from today. Barring a couple of blips, they've defended well and held their shape despite being down to 10 men for 45 minutes. That'll serve them well, but it's points you need in this division.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 40 - Wayne Rooney has now scored or assisted 40 goals in his last 44 Premier League appearances. Leader.
Januzaj again links well with Rooney, releasing the striker into the box on the left, but with Chicharito waiting for a pull-back, Rooney scoops the ball horribly up in the air and out for a goal kick. Right idea, wrong execution.
Kebe holds the ball up well but Vidic wins the ball back forcefully - in the sense that Kebe ends up in a heap on the floor. Poor Jimmy.
Januzaj again beats his man coming in from the left and gets a shot away, but can't test Speroni. The Belgian won the free kick which Rooney scored, and has injected some dynamism into United's attacking line-up since his introduction from the bench.
Fellaini almost gets his head to a Rooney free kick from the byline, and Evra then tries a bicycle kick with comical consequences (hint: it didn't work).
Goal Wayne Rooney
ROONEY SCORES! The crowd are on their feet to welcome back the wantaway forward as he curls a delightful free kick just beyond the despairing dive of Speroni into the bottom right-hand corner from 25 yards. That's surely game over.
Eagles substitute Jimmy Kebe goes down here close to the United area and the Palace fans scream for a free kick, but Moss gives nothing. Januzaj then dribbles well from the left to win a free kick...
Robin van Persie
It's been all United in this half, but Palace have defended superbly to keep it at 1-0. With Van Persie departing for Chicharito now though, it's a different type of threat to deal with.
Januzaj looks a real talent today, taking a great ball down here and feeding Valencia, whose cross is well cut out in the centre. The Belgian looks full of confidence and has a fine touch - and he looks right at home in this United side.
Speroni saves from Van Persie now, as the striker twists and turns before forcing a smart stop with a low shot from the right.
Miss by Rooney! Carrick plays the ball into the area and Fabio dummies it, but the England striker was caught unawares and can't sort out his feet in time. His shot is blocked, and after a scramble he can only block the ball out for a goal kick.
Fellaini is after Chamakh here and nabs the ball skillfully before winning a free kick. Clever play on the wing from the new signing.
STAT ATTACK (@OptaJoe): 225 - Robin van Persie's penalty was Man Utd's first Premier League goal for 225 minutes. Drought.
Chamakh and Delaney are doubling up on marking Fellaini for the resulting corner here - a big benefit of having him in the side is that it'll give other United forwards more space on set pieces.
Fellaini tests Speroni! Almost a dream start for the tall Belgian as Palace fail to clear after good wing work from Januzaj, and Fellaini controls on his chest before volleying from 22 yards, with the keeper getting down to his left to keep the ball out.
Young talent Adnan Januzaj replaces Young now to avoid the winger being sent off - the Belgian certainly has the vision to unlock a stubborn defence.
The crowd are chanting for United to attack and finish off Palace, but the longer it stays 0-0, the Eagles must believe they still have a chance to pull off a shock.
Fellaini gets two huge cheers as he plays two easy passes - that'll ease him in to life at Old Trafford nicely.
The crowd are on their feet to applaud and Fellaini gets a hearty cheer as he comes on for Anderson. Welcome to the big leagues, Marouane...
Young and Evra combine well again on the left to release the Frenchman into the box, but Van Persie can only blaze over from 15 yards. A waste there.
Moyes was obviously listening, as Marouane Fellaini is coming on for his Manchester United debut imminently...
Campana is coming off after a fine showing and Adlene Guedioura makes his debut for the Eagles.
Young feeds Evra on the left of the box, but his cut-back to the edge of the area finds nobody, much to the frustration of the crowd. Time for a midfielder with large hair to come on and finish those chances, perhaps?
Yellow Card Marouane Chamakh
The Palace fans' boos of Young are audible now - they clearly feel the winger has cost them dearly today.
Chamakh goes in late on Vidic now and catches the defender quite badly - you can tell that hurt him as he looked in agony before jumping up quickly. That's Vidic for you. The Eagles striker gets a booking for his troubles.
Ooh, Young goes in and catches Mariappa, and the Palace fans start to chant 'Off! Off! Off!', but Moss doesn't show a second yellow to the winger. Expect a change relatively soon from Moyes.
Speroni saves from Young! The winger is through on goal after a fine ball from Anderson and smashes a shot in, but it's straight at the keeper who stands tall to parry the ball away. A disappointing finish really, but Young has been a menace today.
Van Persie tries to challenge his way through on goal here and almost succeeds, but Palace get the ball under control and move it away here. United are controlling possession again though.
We're underway again - what have Palace got to get back into the game?
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 12 - Since his PL debut in Aug 2006, Ashley Young has won 12 penalties, the joint-most (along with Agbonlahor). Specialist.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 26 - Wayne Rooney & Robin van Persie have scored a combined 26 goals in the 22 PL games they've started together. Pairing.
Palace may feel a tad hard done by as the initial contact on Young appeared to be just outside the area, but it was a nailed-on red for Digkacoi - once he went to ground, there was only ever one outcome.
Kagisho Dikgacoi wll play no further part, but Mile Jedinak will be distraught as he was the man who played the wayward pass that let in Young for the penalty. He's done a fine job in defensive midfield, but it's proved time and again that small mistakes are harshly punished in the Premier League.
Holloway's stand-in man Keith Millen will have to have some inspiring words in the changing room - but Gayle showed he has the pace and technique to trouble the hosts if they can find him with good enough service.
And that's half-time! After a fine defensive display, a moment of madness has turned the game hugely in United's favour, and Holloway will be distraught as his side now face the task of getting back into the game with 10 men.
45' + 2'
Yellow Card Dean Moxey
45' + 2'
Moxey catches Van Persie late here with a crunching challenge, and it's a deserved yellow. That was the tackle of a frustrated man.
45' + 1'
Penalty Goal Robin van Persie
VAN PERSIE SCORES! He calmly strokes the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of Speroni's net as the keeper dives the wrong way, and United finally have the lead. That's harsh on Palace after so much hard work, but they've let themselves down right at the end.
Red Card Kagisho Dikgacoi
I said Palace needed to move the ball about quicker, and it's slack passing that lets in Young here as he drives into the box and is felled by Dikgacoi, who is eventually sent off by Moss for being the last man (with the help of his assistant referee).
PENALTY TO UNITED! RED CARD FOR DIKGACOI!
Gayle misses a one-on-one! The former semi-pro player takes down a long ball beautifully on the left of the area and leaves Ferdinand for dead, but the forward can only chip wide from six yards as De Gea closes down the space. Good keeping there...
So close for Rooney! Young puts in a superb cross and the England striker is centimetres away from nodding United into the lead...
Carrick showed superb footwork to perform a 'Marseille Roulette' and Anderson won a crunching tackle in the build-up to that Van Persie chance - it's such a shame the ball didn't go in as that goal would've had a bit of everything.
What a miss from Van Persie! Rooney chips a superb ball over the top to the Dutchman and he takes the ball on his chest before thrashing a volley against the bar from 12 yards. What a wonderful move - but United are still level.
Evra has the ball on the left again but can only sail a harmless cross into the arms of Speroni. Perhaps thhis is why Moyes was so keen on bringing in Leighton Baines from former club Everton...
Close for Van Persie! Anderson, Young and Evra work well again on the left and the left-back has time and space to cross the ball. He finds the Dutch striker in the middle but it's just behind him, and he can only backheel it wide. A quicker ball in would have surely led to the first goal there.
The ball runs back to David de Gea now, and that may well be his first touch. It's games like these that mark out true United keepers though - can he stay composed for 90 minutes and be ready to potentially make a vital stop?
United are pressing Palace very high up the pitch here and force them to give away a throw far up on the right wing. The Eagles will really have to shift the ball on faster to keep possession today.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 7 - Since 2006-07 the players with the most bookings for simulation in the PL are Bale (7), Bentley (5) & Ronaldo/Young (3). Tumble.
Jose Campana looks very tidy in possession - well after all, that's what you'd expect from Spain's Under-20 captain, isn't it?
Ferdinand is unusually sloppy in possession here as he sells Evra short with a pass, and the French defender gets hurt in a good challenge by Digkacoi. Palace start to break, but instead put the ball out - a strange one there, as it wasn't a head injury.
Speroni comes for a cross and claims it under pressure now. It's gone a little quiet as Palace have soaked up the pressure so far relatively well, even if they've offered no attacking threat themselves.
STAT ATTACK: United have had 62 per cent of the possession so far. Can they turn their domination into goals though?
Yellow Card Ashley Young
Huge shouts for a penalty now as Ashley Young goes down in the area under a challenge from Dikgacoi but referee Moss books the United winger for simulation. He appeared to hang out his leg to be caught, and it's the right call again.
STAT ATTACK (via@OptaJoe): 24 - Crystal Palace have collected just 25 points from their last 24 league games away from home (excl. playoffs). Nervous.
Rooney is fouled out on the right by Delaney and Van Persie curls in a delicious free kick, but cant quite find a team mate. The linesman flags for offside, so it wouldn't have counted regardless.
Fabio picks up the ball on the right and shanks a shot well wide from 25 yards. Rooney is not best pleased - he wanted the ball there. Palace will be happy if the shots keep coming from there.
Who's that in the stands? It's Sir Alex Ferguson - he's here as a club director today, watching over his successor Moyes with a keen eye.
More appeals for a penalty here as Young's cross strikes a Palace arm from close range, but it would have been harsh had it been given. Moss has done well so far with a couple of big calls.
United win another corner but can't force a chance, but all the pressure is on Palace at the moment. How long can they hold out?
Ooh, is this a penalty? Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie trade passes before the Frenchman surges into the area and goes down under Jedinak's challenge, but Moss gives nothing. Probably the right call as there was little contact.
Vidic and Chamakh go up together and the forward gives away a free kick for bashing ther Serbian with an elbow. Nothing serious, but that battle will run and run.
Kagisho Digkacoi shows some good strength against Ashley Young on the right wing and wins the ball - he'll be important to Palace's defensive efforts, and he's done well so far.
I said before the game that Palace could target Fabio at right-back, but he and Valencia are both effectively playing as right-wingers today, pinning the visitors back. The best offence is a good defence it seems...
Speroni saves from Carrick! The England midfielder has some space 25 yards out and unleashes a fizzer that the Palace keeper does just enough to divert away from onrushing United attackers. Not a totally convincing stop, but he kept it out - that's what counts.
Fabio and Antonio Valencia link up on the right already, but the Ecuadorian can't find enough space in the Palace penalty area to threaten. The duo then link well with Anderson and United have the first corner...
Referee Jonathan Moss blows his whistle, and we're underway!
Marouane Chamakh has a chance to repay Holloway's faith up top today, but how will he cope against Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic? He'll have to put himself about, that's for sure...
The teams are out, and Rooney is wearing a large band around his head to protect that cut he received from Phil Jones in training. Intentional? Never...
Palace will be riding high after that morale-boosting 3-1 win over Sunderland, but Moyes will be desperate for his side to make a strong impression on the home fans today - a dour 0-0 draw with Chelsea and a 3-1 pre-season defeat to Sevilla are his only results in charge at Old Trafford so far.
While all the attention may be on bigger names today, it's a big game for Fabio da Silva. It seemed a long way back to Old Trafford after struggling to get games at the hapless QPR last season, but Rafael's twin brother starts on the right with injuries to his brother and Phil Jones. That could be an area for the Eagles to attack, mind.
It's a dream day for Dwight Gayle - three years ago he was a carpeneter playing semi-professional football for Stansted, and now he'll be looking to score against the team he supports. It's easy to be cynical about the modern game sometimes, but what a story it would be if he could get a goal today.
Mile Jedinak will have to be on top form today if Palace are to sneak anything from this fixture - the Australian has won the most duels out of any Premier League player this season, and will be playing right in Rooney's territory, so expect fireworks.
So the big news is that Fellaini will have to wait for his first Manchester United start - though it wouldn't be surprising to see him at some stage today. Wayne Rooney has recovered from a nasty head wound and is in the XI, while Wilfried Zaha may also get some game time against his former club off the bench.
Crystal Palace subs: Alexander, O'Keefe, Phillips, Kebe, Jerome, Guediora, Bannan.
Manchester United subs: Amos, Evans, Cleverley, Zaha, Fellaini, Januzaj, Chicharito.
Crystal Palace XI: Speroni, Mariappa, Campana, Digkacoi, Puncheon, Jedinak, Gayle, Gabbidon, Moxey, Delaney, Chamakh.
Manchester United XI: De Gea; Fabio, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Anderson, Young; Rooney, Van Persie.
That being said, Palace really will have to work today, as David Moyes will be looking for a response from his players after their recent defeat to rivals Liverpool. There's also the not-so-small matter of Marouane Fellaini's first appaearance in a United mathday squad - without further ado, here's the team news...
Good afternoon and welcome to the LIVE commentary of Manchester United v Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. It's games like these that make promotion to the Premier League so special, and Ian Holloway - who has a touchline ban today - will be hoping the Eagles can put in a special performance today against the champions.
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