Manchester United achieved back-to-back victories after an impressive 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace
Paul Pogba scored a controversial goal to put United ahead before some slick play from Crystal Palace levelled the scores. James McArthur finished off a great move after a superb touch from Damien Delaney but the game wasn’t over yet.
Pogba effortlessly held of Yohan Cabaye before playing in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who produced a great finish in the 87th minutes. That was all United needed to see off Palace and maintain the 3 point gap to 5th-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Jose Mourinho will be pleased with both the performance and the result as United’s players all put in a great shift and played some great football at times.
Paul Pogba is beginning to prove his worth
Pogba had a brilliant game for United. The midfielder dictated play, constantly broke forward, managing to pick up a goal and an assist for his efforts. Pogba has been heavily criticised in some quarters and it seems that many had forgotten what he was truly capable of. United’s world-record summer signing has taken some time to settle but there was never any doubt that once he did, he would start influencing games with the brilliance he showed at Juventus.
Pogba won 100% of his tackles, won 6 aerial duels, had 4 shots, took on 4 players successfully, scored a goal and made the assist for the winner. It was an almost complete performance from the Frenchman.
Mourinho will be hoping for more of these all-action performances from his star midfielder as United look to climb the table and Pogba seems to be getting better with every game.
Zlatan continues to defy critics
Ibrahimovic is another player who has been criticised heavily. Former Manchester United striker Michael Owen accused the Swede of “just standing around a lot” earlier in the season and many have said that Ibrahimovic is too static and is the reason United’s attacking play has been toothless at times.
The Swede is clearly a very important factor in United’s successes this season however. One cannot argue with the statistics. At 35, many have already written off Zlatan as a liability this season but he keeps proving his critics wrong. He has now scored 14 goals in 24 appearances and many of those have been match-winning goals.
His presence on the pitch is invaluable not just for the goals but for the aura he exudes and he will be central to anything good United achieve this season.
Rojo lucky once again
Marcos Rojo was once again lucky not to be sent off. After a two-footed tackle on Idrissa Gueye during Manchester United’s match against Everton, Rojo made an almost identical tackle last night on Zaha. He has been fortunate not to see red on both these occasions, and it is only a matter of time until his luck runs out.
He could severely injure a player with a tackle like that and Mourinho must reel him in before he does both United and an opposing player harm.
FACT: Marcos Rojo – The King of the two-footed challenge. ??pic.twitter.com/rWn2lIifBl
— SPORF (@Sporf) December 14, 2016
David de Gea the best in the league
David De Gea pulled off yet another brilliant save the first time he was called into action last night. The Spaniard can go an entire game without having anything to do and still remain completely alert at the first sign of danger. De Gea has been voted United’s player of the year for 3 consecutive seasons, which is a Manchester United record.
It is no surprise either. He is capable of almost any save and has single-handedly kept Manchester United in the game and saved them points on several occasions. De Gea is undoubtedly the best keeper in the league at the moment and it is hard to see anybody else usurping that title.
? | Top drawer save from David De Gea tonight to help United pick-up all 3 points. pic.twitter.com/7DHelZvaa0
— Man Utd Stuff (@ManUtdStuff) December 14, 2016
United got lucky with the first
Manchester United were lucky to take the lead. Mourinho’s side were clearly the better team and deserved a victory but the fact remains that the first goal should not have stood.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic clearly handled the ball into Paul Pogba’s path. The Frenchman was also clearly offside when he scored the opening goal but both these incidents were inexplicably missed by both the linesman and referee Craig Pawson. Rojo’s tackle also clearly deserved harsher punishment than the yellow he received and manager Alan Pardew wasn’t afraid to say so after the game.
As much as United deserved the victory the fact remains that they got lucky. You won’t catch Mourinho complaining though and the Portugese branded Rojo an “aggressive but clean” player after the game.
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