Six talking points after Palace 2 United 3
Seriously, how great was that win at Crystal Palace? It was a typical Manchester United fightback and the second-half performance had everyone buzzing after the final whistle at Selhurst Park. Here, we present just six of the talking points up for discussion…
BEST GAME OF THE SEASON?
That is a massive claim to make and one that nobody foresaw at half-time, when we were 1-0 down and clearly in trouble after a poor first-half performance. But, after such an unpredictable and mesmeric comeback in south-east London, it is surely now a valid question. So what do you think? In terms of suspense, entertainment and genuine jaws-to-the-floor action, have there been any better United matches this campaign? The 3-1 win at Arsenal in September is perhaps the closest rival, but that was more owing to the absurd number of shots (41), quality of goals and David De Gea’s performance. Palace gets my vote.
EVEN THE STEWARD ENJOYED IT!
Nemanja Matic scored his first United goal with a masterful strike from distance, which flew into the top corner and inspired scenes of sheer delirium, both among the players and travelling fans in the away end. Amazingly, as the TV cameras followed the celebrations beside the goalmouth, one Crystal Palace steward was seen with a broad smile spread across his face as utter jubilation surrounded him… until he spotted the lens and immediately reverted to type! In fairness to him, it was impossible not to get wrapped up in the moment, a reason why we all love football, and he soon dispersed the crowd like a pro.
Jose Mourinho’s men have climbed off the canvas in the last two matches, having overturned deficits against Chelsea and Palace. It is the first time a United side has completed back-to-back comebacks in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, and since the wins against Braga and Aston Villa back in November 2012. The last time we did it in the Premier League was a little earlier, in August and September 2012, when the Reds fought back to earn a couple of sensational 3-2 wins over Fulham and Southampton.
THE SUBS ALL HAD AN IMPACT
Fair play to Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff, because our second-half changes were all effective in changing the game in our favour. Marcus Rashford, who replaced Scott McTominay, was especially positive throughout his 45-minute outing, as he terrorised the Palace defence from his position on the wing, offering a different dimension to the attack. Juan Mata and Luke Shaw also impressed after coming on for Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, as United threw caution to the wind when chasing the comeback. The substitutions were gutsy, attack-minded and, ultimately, incredibly successful.
DE GEA’S GORDON BANKS MOMENT
Such a win would have been impossible without the heroics of our world no.1, after he pulled off yet an unbelievable save that had fans scratching their heads in amazement. It happened when the score was 2-2, and a cross flew into the box from the right wing for Christian Benteke to meet. The giant Belgian rose high and got a good connection, nodding the ball towards the bottom-left corner of the net and a goal looked imminent, until De Gea appeared with an acrobatic stop that bore resemblance to the great England goalkeeper Gordon Banks denying Pele at the 1970 World Cup.
LUKAKU’S 99TH PREMIER LEAGUE GOAL
Romelu is just one goal away from joining the 100-club in England’s top division, following his composed finish against the Eagles on Monday night, and he could reach the landmark by scoring against historic rivals Liverpool this weekend. His near-century of strikes includes the 17 he scored with former club West Bromwich Albion, and 68 netted for Everton. Saturday could be a big day!
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