Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United: Zlatan, Pogba deliver key win

2 Comments
  • Pogba put United ahead
  • Zlatan scores late winner
  • McArthur had equalized for Palace

LONDON — Manchester United left it late but Jose Mourinho’s side made it two-straight wins in the Premier League thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park on Wednesday.

[ MORE: 3 things learned ]

United went ahead in the first half as Ibrahimovic set up Pogba in controversial fashion, but a superb team goal got a largely lackluster Palace back in it with James McArthur finishing.

The game-winning moment arrived two minutes from time as Pogba played in Ibrahimovic and he finisihed superbly. 2-1 to United, who now have 27 points. Palace remain in trouble at the wrong end of the table on 15 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

United had an injury scare early on with Eric Bailly going down clutching his knee but he carried on and United looked the more dangerous in attack. Wayne Rooney sent a header over and Ander Herrera smashed a shot over as the Red Devils settled quicker with Palace standing off them.

Bailly got in down the right but his cutback couldn’t find Rooney and despite getting caught with a late challenge by Chung-Young Lee the Ivorian defender provided a useful threat down the right as he again found Rooney but a heavy touch saw the ball find Ibrahimovic in the box but Wayne Hennessey smothered the effort.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

Marcos Rojoj was then lucky to stay on the pitch for a two-footed lunge on Zaha which only saw him booked and then Zlatan had another shot deflected wide before half time. Hennessey then produced a great stop to deny Rooney the record-equaling goal. Pogba dinked over a lovely ball to Rooney and from eight yards out the United skipper tried to lift the ball into the top corner but Palace’s goalkeeper denied him. He remained on 248 goals. The game didn’t remain scoreless.

Right on half time a free kick from Mata found an unmarked Ibrahimovic and the Swedish striker chested it down in the box (although replays showed the ball looked to have struck his arm) to Pogba who slotted home. 1-0 to United with the last action of the first half a controversial one with Pogba also looking to be offside as he tapped home.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Bailly finally came off injured with Matteo Darmian replacing him as the Ivorian defender never fully recovered from the early injury he suffered to his left knee.

Palace started to push for an equalizer and McArthur sent in an arrow which De Gea brilliantly tipped wide. McArthur didn’t have to wait long for a goal as a wonderful flick from Damien Delaney set up McArthur and he slotted home calmly. 1-1. Game on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

United cranked through the gears in the final 20 minutes and were incensed when a corner from the left saw Ledley handle the ball clearly in the box but referee Craig Pawson waved play on. Moments later he waved off a United goal with Rojo’s header to the back post finding Mata and the Spaniard slotted home but the offside flag was up, incorrectly.

Mourinho was not a happy man.

In the end he was happy, though, as Pogba played in Zlatan beautifully and despite the Swede having plenty to do he dinked home in the 88th minute to make it 2-1 and seal all three points for United.

Mourinho and his players celebrated at the final whistle on the pitch. The Red Devils are gaining momentum as they head into the busy festive period.

Season restart preview: Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton season restart
Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Brighton is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Seagulls when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: If there’s a team whose results don’t show the way they’ve played, it’s Brighton. Graham Potter’s Seagulls have the sixth-best possession percentage in the league, are a tidy seventh in passing, and are mid-table in tackles per game, interceptions per game, and shots per game.

[ MORE: Ranking every Brighton player in 2019-20 ]

The expected goals stats show even less reward for good work, with Brighton scoring 8.35 goals less than expected in open play and 4.38 less from corner kicks.

Despite all these good things, Brighton is two points clear of the drop zone with nine matches to play and has a terribly challenging schedule especially at the Amex Stadium.


Tactical analysis: Graham Potter has put the Seagulls in myriad formations this season, though he’s been utilizing at least four at the back since the calendar turned to 2020. He’s ready to attack but pragmatic given the club’s hopes of staving off the teams below it in the fight for PL survival.

[ MORE: The 2 Robbies assess Brighton’s chances ]


Possible XI (4-2-3-1) 

—– Ryan —–

— Montoya — Webster — Dunk — Burn —

—– Propper —– Mooy —–

— Trossard — Gross — Alzate —

—– Maupay—–

Glenn Murray and Alireza Jahanbakhsh are excellent weapons to have on the bench, and Brighton’s also got a very good center back in reserve in the form of Shame Duffy and an underrated center mid in Dale Stephens who will see playing time, too. On paper, this team is too good to go down.


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle
Away: Leicester, Norwich, Southampton, Burnley

Predicted finish: They’ll do enough to get by, though that home fixture list is simply brutal. Safe before the final weekend.

Social media wrap: All 20 Premier League clubs, many players stand against racism

Premier League social media
@Wolves
Leave a comment

The protests in the United States have inspired anti-racism statements from around the world, including all gestures from all 20 Premier League clubs and many players and managers.

There have been ongoing protests and horrible violence in the U.S. since the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air in Minnesota.

Newcastle United’s American defender DeAndre Yedlin issued an emotional thread (below) as one of a great deal of players to express hopes for change and solidarity, while Schalke’s Weston McKennie explained his wearing a black armband reading “Justice For George” in the Bundesliga this weekend.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

From Ancelotti to Zaha, Antonio to Yedlin, Arsenal to Wolves, we’ve collected many of their sentiments below in what we hope serves as universal disdain for racial prejudice.

Some players like Leicester City’s Wes Morgan and even entire clubs (Arsenal) changed their online identity photos to reflect these troubled times.

All PL clubs issued messages of solidarity, many using the Black Lives Matter hashtag and making no bones about where they stand.

And we’ll start with a longtime PL club currently in the Championship, who blasted a season ticket holder’s rejection of their unifying Tweet.

Here are some other clubs and players worldwide to have noticed what’s happening in the United States.

 

Season restart preview: Bournemouth

Bournemouth season restart
Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Bournemouth when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: Tough sledding for the Cherries, who face zero of their fellow bottom-six sides (though 13th place Newcastle and 14th place Saints both visit the Vitality Stadium).

There’s been an element of bad luck to Bournemouth’s woes, with its expected goals stats showing Ryan Fraser, Joshua King, and Callum Wilson have deserved better end product and that the Cherries’ 14 goals from open play should be closer to 22. The defense has been bad and xG says it could’ve been worse, too. Injuries had hit Bournemouth’s defense corps in a big way, too. How much better will they be after the break?

[ MORE: Ranking every Cherries player in 2019-20 ]


Tactical analysis: Eddie Howe utilized a 4-4-2 with two defensive midfielders for much of the early season, but has gone between a lone striker with a packed-in midfielder and a 4-3-3 when he thinks an opponent is exploitable.

Howe started a 4-4-2 against almost all of the Cherries’ remaining opponents, choosing a 5-4-1 against Wolves and Man City. There’s no guarantee he’ll continue that, especially when some matches may dictate a draw or limited goal differential damage over wins.


Possible XI (4-3-3) 

—– Ramsdale —–

— Smith — S. Cook — Ake — Rico —

—– Lerma —– Billing — L. Cook —

— Fraser —– C. Wilson —– King —–

Howe prefers to attack when at all possible, but the points will be at a premium against some very challenging opponents. It’s a safe bet that he’ll ask a lot from his forwards while trying to deploy his three relentless midfielders together whenever possible. The question here is whether Aaron Ramsdale returns quickly from his COVID-19 positive test, or if it’ll be Artur Boruc or someone else between the sticks.


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Spurs, Leicester City, Southampton
Away: Wolves, Manchester United, Man City, Everton

Predicted finish: The Cherries stay up, just, as King and Callum Wilson deliver the goods in front of a determined and improved midfield.

Premier League clubs will reportedly be allowed preseason friendlies

Premier League return
Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Premier League clubs will be allowed to play preseason matches ahead of the 2019-20’s restart season later this month.

There will be strict protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, and the matches will likely be officiated by club coaching staffs (We have so many Jose Mourinho as ref quips to make here, but let’s keep going anyway).

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Sky Sports says clubs will be limited to opponents within 90 minutes of their venue, and that players will have to drive themselves to the stadiums and go directly to the field in uniform.

With the League One and League Two seasons still hanging in the balance, it’s likely PL sides will be limited to each other and Championship sides. Presumably clubs will not want to meet others still on their fixture list.

We assume some players will get dressed in their vehicles outside the ground, but allow yourself some levity in these challenging times and imagine a fully kitted-up Virgil van Dijk driving the roads from Liverpool to Wigan Athletic.