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Three things we learned from Crystal Palace - Manchester United

Crystal Palace put in a signature, stifling shift to hold lifeless Manchester United to their third consecutive scoreless draw in all competitions.

Manchester United’s scoreless streak stands at 285 minutes following a third-straight scoreless draw for the Red Devils, this one with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Wednesday.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]

Perhaps United will rest their hats on the hope that its poor finishing can’t possibly last too much longer, even if the next match is a Manchester derby with one of the best teams of a generation at Sunday at the Etihad Stadium (start time 11:30am ET on NBCSN and online via

Nineteen total shots, 11 of which came for United, combined to produce three on target in a match which would be instantly forgotten if not for the foggy, rainy aesthetics on display in South London.

[ MORE: Solskjaer on dull draw, looming derby, De Gea absence ]

United’s 51 points move them 14 back of leaders Man City with 11 matches left for each side. Throw in Leicester City’s draw with Burnley and any longshot dreams of a title fight feel as dead as the ball on Wednesday.

Palace’s 34 points means the Eagles are likely safe, 11 points removed from the bottom three with as many matches left on its schedule/


Three things we learned from Crystal Palace - Manchester United

1. A distinct lack of Pogba: This is three-straight nil-nils for United, and splits with Real Sociedad and Chelsea are a bit more understandable than a disappointing and drab draw with Palace. But United is without imagination at times without Bruno Fernandes. And as good as Marcus Rashford is, he’s less of a factor without one of the world’s best string-pullers pulling the strings.

2. A distinct lack of Zaha: Palace’s front six to start Wednesday’s match is completely respectable, from future star Eberechi Eze to a strike pair of Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke who have been pretty decent in recent weeks. But Eze is not yet nearing Wilfried Zaha’s status and the Ivorian’s absence has been screaming from the void he left on the pitch.

3. Injuries don’t help either team (and Palace’s list grows): James McCarthy fittingly went off injured in his first start since January, and he’s been limited to 148 minutes in the league since the calendar turned to 2021. Palace was also without Zaha, James McArthur, James Tomkins, and Mamadou Sakho amongst others, while a deeper United welcomed back Edinson Cavani but was without Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, and Anthony Martial. Throw in the rain and a dry spell for goals and it just wasn’t much for the eyes.

Man of the Match: Luka Milivojevic

Joel Ward and Harry Maguire made some immense interventions, but it was Palace’s center mid who held it down with McArthur out and McCarthy reinjured. Jairo Riedewald was bright in McCarthy’s place for the final 23 minutes.

Crystal Palace - Manchester United recap

A rain-soaked first half might’ve added to the aesthetic drama on television but it did little for the action.

Marcus Rashford missed a Luke Shaw-inspired chance, one aimed at Edinson Cavani, by a foot at the near post.

Joel Ward was the next to deny Cavani a chance to do what he does best, sliding to cut out a cross and deny the Uruguayan an easy finish at the back post.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]

That, in a nutshell, was the first half.

The second half saw some near misses and big misses, both in the case of Daniel James’ 78th-minute header off Patrick van Aanholt and out of play for a United corner.

Mason Greenwood manufactured a curling shot out of nothing that sent Vicente Guaita flying but missed the frame late.

Van Aanholt nearly went from fortunate defender to match-winner, but Dean Henderson made a great stop on the Dutch back in the 90th minute.

Follow @NicholasMendola