Manager Neil Warnock recalled Damien Delaney alongside Scott Dann in the heart of the defence and brought in Adrian Mariappa in place of Martin Kelly at right back, whilst James McArthur replaced the suspended captain Mile Jedinak, and Jason Puncheon came in for Wilfried Zaha who was ineligible to play against his parent club.
We frustrated Man Utd by blocking off passes into their front men which forced them to play either square or back for much of the first half. What you are ideally looking for is to keep it tight and compact, not get too spread out and not to concede an early goal which scuppers the plan.
Man Utd had most of the possession throughout the match (67% to our 33%) and we managed five shots at goal to their fifteen but stats don't always paint a full picture.
A through ball by Delaney found its way to Fraizer Campbell on the edge of the 18 yard box and with De Gea committed, Campbell put his effort over the bar and onto the roof of the net. It was a real head in hands moment - you don’t get many opportunities at Old Trafford and you have to make them count.
There really wasn’t a lot to talk about in the first half and Palace were the happier going into the changing rooms at half time.
I felt we needed a bit of pace off the bench to try and stretch Man Utd at the back. On 63 minutes ex-Chelsea player Juan Mata came on for Adan Januzaj and four minutes later his deflected shot ended up in the back of the net.
The shot was going straight at Speroni only for it to hit Damian Delaney on the back and find it’s was way past our keeper.
Puncheon delivered some good set-pieces into our opponents penalty area but the vital touch we needed just wasn't there.
I travelled up on the train with one of our co-owners Steve Parish and we bumped into loads of Palace fans young and old. One of the kids asked me for a prediction. 1-1, I said and he said 0-1, would be better! I agreed. As a player I always looked forward to playing at Old Trafford regardless of where they were in the league. The club has history and heritage but at the moment I feel they are way off the Manchester United of a few years ago. There wasn't the swagger on the pitch and I felt the lads didn’t have any fear going there.
Tight games come down to fine margins, when we analyse it, a deflected goal and a lob over the bar was what the result boiled down to. When I look at United I wonder if they will endure a similar period to that of Liverpool. It’s not that easy making a once great club great again. I never thought that twenty four years after winning their last title Liverpool would still be looking for their 20th title all these years later. The home side's agenda is to qualify for the Champions League, Palace’s is more simple. We must make sure we go back to Old Trafford next season and play them in the league.
Right, who’s next? Oh yeah, Liverpool...