Crystal Palace legend Mark Bright takes a look back at Saturday's narrow defeat to Manchester United, insisting the Eagles deserved more from the game. Before looking ahead to the trip to Liverpool next weekend.
Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton said to me in the boardroom that he thought they just edged it, I said to him I thought a draw would have been a fair result.
Either way, we were very unlucky to lose the match at the weekend. That is now four defeats in a row for us following a run of four wins. It’s not a fair reflection on how well the team performed in the last two matches against two top class teams Chelsea and Man Utd.
The manager made three changes from the team that faced Chelsea, in came the skipper Mile Jedinak, Glenn Murray and Pape Souare. A back four of Pape, Damien Delaney, Scott Dann and Joel Ward, with Mile, James McArthur and Joe Ledley making up the trio just in front of them. Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha, who was facing his former club for the first time since re-signing with us, played on the wings, and Glenn Murray was the lone striker.
Mile was given the task of marking Marouane Fellaini and for most of the game that seemed to work. They are both strong and physical players, so watching that match up was interesting. I remember our old boss Steve Coppell saying, he only went to the cinema to see the movie stars, but there was no Angel Di Maria or Robin Van Persie in the United squad. I think it's always disappointing when you don’t get the chance to see some top talent on display, even if their absence helps our cause of trying to win the match.
I was disappointed in United, I thought they looked average. Wayne Rooney is always a threat, Ashley Young had a hand in both goals, but apart from that they looked unspectacular. They are what they are at the moment: a team without identity. They clearly aren’t a side capable of winning the Premier League with this team.
They hit so many long balls to Fellaini they looked one dimensional and predictable, Rooney left the pitch with an injury at the start of the 2nd half and on came Radamel Falcao. Now, if he was a young lad who had come through United’s academy l’d have probably said he isn’t ready for the first team yet, but for the striker he is, he looked so poor. He offered no presence, no pace, and was not someone who looked like he could strike fear into our defence.
Once again the match hinged on the referee’s decisions to make the right call, from where I was sitting I must admit it look like the ball struck Scott Dann’s arm, the reality is that it didn’t. The penalty was subsequently converted by Juan Mata.
Jason Puncheon levelled the score at 1-1 on the 57th minute with a delightful free kick, I watched him practicing that very free kick for quite a while recently when the rest of the squad had all gone in, so I was pleased for him. He was then denied a penalty when Mata hooked his foot in the penalty area, Michael Oliver got a good look at it and said no.
United’s second goal was a foul plain and simple, Falcao pushed Damien Delaney into Julian who was on his way to take the cross. As our two players collided. Fellaini then headed Young’s cross into the empty net. How two officials failed to spot the push is a question only they can answer, but it was all very frustrating.
Eyebrows may be raised at our dip in form, but a few questions to ask yourself are, did the team look organised? Did they look like they knew what they were doing? Did they look like they had a plan? Did they work hard? I think the answer to all those questions is yes.
United had slightly more possession but David de Gea was by far the busiest goalkeeper. He pulled off some big saves, especially the one from close range from Glenn. which proved to be a game changing save.
It was good to see Marouane Chamakh back on the bench along with Frazier Campbell. With a full squad to choose from let's hope we can finish the season with some points from our last two matches!
Liverpool are up next, and it will be a special day for a special player as Steven Gerrard plays his last Premier League match at Anfield. We can spoil the send off. Let's be party poopers and get something from the match.