Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United: 6 Things We Learned

Scott RomFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2014

Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United: 6 Things We Learned

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    Manchester United were in desperate need of three points against Crystal Palace today, with the gap between them and fourth place seemingly growing most weekends.

    Following Chelsea's last-minute win over Everton, United knew a result at Selhurst Park would see them leapfrog David Moyes' former team.

    After a string of poor results, United got a good win today, but what did we learn from this victory?

Moyes Is Prepared to Change

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    Alastair Grant/Associated Press

    Mark Ogden reported in The Telegraph that Moyes insisted he didn't need to do anything differently following United's 2-2 draw with Fulham:

    We will just keep doing the job because I know that we’re doing the right job. We’ll do the same things. We’ll make sure things are right – prepare the players well and things will change, I have no doubt.

    The starting line-up showed that Moyes is prepared to change and do things differently, though. He's opting to play Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini in midfield, with Adnan Januzaj, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata in front of them. Finally, a formation change! 

Fellaini Might Be Alright

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    Before this afternoon, Marouane Fellaini had started just four Premier League games for Manchester United, yet there were some fans who had written him off entirely.

    He played his first game in over two months on Saturday and actually looked half decent. He completed 92 percent of his passes and recovered possession more for his team than any player on the pitch. He also made more interceptions and won more balls in the air than any United player.

    He missed a sitter in the first half, though, so he could probably do with some shooting practice before his next game!

Evra Can Still Contribute

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    Patrice Evra has come in for some criticism from United fans this season but he showed his attacking contribution well this evening and was named Man of the Match.

    With United desperate for three points, it was Evra's charge in to the box which resulted in the penalty that Robin van Persie dispatched perfectly. Then, it was Evra who provided the ball to Rooney for the second goal to wrap up the three points.

    Whilst he might lacking defensively at times, which is pretty unfortunate given that he is a defender, he showed again he has plenty to offer when United are going forward.

Wayne Rooney Is Prepared to Earn His Money

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    All the talk before the game was about Rooney's new massive contract and whether he could justify such a salary. 

    It wasn't a big surprise when he scored one of United's best goals of the season, catching the ball perfectly to send it flying in to the top corner.

    He now has 19 goals and assists from 20 starts, which isn't a bad return. United will be needing more from him if they have any chance of finishing in the top four, though.

Robin Van Persie Still Important

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    Simon Rice reported for The Independent this week on Louis van Gaal's claims that Van Persie is happier playing for the Netherlands than he is for United.

    In his last 10 league games, Van Persie has scored eight goals, which may suggests that it doesn't really matter how happy the player is because he's doing the business on the pitch regardless.

    A few weeks ago, United players were guilty of taking terrible penalties against Sunderland in the League Cup semi-final, but Van Persie showed them exactly how it should be done. Julian Speroni was sent the wrong way, but was later grateful to see another Van Persie shot come back off the woodwork.

Crystal Palace Fans Are a Bit Tetchy

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    Every time Wayne Rooney went to take a corner this evening, he was confronted by rabid Crystal Palace fans shouting abuse at him.

    Those fans then started throwing coins him, despite the best work of the stewards. The referee had to come over to the corner flag to assess the situation.

    It's not unusual for fans to give a bit of stick to opposition players taking a corner, and Rooney is one of the more popular players to abuse. But even Everton fans struggle to froth at the mouth as much as Crystal Palace fans were managing this afternoon.