Solskjaer teachers and students approached the top four after defeating Crystal Palace 2-0 in the 36th Premier League round, on the evening of July 16.
After the fifth match in a row using the same formation and 2-2 draw by Southampton in the previous round, coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had to adjust. On Selhurst Park, he let Timothy Fosu-Mensah play as a left-back, amid both Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams injuries. Scott McTominay plays midfielder in place of Nemanja Matic.
Man Utd continues to chase Chelsea and Leicester
These changes led Man Utd to struggle, while Crystal Palace – soon completed the goal of relegation – attacked openly. Wilfried Zaha warned a hard working day for Aaron Wan-Bissaka when cheating over the right-back of Man Utd and testing David De Gea with a curse from outside the penalty area.
Palace constantly gaps in the space between Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof. In a counterattack, taking advantage of Lindelof’s lack of definitive save, Jordan Ayew definitely shot with his left foot, forcing De Gea to punch the ball to rescue. Zaha then passed the ball past Lindelof and fell inside the box but the referee refused to give the home side a penalty.
Rashford opened the scoring for Man Utd in injury time for the first half
In the deadlock, Man Utd opened the scoring thanks to a combination of Bruno Fernandes, Martial, and Marcus Rashford. Rashford did not control the pass of the teammate well, but the calm treatment then helped him eliminate two defenders and the Palace keeper, before gently cushioning the ball into the empty goal. This is Rashford’s 17th goal in the English Premier League this season, equaling his combined goals in the previous two seasons.
Solskjaer immediately adjusted after this loss. He put Matic and Jesse Lingard in place of McTominay and Greenwood. The change helped Man Utd regain midfield. At that time, the ability to combine Fernandes, Martial, and Rashford were promoted again. Rashford accelerated to the edge of the box and dropped the second line for Fernandes to hit the post.
Man Utd reached 62 points after this victory, equal to Leicester City but ranked behind due to poor goal difference. “Red Devils” will host West Ham in the next round, while Palace as a guest of Wolves.