Manchester United survive late scare to see off Crystal Palace for 13th straight home win
Manchester United moved to within eight points of top spot in the Premier League
Manchester United moved to within eight points of Premier League leaders Arsenal with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.
Goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford put Erik ten Hag’s team in a commanding position, but a second-half red card for Casemiro allowed Palace (opens in new tab) back into the game.
Jeff Schlupp halved the deficit in the 76th minute to set up a nervy finish, but United (opens in new tab) held on for their 13th consecutive win at Old Trafford.
The hosts made the perfect start, Bruno Fernandes converting coolly from the penalty spot after Will Hughes handled in the box.
It was one-way traffic for most of the first half, as Wout Weghorst, Antony and Rashford all forced saves out of Vicente Guaita.
Palace improved in the 10 minutes before the break, with Chris Richards unable to divert his header on target from a Michael Olise corner.
But Patrick Vieira’s side were given a mountain to climb early in the second half, as Rashford turned Luke Shaw’s low cross home after a sweeping United (opens in new tab) move.
Palace were given a lifeline when Casemiro was sent off following a lengthy VAR check, with the Brazilian caught wrapping his hands around Hughes’s neck.
Palace soon made the most of their numerical superiority, as Schlupp skillfully diverted Cheick Doucoure’s wayward shot past David de Gea with 14 minutes left.
There were chances for an equaliser, the best of which was spurned by Jean-Philippe Mateta, who nodded over at the back post.
But United showed impressive resolve to get over the line and close the gap to Arsenal (opens in new tab), who lost 1-0 to Everton (opens in new tab) in the early kick-off.
With another home game to come against Leeds (opens in new tab) on Wednesday, Ten Hag's in-form side could be just five points off the top by the time Arsenal next take to the field.
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Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).