All square at a misty Selhurst as battling Palace dig in to frustrate off-key Man United
Crystal Palace (0) 0
Manchester United (0) 0
Palace secured another useful point in their quest to secure Premier League status - this time at the expense of the team that never loses away.
United have now gone 21 games undefeated away from home in the league, but in the end were comfortably held by a determined Eagles side, who looked much sharper than in the tame weekend draw with Fulham.
With all the possession they had, United did not create too many chances after the break and Palace came close to stealing all three points themselves.
Perhaps Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men had the weekend Manchester derby on their minds. Whatever it was, they looked like a side who have given up the ghost when it comes to the title and Roy Hodgson’s side fully deserved their point.
Palace began aggressively and fearlessly and very soon Andros Townsend had crossed for Christian Benteke to get a volley away – albeit over the bar – Luka Milivojevic executed a couple of crunching tackles and ghosted around star man Bruno Fernandes.
Vicente Guaita picked up the mood too – springing up athletically to tip over a shot from just outside the box by Nemanja Matic which looked to be looping towards the top corner after deflecting off James McCarthy.
But it was United, perhaps inevitably, who started to make their extra time in possession count as chances began to flow.
Marcus Rashford should have scored after being picked out in the area by Luke Shaw but the England striker fired wide. Cheik Kouyate got in an important block to send Mason Greenwood’s shot wide and Joel Ward – who had a phenomenal first half – made a great clearance to prevent Edinson Cavani from converting a searching low cross from former Eagle Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
The ambition was still very much in evidence at the start of the second half, with Benteke attempting an overhead kick which deflected off target and the striker then set up Jordan Ayew for a drive straight at Dean Henderson.
Townsend – always lively and involved - picked up a rebound from an Eagles free-kick by Milivojevic that was only partially cleared but sent his effort wide, having not properly connected.
Daniel James came on for United and almost scored immediately after meeting a Shaw cross with a firm header which flicked over and Greenwood cut inside to drill just over as United searched another of those famed late winners.
Palace have conceded more goals than anyone else in the last 15 minutes of matches, so the prospects remained high. And yet Patrick Van Aanholt might have stolen the glory after ghosting onto a beautiful pass from Milovojevic before being smothered by Henderson.
The phrase ghosting is surely apt, given that the game played out to an increasingly foggy backdrop. The view may have been partially obscured, but in truth there was not a great deal to see.
Eagles: Guaita – Ward, Kouyate, Cahill, Van Aanholt – Milivoyevic, McCarthy (Riedewald 62) – Townsend, Eze (Schlupp 84), Ayew – Benteke. Subs not used: Butland, Dann, Mateta, Wickham, Batshuayi, Kelly, Hannam
United: Hendersen, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw – Fred (McTominay 74), Matic – Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford – Cavani (James 76). Subs not used: Lindelof, Grant, Diallo, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe, Shoretire