Louis van Gaal’s Red Devils kept the pressure on local rivals City this evening with an easy victory over Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace.
The 2-0 win puts United within one point of fourth placed Arsenal and two spots off third placed City, with four games to play this Premier League season.
The result was never in doubt, and featured strong performances from a number of United’s youngsters – but it was actually a Palace player who got them on their way…
Centre-back Damien Delaney committed football suicide by slicing into his own net after just four minutes, and from that point the result was never in doubt.
What the 34-year-old Irishman thought he was doing, we’ve yet to work out.
Interestingly, Delaney became only the eighth player to score a first-half goal for Manchester United this season (one other effort was an own-goal) – an absolutely shocking statistic for a team that should be challenging for the title.
On today’s evidence though, United could do a whole lot better next season and Palace might well be facing a relegation dogfight.
After ten minutes of the second-half, Italian right-back Matteo Darmian rifled in a swerving thunderbolt to end any faint Eagles hopes.
Darmian, signed in the summer, has struggled to recapture his excellent early season form due to injury, but tonight’s performance proved why LVG spent so much cash to bring him in from Serie A.
United next face Everton in the FA Cup at the weekend, with their opponents fresh off the back of a Merseyside Derby humiliation.