Lukaku isn’t the only big Belgian hitting the back of the net
Romelu Lukaku will be looking to make it seven consecutive games with a goal as the Red Devils host a struggling Crystal Palace. He currently stands at 10 goals in his first nine games for the club.
More impressively, perhaps, is the five clean sheets in the opening six games of the season; clearly demonstrating the previous defensive issues have been resolved. Mourinho should feel confident that his team will win this game comfortably.
United make just one change from the side that beat Southampton 1-0 last weekend. De Gea starts in goal with Valencia, Smalling, Jones and Young as a back four. Matic, Fellaini, and Mata make up the midfield, with Mkhitaryan, Rashford, and Lukaku in attack.
Crystal Palace get the game underway but it is United that start brighter, immediately controlling the game. Less than three minutes into the game and it is already 1-0 to United. Young passes the ball down the wing to Rashford who goes past the defender like he’s not even there. Juan Mata times his run perfectly, and the Spaniard slots it into the bottom right-hand corner. It looks like it’ll be a long day for Palace.
The London side can’t even get a sniff of the ball in the early stages of the game. I don’t think they have strung more than two passes together before they are unceremoniously taken off the ball. In the opening ten minutes, United have had 72 per cent possession.
A potential penalty call as Fellaini goes down in the area. Upon watching the replay though it seems like a tangle of legs rather than a foul ― hardly surprising given the Belgian’s massive height.
Bafflingly, Palace only seem to be defending the width of the penalty area and are ignoring the wings. This means that Young and Rashford have free reign on the left-hand side of the pitch. Just when they get the ball you think “Is this it? Is this going to be their first attack?” but then they get tackled and United attack once more.
A mistake by Matic leads to the first corner of the game for Palace but it is easily defended. Soon they get a second, then a third, and a fourth, but they all lead to nothing.
Palace are starting to put together some decent attacks, but are limited to shots from outside of the box. With the form De Gea is currently in, it will take a miracle for them to score.
There is a spell of possession for United which slows down the momentum Palace had built up. Young gets the ball by the corner flag and does a little shimmy from side to side to get space to cross and oh my what a cross it was. It flows to the far post for a simple tap in for Fellaini. Just as Palace begin to grow into the game they go down a second.
The ball gets launched over 50 yards into the air and Mata takes it under control like it was less than five, the crowd loves it. United are not just playing well, they’re playing with style. Before that Rashford passed the ball with his shoulder, exquisite.
As the whistle blows for half time, fans don’t want it to end. This is perhaps the best performance by the Red Devils this season so far. The score by the end of the game will certainly rise to four or even five nil.
The second half gets underway and United are on top from the word go. A fantastic block stops Rashford from getting a shot off and shortly after Young gets taken out for a free kick.
Rashford launches the ball into the box and Fellaini stands his ground to head it in from two yards. Three goals to the better for United and Rashford deserves praise for a fabulous assist.
As bad as Palace’s record is, they aren’t playing as bad as you would expect. They are creating chances and creating problems for United, goals will come, most likely from this game, but they will come.
Rashford goes down in agony as Sakho inadvertently punches him in the groin area. Men all around the stadium let out a groan in empathy. The first substitution happens at the same time as he catches his breath with Lingard coming on for Mkhitaryan.
The pace of the game is picking up and Palace are the driving force behind that. They are having more possession but aren’t getting into the final third of the pitch. United are content as they are incredibly dangerous on the counter attack.
Martial is waiting to come on but is having some trouble taking off all of his silver chains. Should he not take them off when he gets into the dressing room? Either way, he will come on for Rashford when he is ready.
The referee plays a fantastic advantage as Lingard is taken out. Lukaku takes the ball and, in a one-on-one situation with the keeper hits it inches wide. You would really expect him to score from an opportunity like that.
Mourinho makes his third and final substitution, taking off the scorer of the first goal Mata, and Herrara comes on.
He has had to wait until the 86th minute to score but Lukaku has finally done it. Martial assists once more as he passes across the face of goal and all he has to do is tap it in. 4-0 United.
As the game finishes it is yet another win for Manchester United. 19 points from the first seven games is their best ever start. Palace, on the other hand, continue to search far and wide for their first goal.