Tuesday , February 7 2023

Man Utd 3-1 Crystal Palace: 5 talking points as Ten Hag’s side impress amid Maguire boos

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By Samuel Meade

Man Utd made it three from three in pre-season as they made light work of Crystal Palace with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho all scoring in a comprehensive victory

Manchester United looked hugely impressive once more as they saw off English opposition Down Under.

They’ve already seen off Liverpool and now it was Crystal Palace who struggled to live with Erik ten Hag’s relentless attacking force. Bar a short period in the first-half United dominated and were more than good value for their comfortable win as the goals continue to flow.

Operating largely with players he inherited, Ten Hag has his team looking more accomplished with each passing game. Their ability to sustain attacks highlights a key change whilst Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho all scored as their frontline begins to click.

Crystal Palace will hope for improvements going forward and will be mind full that this is only pre-season, although they did get themselves a consolation after a David de Gea blunder allowed Joel Ward to notch. Ten Hag threw a host of youngsters on in the latter stages with the game looking safe, but in their enthusiasm to impress 19-year-old Will Fish was sent-off as he hauled down Viktot Akinwale when he was the last man.

That said, United will take huge encouragement from their latest display as Ten Hag still makes moves to get his message across. Here are the talking points from Melbourne.

Anthony Martial opened the scoring as his purple patch continues

Anthony Martial opened the scoring as his purple patch continues

1 Anthony a man reborn

Last term he scored once for the Red Devils – he’s already bettered that tally in pre-season. Martial has spent time as a wide forward but his best season, which came under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was as a No 9. Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential departure may leave an opening that the Frenchman is desperate to take.

For much of his career he’s been a confidence player and Martial looks to be loving life right now. Even before his neat early finish the forward was looking menacing, keen to drop deep and link-up play. He’s now scored in all three of the pre-season games thus far.

United continue to be linked with Antony at Ajax, but his namesake, albeit it spelt differently, is making it known that he is ready to be a huge goal threat this term.

2 Erik’s orders

He knows exactly what he wants and is continuing to bark out instructions to get his message across. There was a moment in the first-half that summed up the Dutchman’s early days as he made his feelings known.

Usually when a ball trickles out of play by the dugout the manager swiftly throws it back – not Ten Hag. He held onto the ball for a few seconds, ensuring everyone was looking his way, and shouted at one of his players whilst gesturing with his fingers. He looked to be aiming himself at the United midfielders – an area he’s targeted throughout pre-season.

He’s been key for them to play with a certain number in the middle of the park, likely looking to greater a man advantage as they look to build possession and sustain attacks.

Man Utd's attack continues to impress

Man Utd’s attack continues to impress

Harry Maguire was subjected to boos from the crowd

Harry Maguire was subjected to boos from the crowd

3 Harry booed

It seems as though United fans on the other side of the world are still not sold on their captain Harry Maguire. The centre-half has had to show some thick skin through his time in Manchester.

He needed that again as the Australian crowd were quick to boo the centre-half. It came as something of a surprise given United have continued to support Maguire despite his clear drop in form. Ten Hag has backed the Englishman as his captain going forward – a decision that may have wrangled some.

Lisandro Martinez has just arrived to put further pressure on Maguire and it seems the fans in Australia, perhaps those from Selhurst Park included, are not huge fans of the United and England defender.

Read more about it here.

4 Front three reinvigorated

Last term Martial, Sancho and Rashford all had their issues with two of them having their futures at the club questioned. Sancho began to grow as the season went on, but his debut year still failed to hit expectations. Now though, with a new man at the helm, the front three are full of energy and seemingly full of goals as they all got on the scoresheet.

Especially in the early exchanges Sancho and Rashford, who occupied the two wide berths, looked prepared to take risks and get inside their man as they attempted to get influence play. Much was made of Rashford’s body language at times last term, but the off season looks to have done him the world of good.

Marcus Rashford continues to rediscover his form, scoring his side's second

Marcus Rashford continues to rediscover his form, scoring his side’s second

5 Ebiowei a miss?

Malcolm Ebiowei came through the Derby County set-up and only need a hand full of appearances to attract Premier League attention. United were among those keen on the teenager but he would snub them and recently opted for Crystal Palace instead.

It was a blow at the time and, as he continues to be given minutes in the Eagles first-team, it looks like it could be a huge miss. The youngster showed no fear as he continued to cause problems down the United left, taking on new man Tyrell Malacia. He was feeding off scraps but on a hugely impressive night for United, their only downer may have been watching Palace’s new signing and wondering just how effective he may have been in the years to come.

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About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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