Crystal Palace 4-0 Manchester United: Goal controversy fails to hide fact Man Utd are masters of own downfall

Crystal Palace 4-0 Manchester United: Goal controversy fails to hide fact Man Utd are masters of own downfall

A controversial disallowed goal was not enough to distract from another abhorrent Manchester United performance in Monday’s 4-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.

Michael Olise, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Tyrick Mitchell all scored as the soaring Eagles took advantage of a hopeless Red Devils display at Selhurst Park.

United were missing 11 players including Bruno Fernandes and Harry Maguire after fresh knocks, with their makeshift central defensive partnership of Jonny Evans and Casemiro brutally exposed.

The Brazilian and Christian Eriksen flew in to challenge Olise after 12 minutes but both were left for dead before the Palace winger strolled into the acres of space left open by United, allowing him to side-foot the ball into the bottom corner for one-nil.

Purported transfer target Olise was popping up in all the wrong places for United and saw a further effort blocked inadvertently by Mateta ahead of Andre Onana holding onto another on-target shot, this time hit straight at the grateful goalkeeper.

There seemed to be little plan or execution about the visitors’ attacks yet they were harshly denied a leveller when a corner was diverted skywards. Rasmus Hojlund met the dropping ball to head home while making contact with Dean Henderson, which was deemed pressure enough to give a foul to the Eagles in a clear case of goalkeepers being treated as a protected species.

Still, United had plenty of the ball and did very little with it until they were punished again by weak defending. Eberechi Eze won the ball in midfield for Chris Richards to send Mateta through, and he sat Evans down with a delightful twist before firing a rocket past Onana.

There was little sign of any serious elevation in the quality of United’s approach after the break even though Casemiro had a goal ruled out for a far-less controversial infringement, having been clearly offside when hitting the post and scoring the rebound.

Palace began to up the ante via efforts from Eze and Will Hughes, with their surge in pressure telling in what were proving typical circumstances for the away team. Adam Wharton’s fine cross was turned towards Mitchell for a simple finish from close range under little pressure.

Another error from Casemiro, this time losing possession by his own corner flag to Daniel Munoz, led to Olise slamming an effort through Onana’s weak palms on 66 minutes.

Odsonne Edouard came within the width of the post from a fifth in stoppage time and the final whistle confirmed United’s 13th league defeat of the year, something they had never previously managed in the Premier League, and they now enter the final fortnight of the season outside the European qualification places.