Inspired by an eye-catching nine-game winning streak in all competitions, the Red Devils headed into this midweek assignment hoping to put more pressure on leaders Arsenal.
With nine points separating the sides ahead of the kick-off, Erik ten Hag’s men had a golden opportunity to insert themselves into the title race against bottom-half Palace.
However, the first half on a bitterly cold night in London offered too little for attending fans to cheer about, with United pushing for an early opener without a clear game plan.
In-form left-back Luke Shaw was first to threaten Vicente Guaita’s goal. But his well-struck volley flew agonisingly wide of the post before Antony and debutant Wout Weghorst unsuccessfully tried to break the deadlock.
United’s rock-solid backline looked impressive tonight, yet Palace came close to breaching it late in the first half as David de Gea stretched to thwart Odsonne Edouard’s clever chip.
Ten Hag’s side wasted no time punishing the Eagles, with Christian Eriksen drifting behind the hosts’ defence before laying the ball off to Bruno Fernandes, who smashed it into the net with a world-class finish.
United carried a narrow lead into half-time and seemed willing to settle for it for the remainder of the game, as they conceded possession in the second half.
Palace found chances hard to come by, but with the clock ticking down, they intensified their pursuit of an unlikely equaliser, forcing United to give up the ball far too easily.
It took them a while, but Patrick Vieira’s side reaped the reward of their continuous pressure, with Michael Olise slotting home a stunning free-kick in stoppage time to level the score.
While it looked like United would have no time to react, they came close to stealing a late win through Casemiro, who failed to score from point-blank range.
Olise’s strike helped Palace avoid losing three consecutive Premier League home matches without scoring and perhaps ended United’s hopes of mounting a title challenge.
Vicente Guaita (7/10) – Kept busy in the first half but pulled off some impressive saves to prevent United from going ahead sooner. Could do nothing about the goal.
Tyrick Mitchell (6/10) – After being tormented by Hakim Ziyech last weekend, he looked much better tonight, completely cutting Antony off the game.
Marc Guehi (7/10) – Put under an awful lot of pressure early on but managed to deal with and only got better as the match progressed.
Chris Richards (6/10) – Slotted in for injured Joachim Andersen, the USMNT youngster did all the basics well and was rarely caught off guard.
Nathaniel Clyne (6/10) – Tasked with coping with Rashford, the experienced right-back was aggressive enough to keep the in-form forward quiet for most of the game.
Will Hughes (4/10) – Handed a rare opportunity to start and did nothing worth mentioning. Could return to the bench next weekend.
Cheick Doucoure (5/10) – Not as involved as he was in his recent appearances but did his part defensively.
Wilfried Zaha (4/10) – Given Palace’s willingness to concede possession, it’s no surprise their talismanic forward barely influenced the match.
Odsonne Edouard (3/10) – Won’t be happy with himself tonight. Too loose in possession and unable to deal with Raphael Varane’s intimidating physical presence.
Michael Olise (8/10) – Crowned his energetic performance with a fantastic free-kick in the dying moments to rescue a point for Palace.
Jean Philippe-Mateta (4/10) – Despite working his socks off, the pacey striker offered very little of actual note as Varane and Lisandro Martinez presented him with a mammoth task.
Eberechi Eze – (6/10)
Jordan Ayew – (5/10)
Jeffrey Schlupp – (6/10)
Luka Milivojevic – (NA/10)
David de Gea (7/10) – Couldn’t be blamed for Olise’s phenomenal free-kick. Thwarted every other attempt that came his way tonight.
Luke Shaw (5/10) – Was an omnipresent figure in Palace’s half in the opening 45 minutes but vanished from the game after the break.
Lisandro Martinez (7/10) – Looked composed defensively and willing to spray passes around the field but could have timed some of his tackles better.
Raphael Varane (8/10) – Made little fuss with what defensive work he had to do against Palace’s mobile attacking line-up. Dealt with every attacking threat with authority.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7/10) – His tacking was spot on as it had to be against a player of Zaha’s calibre. However, his defensive assignments prevented him from venturing forward as often as he would’ve wanted.
Casemiro (5/10) – Needlessly picked up a late booking that will see him suspended for the upcoming match against Arsenal. Spurned a glorious opportunity to win it late for United.
Christian Eriksen (5/10) – His close-range passing was pinpoint as usual, but ten Hag must have expected more from the deep-lying playmaker, who seems to be running out of steam.
Antony (4/10) – Maybe it’s time for the Dutchman to bench his former Ajax pupil. Had too many frustrating moments tonight.
Bruno Fernandes (8/10) – Scored with a brilliant finish and was utterly instrumental to Man Utd’s build-up play, dictating the pace with precision and purpose.
Marcus Rashford (6/10) – Too over-zealous with the ball at his feet as he always tried to create spaces for a shot instead of getting his teammates involved.
Wout Weghorst (4/10) – Not the best way to launch his career at Man Utd. Showed glimpses of his strength and tactical awareness but won’t be proud of his debut performance.
Scott McTominay – (7/10)
Alejandro Garnacho – (7/10)
Fred – (NA/10)
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