Manchester United ran out 3-1 winners against Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening, maintaining their continued resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Romelu Lukaku fired the Red Devils into a 2-0 lead with strikes either side of half-time, before Joel Ward handed Palace a lifeline with 25 minutes remaining. However, a late Ashley Young strike settled the game within the final ten minutes.
The Red Devils took the lead with 33 minutes on the clock after Luke Shaw did well to find Lukaku on the edge of the box, who cooly side footed the ball past Vicente Guaita leaving the Palace keeper with no chance.
Five minutes into the second half and the away side had doubled their lead, with Lukaku again on the scoresheet. Palace failed to clear a corner which allowed the Belgian to hook the ball into the net from just inside the six-yard box.
A spirited Crystal Palace side refused to lie down and reduced the arrears after 65 minutes. Jeffrey Schlupp burst down the left-hand side before whipping in a fierce cross which was met by Joel Ward's diving header at the far-post to rekindle hope for the home side.
With Palace throwing men forward to grab a late equaliser, United countered through Lukaku and Paul Pogba, with the ball eventually finding its way to Ashley Young who put the game beyond doubt.
Check out 90min's breakdown of the clash below.
Key Talking Point
There has been a growing sense that Roy Hodgson has started to get the Eagles firing in recent weeks, with his side undefeated in all competitions since their thrilling 4-3 defeat to Liverpool on 19 January.
Optimism was high heading into this fixture off the back of the Leicester win, which, coupled with Man Utd's extensive injury list, created a genuine belief amongst many that Palace could pull of a shock result tonight with the electric crowd at Selhurst Park firmly behind them.
However, the level of opposition proved a step too far as they were outdone by the extra bit of quality on show from United. Hodgson can take solace from a spirited display from his side, but Palace will know their survival in the Premier League will hinge on fixtures against sides outside the top six.
Starting XI: Guaita (6), Ward (7), Kelly (5), Tomkins (6), Van Aanholt (5); Milivojevic (7), McArthur (6), Schlupp (6); Townsend (6), Batshuayi (6), Zaha (7).
Substitutes: Meyer (7), Benteke (6), Kouyate (N/A)
STAR MAN - Wilfried Zaha
Despite not having his best day in a Palace shirt, he still looked the most likely to make something happen. He looked electric with the ball at his feet and made Young look a bit amateurish on a number of occasions down the left hand side.
Zaha is not human— MichyStyle🦇 (@MichyStyle) February 27, 2019
Key Talking Point
Much of the focus pre-match surrounded how Man Utd would cope with a whole host of injuries to key players. Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, to name a few, were all missing from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's starting XI.
Such is the nature of the United squad, they were still able to call on £75m Romelu Lukaku and £500k-per-week forward Alexis Sanchez to lead the line, but neither were in great form heading into the game. However, it was Lukaku in particular that stepped up to the plate and silenced any lingering doubters by netting United's openers.
United proved they have strength in depth tonight, Selhurst Park was never going to be an easy place to perform but they ran out fairly comfortable winners all things considered, firing a warning to both Arsenal and Chelsea as they continue to hunt down the coveted fourth spot in the table.
Starting XI: De Gea (7), Young (6), Lindelof (7), Smalling (6), Shaw (8); McTominay (6), Dalot (6), Fred (4), Pogba (6); Lukaku (9*), Sanchez (6).
Substitutes: Bailly (6), Rashford (6), Garner (N/A)
STAR MAN - Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku had the big boots of Marcus Rashford to fill following the Englishman's incredible goalscoring exploits in recent weeks, but fill them he did. Not only did he bag both of United's goals, but his general hold-up play was superb, something that has been lacking in recent weeks.
If Lukaku can consistently perform to the levels he showed tonight, Solskjaer is certainly going to have a selection headache up front for the remainder of the campaign.
Next up for Crystal Palace is a testing trip to Turf Moor as they face a Burnley side that have shown vast improvements since the turn of the year.
Meanwhile, United host Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday, before they attempt to overturn a 2-0 deficit to Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday.