Fellaini hits double as Mourinho's men cruise

Manchester United won its seventh straight match in all competitions by easing past Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

Marouane Fellaini celebrates for Manchester United in its win over Crystal Palace.   -  Getty Images

Marouane Fellaini scored twice as Manchester United cruised to a 4-0 victory over rock-bottom Crystal Palace in the Premier League at Old Trafford.

Juan Mata, one of Jose Mourinho's five changes from Wednesday's win over CSKA Moscow, struck early on, netting his first Premier League goal since February on his 200th appearance in the competition.

And two close-range finishes from the in-form Fellaini either side of half-time took his season tally to four before Romelu Lukaku sealed a comprehensive victory late on as United continued to impress even without the injured Paul Pogba. 

United's win, which saw Marcus Rashford also shine with two assists, moved it top of the Premier League.

Mourinho's side has won seven consecutive matches in all competitions, while Palace are pointless and still without a goal from as many top-flight games as its abysmal start to the campaign goes on.

Palace's confidence was already shot coming into the game and United took advantage to move ahead inside three minutes.

 

Rashford – another of the stars brought in by Mourinho – was the creator, easily cruising past Joel Ward down the left and cutting back to Mata, who finished simply with his left foot from 12 yards.

A quiet spell followed the early drama, with the next shot on target for either side not coming until after the half-hour mark when David de Gea beat away an effort from Bakary Sako, who was starting in an unfamiliar striking role with Christian Benteke out injured.

United had not tested Wayne Hennessey since its opener, but ruthlessly doubled its lead in the 35th minute. Ashley Young delivered a magnificent in-swinging cross from the left which left Fellaini with an easy task to volley in at the far post.

That buoyed United, with Chris Smalling heading inches wide and Hennessey making a good save from Rashford at his near post as a demoralised Palace side went into the break two behind.

Having struck early in the first half, United repeated the trick within four minutes of the restart. After Young was fouled by Luka Milivojevic, Rashford earned his second assist by whipping in an excellent free-kick from the left and Fellaini made no mistake, heading in from two yards.

Jeffrey Schlupp was angry to have a penalty claim down after a challenge from Smalling at the other end, while Young drew a save from Hennessey as United searched for a fourth.

Lukaku had a quiet outing, but should have scored when he took advantage of an advantage from referee Mike Dean to run into the area and send a left-footed strike inches wide when he appeared destined to find the far corner.

Palace's wait for a goal went on, with Andros Townsend's free-kick flying just wide in its only opportunity in the closing stages, before Anthony Martial was impressively denied by Hennessey after being played in by fellow substitute Ander Herrera.

But United were not to be denied a fourth goal, Lukaku getting his seventh in as many league games by tapping in from six yards after Herrera and Martial had again combined in impressively creating the opportunity.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos