Manchester United crawl past a resilient Crystal Palace as Chelsea frustrate Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
BY STEVE NJUGUNA
Manchester United managed to muster a 2-1 away win at Crystal Palace on Saturday to take them up to 68 points and closer to their goal of qualifying for the Champions League. The pre-game atmosphere was tense as Manchester United had lost three games in a row prior to the match. Crystal Palace were certainly no easy opposition and their physical and quick paced game caught Manchester United out in the opening stages of the first half. Former United player Wilfred Zaha terrorized his former teammates with his quick movements.
It was about to get worse as Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney seemed to be carrying a knock and was considerably less efficient than usual. However, it was United who broke the deadlock after Juan Mata converted a penalty at the end of the first half after Crystal palace conceded a handball offense in their penalty area. However, after the halftime interval Crystal Palace substitute equalized from a sublime free kick from the edge of the box. Crystal Palace threatened more but it was Manchester United who would reap dividends with a winning goal eleven minutes from time with a Marouane Fellaini header.
Elsewhere Champions Chelsea dashed Liverpool’s Champions League hopes after holding them to a 1-1 draw on Sunday at Stamford Bridge. The game started at a high pace with both teams attacking though Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho took that opportunity to give his second string players some much needed game time with the likes of Loic Remy, Reuben Loftus-Cheek and John Obi Mikel who usually play fringe roles starting the game. Chelsea went ahead courtesy of a headed goal from their Captain John Terry in the 23rd minute after a Chelsea corner. Liverpool struggled to get back in the game but eventually their captain Steven Gerrard replicated what his counterpart had done in the 44th minute when he also headed in from a corner. The second half was a real soccer treat for the fans as both teams struggled to prove their dominance but nobody was able to score the decisive winner. The result leaves Liverpool in 5th place with 62 points, 6 adrift of Manchester United at 4th place on the table while Chelsea remained top with 84 points.