Wallowing in the middle of the Premier League table, Manchester United came up with a desperately needed 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace Saturday at Old Trafford.
Lous van Gaal’s side hadn’t tasted victory in their previous three league matches, but broke through thanks to midfielder Juan Mata’s stunner in the 67th minute.
The Red Devils peppered Palace’s defense with 23 total shots, five of which were on target, and it was Mata’s attempt four minutes after entering the match that provided some much needed relief.
United started the day in 10th place on the table, and is now sixth behind West Ham. Palace could have used the three points even more, and remains in 17th place.
Mata recorded his third goal of the term off Angel Di Maria’s assist in the 67th. Marouane Fellaini wrangled the ball deep in Palace’s midfield and found Mata, who then worked the give-and-go with Di Maria, before a long-range, left-footed strike past keeper Julian Speroni.
It appeared as if Speroni deflected the ball into the goal while trying to make a save, but it was just one of a barrage of shots that his back line allowed. He ended the day with four saves, and also faced 11 United corner kicks.