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Manchester United talking points after big win over Crystal Palace
Last Updated: 01/10/17 12:00am
Manchester United swept aside a poor Crystal Palace 4-0 on Saturday - and here we round up the talking points from the performance.
Marouane Fellaini was the two-goal hero for the hosts, while Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku were also on target as United cruised to a sixth win from seven Premier League games.
The only moment of concern was when Chris Smalling appeared to tumble Jeff Schlupp in the box, but there was no penalty given and United go into the international break with their tails up…
Fellaini delivers again
Fellaini has often been a target for criticism at Manchester United, but the Belgian's effectiveness has made him a favourite of the pragmatic Mourinho. The midfielder has rewarded the faith shown in him with four goals in his past four home games, and scored his first double for United on Saturday.
Fellaini on form
Fellaini has equalled his goal tally for last season in all competitions by scoring four times
Two close-range finishes from two fine crosses underlined the importance of Fellaini's aerial threat in the box and he is clearly going to be a significant figure in United's season.
"All credit to Mourinho," said Soccer Saturday pundit Matt Le Tissier. "He somehow manages to get a tune out of a player who many thought his career at Old Trafford was over. He has gone in there, boosted his confidence and he looks a threat now. Fellaini gets himself into forward positions more often and took his goals really well."
Rashford having impact from wide
Mourinho's claim that he could not afford to rest Lukaku until Zlatan Ibrahimovic is fit and available may have come as a blow to Marcus Rashford, who harbours hopes of eventually playing through the middle for Manchester United. But in the meantime, the teenager continues to have an impact from his wide role.
He came up with two assists on Saturday. The England international produced some fine wing play before cutting the ball back for Mata to tuck in the opener and then whipped in a superb free-kick for Fellaini to head home.
It is a sign of his developing all-round game that Rashford has already surpassed the Premier League assist tallies he recorded in the past two seasons.
Rashford the creator - Premier League
|Season||Assists||Minutes per assist|
Lukaku's scoring run goes on
Another game, another goal for Lukaku. The Belgian has had a remarkable start to life at Manchester United, and his tap-in against Crystal Palace takes him to seven goals in his first seven Premier League appearances for the club - a joint club record with Andy Cole.
He really should have found the net earlier, when he fired wide with the goal at his mercy on 71 minutes, but his easy finish with four minutes remaining takes him to 15 goals for club and country from 12 games. The only game he's failed to score in so far this season was against Leicester, when he had a penalty saved.
But it's not just about the goals for Lukaku, as Mourinho stressed after the game. "It's about the way he plays, and how he allows other players who have different qualities to him to shine," said the manager.
Indeed, Lukaku may have had fewer touches than David de Gea in this game, but his influence in the final third is key and he has become an important focal point for this side.
Tough tests coming up
Ahead of kick-off, Mourinho was keen to talk up the quality of the opponents Manchester United have dispatched so far this season but there's no escaping the fact his men are yet to be tested against a fellow title contender.
We won't have to wait long to see whether this United team can match the best, though, with Mourinho's side facing Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea in their next five Premier League fixtures after the international break.
In truth, we'll learn more about their Premier League hopes in those games than a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace. But they have been impressive in seeing off what's been put in front of them so far - and Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea will be rightly cautious against his United team which has built up early momentum.
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