Published 01/03/2021 at 15:59 GMT | Updated 04/03/2021 at 08:54 GMT
Manchester United stretched their unbeaten away run to 21 league games but lost further ground to leaders Manchester City after a 0-0 stalemate at Crystal Palace.
United started well, but faded in a poor first half at Selhurst Park, with Nemanja Matic’s deflected strike as close as anyone came to scoring.
After the break, Palace had the better of the play, but both sides lacked the required quality to snatch all three points, with United especially disappointing in attack, despite having a wealth of attacking options on the pitch.
A third successive 0-0 in all competitions means United have now won just two of their last eight league games, but somehow have held on to second spot. City, however, are almost out of sight, 14 points clear at the top ahead of the Manchester derby on Sunday.
With David de Gea missing for “personal reasons” Dean Henderson was given his chance in goal for United, but he was a bystander in the first half as United had the better of the openings.
Edinson Cavani had several chances, Matic was denied by a fine stop from Vicente Guaita, while Marcus Rashford fired just wide.
After the break, the energy seemed to have been sapped out of United, who rarely threatened the Palace goal. The fact Luke Shaw was the only real outlet says it all.
Patrick van Aanholt had a glorious chance to snatch victory at the death for Palace but Henderson made a smart block to at least preserve his side a point.
TALKING POINT - No Bruno, no party
United's over reliance on Bruno Fernandes has come back to haunt them in the last few games. If he doesn't perform, United look very blunt indeed in attack.
No goals and no assists for Fernandes in the last three games means no goals for United. It shows what a monumental job Fernandes has done to carry United to this point.
There is so much attacking talent in that United team, but too many players are not playing to their capabilities. Fernandes needs help, as he himself is allowed off days. When he does, United offer next to nothing.
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MAN OF THE MATCH - Cheikhou Kouyate
He wasn't up against much, but Kouyate did not put a foot wrong all match. He is in fine form for Palace.
Man Utd: Henderson 7, Wan-Bissaka 6, Bailly 6, Maguire 5, Shaw 7, Fred 6, Matic 6, Fernandes 5, Greenwood 5, Cavani 4, Rashford 4. Subs: McTominay 6, James 6.
12’ - SAVE! Fernandes with the lay off, Nemanja Matic lines up the strike, it takes a slight deflection, but Vicente Guaita throws himself to his left and makes a brilliant save.
16’ - WIDE! Great pass from Shaw into Rashford, who takes a wonderful first touch, but drags his strike just wide. Should have hit the target there.
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59’ - WIDE! Free-kick is into the wall, it rebounds for Andros Townsend, who volleys just wide.
81’ - OVER! Greenwood makes space for the shot, but fires just over the top. As close as United have come all half.
Manchester United registered their sixth goalless Premier League draw of the season, their joint-most ever in a season, along with 2004-05 and 2016-17.
Crystal Palace have drawn back-to-back Premier League games goalless for the first time since December 2017.
Manchester United have drawn three consecutive matches 0-0 in all competitions for the first time since October 2015 under Louis van Gaal, with the third game in that run a goalless draw at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace.
This was Bruno Fernandes’ 21st away Premier League match, with the Portuguese international yet to taste defeat – only Gabriel Jesus (26) and Jens Lehmann (23) have had a longer unbeaten start in away games in Premier League history.
Crystal Palace had more shots in tonight’s match (8) than they managed in their previous two Premier League games against Brighton and Fulham combined (6).