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2015-16 Barclays Premier League

Full-time: West Ham 3-1 Watford

Full-time: Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace

  • Manchester United ease to their sixth consecutive home victory with a confident performance against their fellow FA Cup semi-finalists at Old Trafford
  • Damien Delaney gave the hosts an early lead courtesy of a comical own goal
  • Matteo Darmian doubled the advantage 10 minutes after half-time, volleying in off the post for his first goal in English football
  • Louis van Gaal's side trail fourth-place Arsenal by a point before the Gunners' clash with West Brom on Thursday
  • At Upton Park, Mark Noble notched a brace of penalties as West Ham beat Watford to keep their own top-four hopes alive
  • Andy Carroll boosted his faint Euro 2016 hopes with a sixth goal in as many games, while Troy Deeney missed from the spot
  • Sebastian Prodl netted a consolation for the visitors, who will be without Nordin Amrabat at Wembley after the Moroccan was sent off for two bookable offences
Matteo Darmian
Matteo Darmian scored his first goal for Manchester United with a wonderful second-half volley Getty

That is all for this live text, so thanks for joining us. Stay tuned to IBTimes UK for all the latest reaction from tonight's games and check back tomorrow as my colleague Josh Evans brings you that meeting between Arsenal and West Brom at the Emirates.


Victory was simply never in doubt for United tonight and they close the gap on Arsenal in fourth to just a solitary point ahead of the Gunners' clash with West Brom on Thursday. Next up is out of sorts Everton at Wembley. The Toffees have hardly enjoyed the best preparation for that match after being thrashed 4-0 by Liverpool in the 226th Merseyside derby at Anfield.

As for Palace, they stay 16th and nine points clear of relegation danger. Pardew's troops clearly already had one eye fixed on Sunday's FA Cup semi-final meeting with Watford.


Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace

Herrera lashes over the crossbar after Valencia's searching cross is knocked down by Fellaini. His blushes are spared as the referee blows for a foul on the towering Belgian.

Three additional minutes to be played. Is there really any point?

Smalling has been hobbling a little bit here, but looks to have shaken off a little knock. Darmian winds up another long-range effort, but this time the Italian drags his shot wide of the post.

Back at Old Trafford, Fellaini has come on for Rooney and Memphis just curled an effort narrowly wide. Smalling takes the captain's armband for the final few minutes.

This game has merely become a glorified training exercise for United.


West Ham 3-1 Watford

A miserable night for Quique Sanchez Flores is compounded as Amrabat receives a second booking for bringing down Winston Reid. He will now miss Sunday's semi-final against Palace.

Red card: Nordin Amrabat (Watford)

Watford's penalty saga continues. This time they get one of their own as Angelo Ogbonna fouls Prodl, but Troy Deeney's low effort is saved by Adrian.

Pardew makes his final change, withdrawing Adebayor and throwing on Wickham. It's been a difficult night for the Togolese striker, who has had very little service to work with and has been pitted against a vastly improved centre-back in Smalling.

Mariappa takes matters into his own hands to ignore Speroni and deflect a dangerous cross behind. Smalling fails to make a proper connection with Martial's pass and Van Gaal replaces Lingard with Herrera.

Palace have offered virtually no attacking threat in this second half and once again Smalling eases possession away from Adebayor.

A hearty round of applause for Rashford, who makes way for Memphis. Pardew sends on McArthur in place of Cabaye.

Both of those substitutions no doubt made with this weekend's FA Cup semi-finals in mind.

How has that not gone in? Rashford is sent through by a good low pass from Valencia. He leaves Mariappa on his backside before unselfishly squaring for Lingard, whose shot is blocked by Speroni. Rashford then has a go himself from the rebound but the goalkeeper is there again to save.

Darmian has been booked for a push in the back on Zaha.

A first change of the evening for Pardew sees Lee replaced by Jordan Mutch.

De Gea looked to be moving rather gingerly following that earlier brush with Valencia. He seems OK to continue, however.

Looking for a third goal, Martial balloons high over the crossbar after impressive play from Lingard and Rooney.

Darmian has endured something of a difficult first season in English football since his move from Torino in July 2015. He deserves some acclaim here, though, shrugging off the weak challenge of Sako to volley in off the post after Delaney had looked to clear Mata's corner.

A stunning first goal for the club.

Matteo Darmian

Goal: Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace (Matteo Darmian)

A slight mix-up between David de Gea and Valencia almost opens the door for Lee to run through on goal.

At the other end, Rashford goes down in a heap following a strong challenge from Mariappa and Mata's shot at the near post is deflected wide by Speroni.

A lifeline for Watford in east London as Austrian international Prodl beats Adrian with a fine left-footed volley.

Goal: West Ham 3-1 Watford (Sebastian Prodl)

The second half is underway at Old Trafford. United are immediately back on the front foot and almost notch another goal as Souare blocks a shot from Rooney, who was set up by Martial.

For the second match in a row, Watford concede two penalties as Michail Antonio is brought down by Almen Abdi. While Gomes saved both of Saido Berahino's efforts at West Brom on Saturday, he has proved no match for Noble. 3-0.

Goal: West Ham 3-0 Watford (Mark Noble)

As you might have expected, this is hardly a riveting clash and has resembled more of a training match at times. Despite largely dominating proceedings, United still only lead 1-0 courtesy of Delaney's almost farcical early own goal.

Speroni has been forced into a couple of good saves, but a lack of cutting edge on their own patch has been evident once again. It goes some way to explaining the abundance of empty seats dotted around Old Trafford.

Old Trafford


Manchester United 1-0 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace waste a rare corner and have Yohan Cabaye to thank for diverting an enticing long pass away from the run of Rashford. That should be it for the first half.

One minute of added time signalled at Old Trafford.

Papa Souare is very fortunate not to be taking an early bath. He goes in with both feet against Mata, but Mason decides such a reckless challenge is only worthy of a yellow card.

Adebayor is a picture of frustration in the middle as Lee sprints down the right channel but delays his cross and allows Chris Smalling to block.

Speroni has a tendency to border on the Hollywood at times, but that is a splendid save to push Martial's powerful left-footed drive wide. United are ramping up the pressure now.

Speroni is called into action twice in quick succession to deny both Rashford and Lingard. Some nifty passing football on display from United there.

Rashford sets off down the left flank and looks to commit Kelly and Mariappa before one failed trick allows the latter to safely shepherd him out of play. Rooney then looks to pick out the run of Valencia with an ambitious cross field pass that goes behind.

The atmosphere at Old Trafford resembles a pre-season friendly.


West Ham 2-0 Watford

Another dicey moment for Delaney as he deflects Martial's cross towards Rashford just wide of Speroni's right-hand post. Referee Lee Mason then bizarrely gives a goal kick.

West Ham's top-four hopes look set to remain intact as they double their lead on the stroke of half-time. The returning Diafra Sakho is felled by Jose Holebas and Mark Noble steps up to send Heurelho Gomes the wrong way from the spot.

Goal: West Ham 2-0 Watford (Mark Noble)

Valencia shows great poise to drift inside the gap between Mile Jedinak and Sako, but dawdles when supplying the cross and is tackled. United have been very slow to get bodies in the box so far this evening.

Mariappa gives away a cheap free-kick in a dangerous position with a clumsy foul on Mata, but makes up for it by heading away the subsequent ball in.

A Palace attack led by Zaha breaks down and United counter very quickly indeed. Martial provides a short pass for Rooney, who winds up a low shot that is comfortably saved by Speroni.

Rashford has shown some lovely touches during the early stages of this match. His latest clever pass finds Martial, who curls a shot that is beaten away rather dramatically by Speroni.

After a dangerous cross from Antonio Valencia fails to find a red shirt, Rashford tees up Lingard with a gorgeous backheel. Instead of shooting, however, he tries to find Martial and the chance goes begging.

Martial builds up ahead of steam and goes beyond Kelly before speedily dispossessing Mariappa. He makes it to the byline and looks to provide the centre before losing his footing. There was little support in the penalty area anyway, in truth.

A sign of dissent against Van Gaal's rather tedious playing style, perhaps?


It should be noted that there are plenty of empty red seats visible around Old Trafford tonight. This is not a fixture that has whet the locals' appetite.

Zaha, eager to prove a point against his former club, takes on Darmian down the Palace right before sending in a deep cross. Lee heads it down to Adebayor, who miscues his volley well wide.

United are doing all the early running and Kelly is deservedly cautioned for pulling back Martial. Juan Mata's scooped pass towards Rooney is headed clear and the Spaniard then forces a low save from Speroni.

A disastrous start for Palace as they go behind within minutes courtesy of an almost comical own goal. Delaney is the guilty party, turning past Speroni from eight yards out despite there appearing to be little danger posed by Darmian's low cross.

Better tonight than at Wembley, I suppose.

Julian Speroni

Goal: Manchester United 1-0 Crystal Palace (Damien Delaney OG)

The Hammers draw first blood at Upton Park. Carroll is the man who has broken the deadlock, volleying home Dimitri Payet's chipped pass for his sixth goal in just six games.

Does a Euro 2016 call-up beckon after all? We remain unconvinced.

Goal: West Ham 1-0 Watford (Andy Carroll)

We are underway. United are kicking from left to right in their usual home strips, while Palace line up all in white.

Five minutes remaining until kick-off at Old Trafford.

To say that Crystal Palace do not boast the best record against Manchester United in top-flight competition would be putting it mildly. As per the BBC, they have never beaten tonight's opponents in the Premier League and have lost on their last eight visits.

Old Trafford

As if that wasn't quite bad enough, Palace have also failed to score in 10 of their last 13 games against United - including five out of six at Old Trafford, where they have not kept a clean sheet for 46 years.

That all sounds rather ominous, particularly when you consider that the hosts have won each of their last five home games and rarely concede on their own turf. Palace's run of eight away matches without a win hardly promises much either.


Opposite number Pardew, meanwhile, believes United have steadily improved as a difficult season has worn on:

Defensively we've been very, very sound and we need to take that to Man United, because there's just a bit more energy in that side than there was in the first half of the season. They've picked up and we need to be ready for them.

I think they've steadily improved during the season. I think the manager there comes in for a tough agenda from the media - it always is at Man United - and every time he's tried to face it with honesty, you have to admire him for that.

I can only look at him from a professional point of view and I think his team's improved. As a manager that's what you're looking for: an improvement in your team. It's going to be two teams who have got a good feeling about themselves.


Both sets of players could be forgiven for letting their minds drift to those cup semi-finals this weekend, although Van Gaal insists that his squad are concentrating fully on the task at hand:

I don't think our players shall do that because they have to focus on this game because we still have to qualify for the Champions League. It is important to beat Crystal Palace and they have the same problem. They are also in the semi-final and maybe they are thinking about that game. But we have to win our game against them.

Here's a quick peek at how West Ham and Watford are both lining up tonight. That tie gets underway at the slightly earlier time of 19.45 BST. There is also the small matter of the 226th Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton, which is being covered by IBTimes UK sport editor Nick Howson.

West Ham: Adrian, Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Lanzini, Payet, Sakho, Carroll

Subs: Randolph, Byram, Tomkins, Collins, Obiang, Moses, Emenike

Watford: Gomes, Paredes, Prodl, Cathcart, Holebas, Suarez, Behrami, Guedioura, Jurado, Abdi, Amrabat

Subs: Pantilimon, Nyom, Britos, Watson, Anya, Berghuis, Deeney

Palace swap first-choice goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey for club stalwart Julian Speroni. In the back four, Martin Kelly is in for Ward and Dann's regular spot alongside Damien Delaney is taken by Adrian Mariappa.

Emmanuel Adebayor

Further forward, Zaha, Chung-Yong Lee, Bakary Sako and Adebayor all start in place of Bolasie, Jason Puncheon, Ledley and Connor Wickham. McArthur comes on to the bench, as do Alex McCarthy, Jordan Mutch, Frazier Campbell and young midfielder Luke Dreher.

Three changes from Van Gaal, who restores Lingard and Martial to his starting XI in place of Marouane Fellaini and Memphis Depay. Matteo Darmian also replaces Marcos Rojo.

Herrera is back among the substitutes as Paddy McNair drops out of the first-team squad altogether. No rest for Rashford in a very attacking line-up.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Kelly, Mariappa, Delaney, Souare, Jedinak, Cabaye, Lee, Zaha, Sako, Adebayor

Subs: McCarthy, Dreher, McArthur, Mutch, Puncheon, Campbell, Wickham

Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Darmian, Lingard, Schneiderlin, Mata, Rooney, Martial, Rashford

Subs: Romero, Fosu-Mensah, Rojo, Young, Fellaini, Herrera, Memphis

Kick-off tonight is at 20.00 BST, so team news should be reaching us within the next couple of minutes. Stay tuned...

Palace were on the backfoot for much of their visit to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, but rode their luck and could have even earned all three points were it not for Wilfried Zaha's failure to pick out ex-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor for a simple late finish.

Pardew will be without several key players tonight, confirming in his pre-match press conference that Scott Dann, Joel Ward, Joe Ledley and goalscorer Bolasie will not play but should be fine to face Watford.

Strikers Dwight Gayle and Marouane Chamakh remain sidelined, although influential midfielder James McArthur is expected to return after missing more than two months due to ankle ligament damage. He will be eager to prove his fitness ahead of that trip to Wembley.

Van Gaal has no new injury worries to contend with here and Ander Herrera is expected to return from a slight knock sustained during last week's FA Cup quarter-final replay triumph at West Ham.

Ander Herrera
Getty Images

Bastian Schweinsteiger remains out with a partial tear of his medial collateral ligament, but Germany manager Joachim Low remains hopeful that he will be fit for Euro 2016. Adnan Januzaj has been struggling with a hamstring problem and did not feature for the U21s last night as they sealed their third title in four years with a last-gasp 3-2 win over Tottenham.

Will Keane also remains sidelined, while Luke Shaw is not yet ready to play as he returns to full fitness following a gruesome double leg fracture. Van Gaal, who rested both Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard against Villa, resisted the temptation to do likewise with Rashford and the 18-year-old is expected to start again tonight after being given a couple of days off training.

After relegating Aston Villa on Saturday during a dour match that was settled by a seventh senior goal from young Marcus Rashford, Manchester United return to Old Trafford tonight for a Premier League meeting with fellow FA Cup semi-finalists Crystal Palace.

Lying sixth before kick-off and four points behind rivals City in fourth, the hosts surely must win if they are to keep their bid for Champions League qualification on track. Louis van Gaal will also keep a close eye on events at Upton Park, where fifth-place West Ham are in action against Watford.

Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

For Palace, this game feels like something of a non-event that is to be tolerated rather than enthusiastically embraced. A late equaliser from Yannick Bolasie secured an unlikely late point at Arsenal last weekend, meaning that Alan Pardew's men are now just one adrift of the magical 40 mark and nine above the relegation zone. Any lingering fears of the drop have now been effectively banished and the Eagles can be forgiven for having one eye firmly fixed on their forthcoming trip to Wembley.