Manchester United 5 v 2 Crystal Palace

Old Trafford, Manchester
18th December 2004

United stormed to their most emphatic league victory to date, with Paul Scholes grabbing the goals, and even with a missed Rooney penalty!
Ronaldo was on holiday so probably watched from his home in Madeira on Sky, and it was good that he can be given a much-needed break without the team messing up once more.

After just five minutes of action, Fletcher was felled in the box in the midst of a goalmouth scramble. The ensuing penalty was missed by Rooney, who put it in Van Nistelrooy's corner only to see the keeper save it with ease. the shot simply wasn't strong enough, which is unusual for Rooney.

However, the miss didn't knock United's heads down, and it was only a matter of minutes before Scholes received the ball in the box, jinked past his man and smashed the ball home.

As usual, United's defence looked a little shaky - both off set plays and in normal play - and it was this fragility that allowed Palace to equalise - Granville spiked in the ball home on 27 minutes.

United reacted by running up the other end and restoring their lead - Smith heading a corner in with relative ease.

Even at that score palace didn't give up, and they managed to equalise a second time just a minute after half-time. Someone (who are ya?!) broke down the wing, and crossed for Kolkka to score a simple goal with neither Carroll nor neville offering any resistance.

Neville made up for it with a great cross for our third - and winning - goal. His cross was met in confusion by the 'keeper and defender simultaneously, with the ball ending up in the net, and the players ending up on the floor, devastated.

Scholes clinched the match with number four, and O'Shea finished the rout in injury time.

Man Utd: Carroll, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Fortune (O'Shea 32), Fletcher, Scholes, Keane, Giggs, Rooney, Smith. Subs Not Used: Howard, Phil Neville, Bellion, Miller.

Goals: Scholes 22, Smith 35, Boyce 48 og, Scholes 49, O'Shea 90.

Crystal Palace: Kiraly, Boyce, Sorondo, Hall, Granville, Routledge (Andrews 81), Riihilahti (Soares 69), Watson, Hughes (Lakis 69), Kolkka, Johnson. Subs Not Used: Speroni, Popovic.

Booked: Granville.

Goals: Granville 27, Kolkka 46.

Att: 67,814

Ref: S Dunn (Gloucestershire).