Manchester United maintained their challenge for a top four finish with a comfortable win over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
Both teams struggled to keep their minds on Wednesday’s proceedings with Wembley on the horizon but it was the hosts who took an early lead and never looked back from that point on.
Only four minutes had elapsed when Damien Delaney put the ball into his own net, Matteo Darmian doing some good work out wide and it was his low cross that was turned in by Delaney after the defender had stuck out his leg.
Darmian then wrote his name onto the score sheet nine minutes after the break when the Italian defender brilliantly chested down the ball and fired home from the edge of the box to double the lead for the hosts.
Crystal Palace had few chances to shout about and it was the Reds who should have added to the scoreline on multiple occasions.
Anthony Martial almost found the net on 22 minutes but his effort was denied after a great full stretch save from Julian Speroni, a man who was kept busy throughout the night.
Juan Mata almost scored but his close range shot was stopped by the continued efforts of the Palace goalkeeper, who again was called into action ten minutes later to make a double stop, first from Jesse Lingard and then the rebound from Marcus Rashford.
Crystal Palace have won only one league game this calendar year and it certainly showed, while Manchester United are now just a point behind Arsenal in the hunt for Champions League football.