Last word today goes to Patrick Finch ...
"Allow me to explain myself," he writes. "Moral outrage about rivals seems to be the currency of football supporters these days. The reality is, they're businesses and have no more moral superiority over each other than any other company. But the comment I was reacting to read to me like 'Ashley Young is a disgrace to Manchester United and should not be allowed to appear for the club. He manifests the same behaviour is the same as arguably Liverpool's greatest player.' The England thing was nonsense. I don't think that Gerrard, Young or Owen get special dispensation from the media about diving in club football because they represent England...apart from when they are representing England."
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeep! It's all over - David Moyes has finally won a match as a manager at Old Trafford. His side's performance was good in spots, but there's a lot of room for improvement. Crystal Palace have every right to feel aggrieved, having held out for 44 minutes before going a goal and a man down thanks to some dubious refereeing. They battled bravely in the second half, before being KOed by a marvellous Wayne Rooney free-kick with 10 minutes to go. Their supporters have every reason to be proud of their team's performance today.
90+5 min: Javier Hernandez sprints down the inside right channel with the ball at his feet and squares it for Wayne Rooney. Danny Gabbidon slides in to intercept before the ball rolls Rooney's way. Good defending and it's the last act of this match.
90+4 min: Patrice Evra picks up a knock, but it doesn't look too serious. He receives treatment and play resumes, whereupon Wayne Rooney is penalised for offside.
90+2 min: Crystal Palace win a corner, which Jason Puncheon swings in from the right. It's half-cleared and drops for Damien Delaney, who hooks the ball over the bar.
89 min: With Palace two goals and a man down, it's understandable that Manchester United are running amok, with Januzaj looking particularly impressive since coming on for Ashley Young. He seems a very bright footballer with a good eye for a pass. I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of him this season. There'll be four minutes of added time.
85 min: With the 10 men of Crystal Palace looking increasingly weary, Adnan Januzaj goes galloping down the left wing and plays a nicely weighted ball inside for Wayne Rooney to chase. Rooney cuts inside, advances on goal and from a narrow angle, attempts ... I'm not sure what he attempted, really. A cross?? A shot? Only Wayne knows. Whatever it was, it went horribly wrong.
84 min: "He practices that all day after training - he gets a bag of balls and works on his whips and dips," says Michael Owen of Wayne Rooney's free-kick. Owen is co-commentating for BT Sport, I hasten to add - not sitting beside me waffling in my ear.
GOAL! Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace (Rooney 81) A beauty from Rooney. Manchester United had a free-kick a few yards outside the Crystal Palace penalty area, well left of centre. Rooney stepped up and whipped the ball over the wall and into the bottom left-hand corner. Speroni got a hand to it, but not one strong enough to keep the ball out.
79 min: Has football got this tribal? Is using Steven Gerrard as a quite obvious example of English divers being given an easy ride by referees and or the media really "backhanded Liverpool baiting"? Even in a diatribe about Ashley Young from a Manchester United fan?
77 min: Manchester United substitution: Robin van Persie off, Javier Hernandez on. Crystal Palace substitution from a few minutes ago: Jimmy Kebe on, Marouane Chamakh off.
73 min: The ball's played to Rooney near the Crystal Palace penalty spot, but he gets it caught under his feet and is unable to dig it out and make room for a shot. He eventually tries to play it short to Fellaini, but the ball cannons off a defender and rolls back into his path, whereupon he tries to blast it goalwards. Damien Delaney intercepts, the ball ricochets off - I think - Fabio and goes out for a goal kick.
72 min: "Re: Ben Vallance`s backhanded Liverpool baiting," writes Patrick Finch, who seems to be going out of his way to be offended, assuming he's a Liverpool fan. "Surely United`s persistent hectoring of referees has damaged their reputation more than diving incidents (which is indeed present at many clubs, Liverpool included)?"
69 min: Robin van PErsie tries his luck, shooting for the top left-hand corner from distance with a rising left-footed curler. It's a fine effort, but drifts a might too high.
68 min: Manchester United substitution: that Fellaini effort was set up by Adnan Januzaj, the young Belgian winger who had replaced Ashley Young a few moments previously.
67 min: Marouane Fellaini goes close to bagging himself a spectacular debut goal. The ball loops his way outside the Crystal Palace box, where he chests it down, lets it bounce and sends a rasping drive goalwards. The ball bounces just in front of Julian Speroni, who manages to scramble it clear.
65 min: Despite being down to 10 men, Crystal Palace are doing very well here. Although I don't have the stats to prove it, they seem to be enjoying a lot more possession since going a man and a goal down than they were when they had their full complement of players. This Manchester United performance is not going to do much to silence David Moyes's detractors. They've been very poor, the occasional flash of brilliance aside.
63 min: Marouane Fellaini's first touch as a Manchester United player is a short sideways pass to Wayne Rooney, inside the Manchester United half, just outside the centre-circle. Crystal Palace substitution: Cameron Jerome on, Dwight Gale off.
62 min: Anderson tries to advance down the inside right channel and quite literally trips over his own feet. This ignominy is his last action of the game as he's immediately replaced. Manchester United substitution: Anderson off, Marouane Fellaini on.
60 min: Robin van Persie shoots high over the cross-bar after being picked out by Patrice Evra, who's having a great game today. Leighton who?
59 min: Crystal Palace subsittution: Jose Campana off, Algerian international Adlene Guedioura on for his Crystal Palace debut, having signed from Nottingham Forest on transfer deadline day.
56 min: On the right touchline, Anotnio Valencia picks up a long cross-field pass from deep and squares the ball for Wayne Rooney, who scuffs his shot. The ball breaks for Robin van Persie, but not kindly and Palace clear before he's able to get the ball out from under his feet and unleash a shot.
56 min: Ashley Young tries a shot from distance, but his effort curls wide of the far post, much to the relief of Julian Speroni in the Crystal Palace goal.
54 min: Marouane Chamakh gets booked for a late challenge on Nemanja Vidic. It's similar to a challenge Ashley Young perpetrated a couple of minutes earlier. He escaped a booking, presumably because he's already on a yellow card. It hardly seems fair, but such is life.
54 min: Dwight Gayle's been looking lively thus far in the second half, making darting runs and nipping in behind defenders, giving them plenty to think about. He tries a shot from distance, but drags it wide of the post.
50 min: "I've supported United for over thirty years and have never known us have such an embarrassing out-and-out cheat in the side as Ashley Young," writes Ben Vallance. "He disgusts me and I dearly wish the club would wake up to how damaging it is to its reputation to employ someone with that level of amorality and they should then try and do the right thing by moving him on ASAP. It might help if the media shone a spotlight on players like him, but he's currently benefiting (like Gerrard before him) on the England player immunity from criticism of diving."
48 min: Ashley Young is put through on goal with a beautifully weighted pass into the penalty area from Anderson. Young speeds between two defenders and shoots straight at Speroni from about 10 yards. The goalkeeper beats the ball clear and out of danger - good save.
Having seen it a few times: I don't think Young did dive, there was contact when Dikgacoi put his arm across the winger's shoulders, but it did happen outside the box. Crystal Palace look to have been hard done by, but it was an honest mistake by the referee who had a dreadfully difficult call to make.
Second half is go: THere's been a lot of talk about the penalty, with the main bone of contention being over whether or not Ashley Young dive and whether or not the contact was outside the box. Jon Moss looked to his linesman for assistance and his linesman told him he didn't know whether the contact was inside or outside the box. Moss then decided to give the penalty on the evidence of his own eyes, which may well have deceived him.
Stat attack: "For those who don’t rate Carrick as a defensive midfielder: He’s had 12 interceptions in the first half, simply by reading the play. He only went to ground in one of those interceptions." That from Christian Busæt, who's been busy fiddling with his abacus for the past hour.
For those asking: The reason Danny Welbeck isn't in the United squad today is that he was found to have fluid on his knee upon his return from international duty with England. Shinji Kagawa was found to be suffering from a mild dose of the flu upon his return from international duty with Japan.
Half-time: Manchester United go in at the break a goal to the good, courtesy of a penalty that replays suggest may have been a little harsh. It looked six of one and half-a-dozen of the other to me as the two players came together and Young made the most of it again, but I can see why the referee awarded it. Once he'd awarded the penalty, he had to send off the defender for preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity.
45+2 min: Palace defender Dean Moxey gets booked and concedes a free-kick about 40 yards ffrom his own goal. Wayne Rooney sends the ball into the mixer and Marouane Chamakh heads clear again.
GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Crystal Palace (Robin van Persie 45) Robin van Persie sends Julian Speroni the wrong way and slots the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. It's difficult to see 10-man Crystal Palace coming back from that.
44 min: PENALTY FOR MANCHESTER UNITED. Ashley Young goes down again after getting a shove in the back from Kagisho Dikgacoi while clean through on goal. The defender gets a red card and United have a penalty.
42 min: Rio Ferdinand misjudges the flight of a long cross-field pass and allows Dwight Gale to dart in behind him. The Palace striker's first touch is sublime as he bears down on goal from a narrow angle with the goalkeeper rushing towards him. Gayle attempts to dink the ball past De Gea and inside the far post, but it rolls inches wide. Palace could and probably should have scored there.
39 min: After a crunching Anderson tackle and a lovely bit of skill from Michael Carrick to take out two players in the middle of the pitch, the ball finds its way to Wayne Rooney on the edge of the final third. He floats the ball into the penalty area, where Robin van Persie chests it down and volleys it against the cross-bar. It's a shame that didn't go in, because it would have been a marvellous team goal.
37 min: United win a free-kick just inside the Crystal Palace half and the ball is worked forward towards Ashley Young on the left flank. Adrian Mariappa dispossesses the winger and gives the ball to Jason Puncheon, who quickly hands possession back to Patrice Evra. He slings a cross into the penalty area, which Julian Speroni gathers. United are looking very toothless this afternoon.
35 min: Another good run down the inside left channel by Patrice Evra, who squares the ball hard and low. At the near post, Robin van Persie gets a flick on the ball and tries to divert it past Speroni. Wide.
33 min: A little over half an hour gone and the match remains scoreless. Manchester United have been the better side, but have only had one decent effort on goal - a long-range effort from Michael Carrick. Crystal Palace are doing well here, swarming around United's players like angry bees as they attempt to get forward.
30 min: Wayne Rooney charges into the final third with the ball at his feet, then plays it wide to Robin van Persie on the left flank. The Dutch striker pulls the ball back for Anderson to shoot from the edge of the area, but the Brazilian gets the ball caught under his feet, dithers a bit too long and allows Crystal Palace to clear.
29 min: Tries to beat Julian Speroni in the Palace goal with a speculative diagonal long-range effort from about 30 yards. The goalkeeper blocks the shot at his near post.
28 min: Another sortie into the United half by Palace - Campana sends the ball towards Marouane Chamakh, who attempts to pick out Dwight Gayle in the penalty area. Manchester United clear.
26 min: Crystal Palace get the ball out of their own half after Dikgacoi clatters into the back of Evra, who was trying to retrieve a loose pass from Rio Ferdinand.
22 min: Manchester United win a throw-in deep in Crystal Palace territory. They've been utterly dominant thus far, but haven't actually come close to scoring yet. Mind you, Young and Evra may well have passed up the two best chances of the game so far by trying to win penalties instead of continuing their charges on goal.
18 min: Ashley Young gets booked for simulation after trying to gull referee Jon Moss into giving him a penalty. He sprinted into the penalty area, deliberately hooked his foot around Kagisho Dikgacoi's leg and theatrically went to ground. That's an excellent decision from the ref and a lesson for all of us on just how difficult their jobs can be when players are putting so much effort into trying to trying deceive them.
16 min: Damien Delaney fouls Wayne Rooney to concede a free-kick about 40 yards from his own goal. Palace form a two-man wall and the rest of the players congregate in and around the penalty area. Robin van Persie sends a diagonal delivery towards the far post, in an attmpt to pick out Rooney, but Mile Jedinak heads the ball wide. There's no corner, as Wayne Rooney is penalised for being offside.
13 min: Ashley Young attempts to cross the ball into the Palace penalty area from the left and it strikes Mariappa's arm and goes out for a corner. Young appeals for a penalty, but doesn't get one. It would have been harsh on Mariappa - he was too close to the ball to get his arm out of the way.
12 min: United attack down the right flank again, with Antonio Valencia jinking his way forward before playing the ball into the penalty area for Robin van Persie. He tries to wriggle his way goalwards, but Damien Delaney positions himself well and shepherds the Dutchman out of play.
11 min: Manchester United win another corner, which Van Persie floats towards Nemanja Vidic again. Not for the first time, Marouane Chamakh clears.
9 min: Patrice Evra gallops through the Palace penalty area, bumps into Mile Jedink and goes to ground. There's a huge shout for a penalty, but none is forthcoming. It's the correct decision - Jedinak didn't foul him.
8 min: On the touchline, Ian Holloway's No2 Keith Millen shouts instructions at his players, possibly at the behest of Holloway, who is communicating with him from the stands through an ear-piece. Holloway is sitting beside his chairman Steve Parish in the stand - rumours abound that the pair don't get on any more, although they both strenuously deny the stories.
6 min: "Have people seriously been criticising Rooney for playing today having not played for England because of that cut on his head?" asks David Wall. "What's the conspiracy story for that one, that he hired a tv make-up artist to create some ruse so that he could skive international duty? Do they think he pulled the same trick to fool Moyes to get out of going to Anfield just before the international break as well?"
Have people been criticising him? I don't know.
5 min: Dwight Gayle fouls Nemanja Vidic and John Moss awards the Manchester United defender a free-0kick just to the left of his own penalty area. David De Gea hoofs the ball down the field.
3 min: Palace fail to clear the ball properly and it drops kindly for Michael Carrick., The United midfielder unleashes a venomous shot from distance which Julian Speroni fails to catch and has to parry clear. Good effort!
2 min: Robin van Persie takes the corner and plays the ball into the penalty area, aiming for Vidic. Marouane Chamakh heads clear.
1 min: It's game on, with Crystal Palace lining up in a 4-3-3, while United play a 4-4-2 formation. Fabio plays the ball down the right flank for Antonio Valencia to chase and the winger's attempted cross is put out for a corner.
The teams are out ...
Referee Jon Moss picks the ball off the plinth (yes, the plinth) as the teams traipse out behind them. Manchester United are wearing their customary home strip, while Palace's players wear navy blue shirts with a red and light blue diagonal stripe, navy blue shorts and light blue socks.
Interesting headwear alert ...
Wayne Rooney is wearing a thick black headband to protect the scar on his head. It resembles a kind of sawn-off version of the skull-cap Petr Cech wears while playing in goal for Chelsea.
Prediction time ...
Some idiot on the Guardian's Football Weekly ... Extra podcast predicted that Crystal Palace would draw or win this match and while, with the benefit of hindsight, that forecast might seem a little insane, I'm not going to change my mind now. I was at their last game against Sunderland, which they won 3-1 and was quite impressed with Ian Holloway's side, even if they were gifted the three points courtesy of some appalling defending.
Ian Holloway speaks ...
"Well, it's just another team, innit? Last year they were champions, but this year they're not - they've got to earn that right. I'm very proud of my players and this is a great place to come. I'll learn a lot about myself and my team today. I was really excited by the energy of the groupo yesterday ... if we can make them play backwards and square and nick a goal on the counter, who knows what might happen?"
The teams ...
Man Utd: De Gea, Fabio Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Anderson, Valencia, Rooney, Young, van Persie.
Subs: Evans, Hernandez, Cleverley, Zaha, Fellaini, Amos, Januzaj.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Campana, Puncheon, Chamakh, Gayle.
Subs: Phillips, O'Keefe, Kebe, Alexander, Jerome, Bannan, Guedioura.
Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)
Good afternoon everybody
Wayne Rooney starts and Marouane Fellaini does not - that's the big news from Old Trafford this afternoon, ahead of the first Premier League fixture played since the transfer window inched shut and most of the players in the Premier League went gadding about on international duty for a fortnight. Rooney will be showcasing the souvenir scar from that nasty cut he sustained in a collision with Phil Jones, while Fellaini could have an entire roadmap of scars on his bonce and we wouldn't know.
Jamaican international Adrian Mariappa makes his Crystal Palace debut this afternoon, having signed for the Eagles on transfer deadline day. He's the only one of five players to sign on deadline day to be selected for Ian Holloway's starting eleven.
Midfielder Jonny Williams and the new signing Jack Hunt are both conspicuous by their absence from the Palace squad and the pair face months on the sidelines. Williams injured ankle ligaments playing for Wales against Macedonia last week, while Hunt broke his ankle in training. New signings Jimmy Kebe, Cameron Jerome, Adlene Guedioura and Barry Bannan all start on the bench for Palace, while manager Ian Holloway must sit in the stands as he serves the first half of a two-match touchline ban for ill-advised comments he made about referee Mark Clattenburg in the aftermath of Palace’s opening-day defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.