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David Moyes earned his first win at Old Trafford as Manchester United eased to a 2-0 Barclays Premier League success over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The hosts went into the game on the back of a disappointing 1-0 loss to rivals Liverpool prior to the international break, with Moyes yet to taste victory at Old Trafford in his entire management career.
Moyes moved to improve his squad on the final day of the transfer window, bringing in Marouane Fellaini from former club Everton. The Belgian did not feature until midway through the second half, but his presence proved to be little more than a footnote in a comfortable win for Man United, striker Robin van Persie scoring from the spot before the returning Wayne Rooney found the net with a free-kick.
Rooney was named in the starting XI, the forward sporting protective headgear after sustaining a head wound that kept him out of England duty. Fellaini was left on the bench, while Fabio, Antonio Valencia and Anderson all came into the side.
Palace made just one change to the team that beat Sunderland 3-1 prior to the international break, deadline-day signing Adrian Mariappa replacing Joel Ward.
The Barclays Premier League champions made the better start to proceedings and had the first chance to take the lead when Michael Carrick stung the palms of Julian Speroni with a long-range drive. However, United were unable to exert any real dominance, with Ian Holloway's men competing well in the middle of the park.
Predictably it was Van Persie who was on the end of the first clear opportunity of the game, but the Dutchman shot wide at the near post after good work from Patrice Evra.
The Netherlands international came close to atoning for that miss seven minutes before the break, the former Arsenal man crashing a vicious volley against the crossbar after he had shown superb control to collect a wonderful long ball from Rooney.
Yet it was Palace who could have headed into the break with the lead, Marcus Gayle shooting wide of the far post after displaying a great burst of pace to get past Rio Ferdinand down the left-hand side.
Holloway's men suffered a devastating blow right before half-time, though, as Kagisho Dikgacoi gave away a penalty for bringing down Ashley Young just inside the area. The South African was dismissed by referee Jon Moss in the immediate aftermath, before Van Persie tucked the resulting spot-kick into the bottom corner to give Moyes' side the lead.
United continued in the ascendancy early in the second half, Speroni producing a fine reaction save to deny Young after he had been put through by Anderson. Young was at the heart of every United attack and he went close again 10 minutes into the second period, curling a shot wide from the edge of the area.
Palace offered little as an attacking force in the second period, and United were unfortunate not to add a second, Van Persie flashing a curling effort inches over the bar, before Speroni displayed yet more heroics to prevent Rooney from finding the net.
The London club's fading resistance was broken for a second time 10 minutes before the final whistle, Rooney marking his return with a superb free-kick that found the bottom corner to end any slim hopes Palace had of gaining a point.
Manchester United manager David Moyes: "I think we played well. I was pleased. We could have done with scoring more goals, but I thought we were dominant from the first whistle. I don't think the result was ever in doubt."
"[Wayne Rooney's headgear] looks like a sumo wrestler's headband. He tired a bit in the second half but I thought he was great in everything that he did. I wanted him to get 90 minutes under his belt which is important with the busy week we have coming up."
Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway: "My opinion doesn't count because the result is the result and I have just got to deal with it. "He [the referee] has a difficult job to do though, especially at Old Trafford which such a noisy partisan crowd. I am very disappointed we lost the game but not in the manner in which we lost it or the way my players behaved and conducted themselves. I am really proud of them. For long periods I was absolutely delighted."
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|28 Sep 2013||v West Brom (H)|
|05 Oct 2013||v Sunderland (A)|
|19 Oct 2013||v Southampton (H)|
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|02 Nov 2013||v Fulham (A)|