Crystal Palace dramatically halted Manchester United’s title momentum on Wednesday ahead of its visit to Premier League leader Arsenal at the weekend.
Leading Palace 1-0 after 90 minutes at Selhurst Park, United looked set to rack up a 10th straight win in all competitions and move up to second in the table, just six points off the top.
Michael Olise, however, completely changed the mood of the night by scoring a free kick in the first minute of stoppage time to earn Palace a 1-1 draw.
“We were 1-0 up. In the second half we had a lot of space to kill them and go for the second. I never saw we really went for the second goal,” United manager Erik ten Hag said. “It’s difficult to say (why). I have to criticize my team. Go for the second.”
Ten Hag’s frustration was evident after a result that changes the narrative going into the game against Arsenal.
Now, instead of being able to cut the Londoners’ lead to three points, defeat would leave United 11 points adrift having played a game more.
Ten Hag has so far talked down United’s unlikely title challenge, but the improvement in his team has been evident on the back of nine straight wins before Palace, including a 2-1 victory against second-place Manchester City last weekend.
United remains the only team to have beaten Arsenal in the league this season and a repeat performance at the Emirates Stadium would have been a major statement of intent.
It still could be, but the draw with Palace will feel like a missed opportunity after Bruno Fernandes had opened the scoring in the 43rd minute.
United moved up from fourth to third in the league, level on points with Manchester City.
While Ten Hag and his United players were left frustrated, Leeds can look forward to an FA Cup fourth-round match with Boreham Wood or Accrington Stanley after a 5-2 rout of Cardiff in their third-round replay.