Another stalemate for Man United; Robbie Henshaw leading the way for Ireland

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Bruno Fernandes looks dejected after Manchester United’s goalless draw with Crystal Palace. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/PA

Bruno Fernandes looks dejected after Manchester United’s goalless draw with Crystal Palace. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/PA

Manchester United played out a third-consecutive stalemate last night, as they were held to a goalless draw by Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looked leggy and short of pace, creativity and drive with chances at a premium throughout in a foggy south London. United are now 14 points adrift of runaway Premier League leaders City ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad. Earlier in the evening Leicester City also slipped up, Kelechi Iheanacho earning the Foxes a point in a 1-1 draw with Burnley at Turf Moor. Elsewhere Aston Villa were beaten 1-0 by basement side Sheffield United at Bramall Lane - Ireland’s David McGoldrick with a well taken winner in the first-half. Tonight Tottenham take on Fulham at Craven Cottage (6pm), Everton travel to West Brom (6pm), and Liverpool welcome Chelsea to Stamford Bridge (8.15pm).

In this morning’s Rugby Statistics column John O’Sullivan has looked at the impressive performances of Robbie Henshaw, who has been arguably Ireland’s standout player during the opening three rounds of the Six Nations. And he believes Henshaw’s midfield partnership with Garry Ringrose can provide the Irish backline with the creativity and stability needed to end the Championship on a high against Scotland and England. He writes: “Prior to the opening game of the tournament against Wales, the last time they started a Test match as a midfield pair was the 2019 World Cup quarter-final defeat to New Zealand. There is evidence that both are adopting a more hands-on role as distributors and decision makers. It will broaden the avenues of attack and reduce the onus on Sexton to provide the creative spark.”

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