Manchester United begin their season (much) later than usual, but need a positive win over Crystal Palace to lift the overall gloomy mood around the club. They were unable to do so, only piling on the misery with a horrible 1-3 loss to kick off the campaign in the worst possible manner. It was Palace who started the game the sharper side, getting the lead in the 7th minute when Andros Townsend finished off a clever move with conviction.
United then threw the kitchen sink at the visitors but were just unable to break their resolve. Palace took their chances well and won a penalty in the 72nd minute, the first saved by David de Gea but the retake penalty being scored by Wilfried Zaha, doubling their lead. United pulled one back in the 80th minute when a kind ball fell to debutant Donny van de Beek to score from close range.
Just as a ray of hope sparked up, Zaha then capitalized on an error from Victor Lindelof in the 85th to power in his second goal, making it 1-3! United looked weary, not at all matchfit and lacking serious quality on multiple areas. Palace were way more clinical and pick up their second consecutive win at Old Trafford in as many years! The Red Devils need signings & fresh faces or it could be another embarrassing campaign.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (4.5) –
Solskjaer trusted the likes of Dan James, McTominay to do the job for him but that decision blew in his face. United were frustrating going forward and the same repetiveness in attacking oves clearly hurt them. Ole did well to bring Van de Beek and Greenwood soon in the second half, but maybe both should’ve started. Ole got tactically outwitted today, but it’s clear he needs better players to sustain some sort of a challenge this season. Needs to force some incoming now or face serious troubles in months to come.
David de Gea (6.0) –
Played with fire giving away the ball cheaply outside his area early on and while he was bailed out of that, he couldn’t keep Townsend’s goal away from his net. Forced into action right at the end of the first half, but makes a brilliant save to keep his side in the game. But makes an even bigger save in the 72nd by saving Ayew’s penalty, his first penalty save in years! Only for it to be recalled, as his foot wasn’t on the line! Can’t save it the second time out. Let down by Lindelof today.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (5.5)-
Like he did in July, Fosu-Mensah starts against Palace once again! Looks vulnerable against counter-attacks and is just not good enough going forward. Sends one good cross into the area perfectly for Greenwood at the hour-mark but to see it wasted. Showcased good work rate to move up and down the pitch, but ultimately lacked that spark.
Harry Maguire (5.5) –
The United captain a difficult summer but needs a solid performance to silence his doubters. He wasn’t as error-prone as his fellow centre-back and actually made some great last-ditch tackles to avert disaster. Still looked a bit sluggish with his movement and his distribution wasn’t as clean either.
Victor Lindelof (3.0) –
Sloppy start to the game, allowing Schlupp to get past him too easily to assist the opener. Then concedes a cheap penalty because of a horrible hand-ball in the 70th. Then another mistake botching a simple clearance to allow Zaha to score his second. The ‘Iceman’ was anything but that today and could’ve compromised his starting role with that performance.
Luke Shaw (5.0)–
Back after a short injury spell but should’ve marked Townsend better to deny his goal. He made some good recoveries but lacked that something special which United needed with his work going upfront. His crosses were horrible off-the-mark and didn’t threaten Palace at all. His poor attacking output proves why the club are reportedly looking to sign new left-back.
Scott McTominay (5.0) –
Looks all over the place in the deeper role, often getting outwitted in the crucial midfield areas. Tried an ambitious curler from a wide-angle in the 22nd, but his shot skated wide. Was outmuscled on many occasions and couldn’t assert his dominance like Matic either. Showcased a lot of energy but couldn’t protect his backline like he was tasked to do.
Paul Pogba (6.0) –
The Frenchman doesn’t look as comfortable playing with McTominay as he is with Matic. Had a clever shot from outside the area saved in the 20th. Another skitted attempt in the 50th goes straight at the goalkeeper. Just not creative enough and gave away the ball too many times. Defensively not good enough either and lacked that directness he usually oozes. Subbed for Van de Beek.
Bruno Fernandes (7.0) –
United’s 2019/20 Player of the Year looks a bit scrappy in the first half-hour, only managing one shot straight to Guaita in the 26th. Slowly growing into the game and created some good stuff towards the end of the half. Was creatively United’s best player, creating quite a few nice chances nobody could capitalize on. Worked his socks off, often tracking back for others and tried being a leader – but just unable to do so on this cursed day.
Dan James (4.0) –
A golden opportunity for James to stake his place in the team as he gains a rare league start today. But he’s failing to do anything productive, being extremely one-dimensional on the right. Unable to create anything and frustrating with his overall gameplay. Subbed after the break and probably won’t start games anytime soon anymore.
Anthony Martial (5.0) –
Martial was pretty much isolated in the frontline in the first-half, but using his close control and physicality to link together some nice moves. Couldn’t latch onto any crosses or whipped balls himself and wasn’t able to create anything for himself either with his dribbling and badly lacked penetration on the day. Needs to sharpen his goal-scoring mettle once again.
Marcus Rashford (4.5) –
Rashford looks quite fit and is linking up really well in the final third. Showcased some nice movement but unable to get any shots on goal in the first-half. Dribbled past his man on occasions but just dumbfounded after finding space in the final third. Yet to rediscover his blazing form from before he became injured.
Mason Greenwood (6.0) –
Looks much better than James with his movement. Had a big chance to equalize in the 60th but his poor header went wide. Was isolated after that and some whipped shots were blocked off.
Donny van de Beek (7.0) –
Makes his debut with United losing the game! But his clever movement and wherewithal is troubling Palace. Scores on his debut with a clever finish from close range to pull one back for United in the 80th. Added something different to United’s attack after arriving but he could only do so much.
Odion Ighalo (5.0) –
Tried to use his physicality to hold up the ball and create stuff, but fluffed his lines horrible in a late cameo.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Fernandes looked like the only United player truly desperate to win and was probably the best for them, but Ex-Red Devil Zaha is clearly today’s MOTM after that brace.