Manchester United suffered embarrassment at home as Crystal Palace scored in stoppage time to hand the home side a 2-1 defeat on Saturday.
Manchester United were heavy favourites going into the match against Crystal Palace, who were goalless so far in the 2019-20 Premier League. The Eagles had not won against United in the Premier League era ever and in more than 30 years of league football.
As fate would have it, it was Crystal Palace that took the lead against the run of play. Victor Lindelof misjudged his header and Jordan Ayew was through on goal on the back of a goal kick. Ayew finished with the calmness of a centre-forward and Palace had their lead.
The second half saw a bit of tiff and scuffle in the Palace box, with Manchester United earning a penalty and another obvious one not given. The awarded penalty was ‘saved’ by the side post, with Marcus Rashford holding his head in his hands. The equaliser though, came late into the game, with minutes left in regulation time, thanks to a brilliant Daniel James effort.
United pressed for the winner, but Paul Pogba was caught on the ball and Palace launched a counter attack that bizarrely resulted in a goal after Patrick van Aanholt’s effort straight at David de Gea’s near post went past the Spaniard, who himself looked bemused at his own efforts to save the shot.
Manchester United, despite winning the league opener against Chelsea, now have the same number of points as the Blues, who won 3-2 at Norwich. Dire times for United, with the players dropping head and shoulders and not performing anywhere near to their best.
David de Gea – 5
The loss is entirely on de Gea. United had earned the equaliser and while Pogba did lose the ball, that effort should never beat de Gea, that too on his near post. There are no excuses for de Gea’s inability to save the shot and it seems the 2018-19 season was not an anomaly after all.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 6
One of the bright sparks in the game, Wan-Bissaka even tried his best leading up to Palace’s winner, tackling successfully, only for the ball to fall at van Aanholt’s feet. Wan-Bissaka though, needs to be better going forward, which is more important, especially when United are up against sides that sit deep like Palace.
Victor Lindelof – 5
Culpable for the first goal, misjudging his header. The Swede should have been wary of the vast gap between him and Harry Maguire as the aerial ball came in and either should have made sure he won his header or not competed for the ball in the air at all. Left his teammates in a limbo and Ayew with an easy chance to convert. Disappointment.
Harry Maguire – 6.5
The only fault that could fall upon Maguire is that he was too far away from Lindelof and Ayew exploited the gap between the two central defenders, especially with the two centre-forwards of Palace close towards Lindelof. Otherwise, it was a decent outing from Maguire, who even had a couple of chances of scoring himself at the other end.
Luke Shaw – 5.5
Luke Shaw just looks uninterested on the field. The Englishman seems the weak link in the back four now and does nothing to prove the aforementioned notion wrong. Went out injured again and will have to wait and see how long he is out for. United’s defensive injuries are starting to pile up.
Scott McTominay – 7
The best United player on the day. McTominay earned United the penalty and genuinely looked like one of the few ones who did not drop his head throughout the ninety. Still, does not provide the same defensive cover that a Nemanja Matic does. United are severely lacking an Anchor Man or a shield in midfield and the Palace match exposed it even more.
Paul Pogba – 6
Pogba was actually good against Palace, contrary to what many of the fans seem to think. The Frenchman tried to provide the goal or the final ball. But, it was his inability to hold onto the ball that resulted in the defeat, which might overshadow the work he did in other parts of the game.
Daniel James – 6.5
Unlucky to be booked for a fair foul that the referee adjudged as a dive. Took the goal well at a time when the nerves were starting to get the better of players on the pitch. Looks like someone who would be a threat to opposition teams if used right. Just needs to add a bit of consistency into his game.
Jesse Lingard – 5
There is only so much pressing Lingard can do. Someone explained the selection perfectly by stating that Solskjaer picked a counter-attacking lineup against a team that is set to sit back. Lingard didn’t offer anything against Palace and was rightly subbed off. His place should be under threat now.
Marcus Rashford – 5.5
One of the more disappointing performances we have seen from Rashford. The Englishman looked out of ideas in attack and nothing he did came off. Topped his performance off with the missed penalty, which he went for too much angle and precision. A very disappointing display from someone who has to shoulder the burden of attack this season.
Anthony Martial – 6.5
Martial was quiet as well. But, he did come alive in the last few minutes, providing the assist for Daniel James and if not for his injury, which forced him to be invisible in the later stages of the game in attack, perhaps, United would have got the winner and in turn, not conceded at the other end.
Ashley Young – 6
Young offered more than Luke Shaw. But, he was not able to match up to Wilfried Zaha, with Maguire continuously having to help the veteran in his battle with Zaha. Still, the left side is quickly becoming a liability for United at the back.
Mason Greenwood – 5
Brought in to be the super sub, Greenwood was invisible on the field and did not offer anything going forward. Was hardly seen on the ball and did not do much when on it.
Juan Mata – N/A
United don’t have game changers on the bench, which is what the root cause of United’s loss to Crystal Palace is. Solskjaer had to sub off McTominay to bring in Mata, which ultimately led to Palace’s winner. Not Solskjaer’s fault but just goes to show the lack of options on the bench. Maybe, Alexis Sanchez is needed.