A shocking display from the Manchester United defence, and in particular Victor Lindelof, contributed to their 3-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace.
Manchester United opened their league season in style, probably not the style their fans would have wanted it to be. In a thrilling encounter against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, the Red Devils conceded three goals, scoring just one, in what was a horrid display from the team.
It started in favour of Crystal Palace, who aimed to sit back and play on the counter, which we could see working right within the first ten minutes as Jeffrey Schlupp released Andros Townsend through on a tap-in. The shot was tucked brilliantly by the Englishman, in the only highlight of the first half.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 19, 2020
The second 45 were more intriguing as Mason Greenwood replaced Daniel James on the right wing. Palace were awarded a penalty after several checks in the 74th minute courtesy of a handball from Victor Lindelof. Jordan Ayew stepped up to the spot but saw his effort being saved by David de Gea.
However, de Gea was found guilty of encroachment, with Ayew then handing the ball over to Wilfried Zaha, who made no mistake in front of goal. New signing and substitute Donny van de Beek made an instant impact, scoring for the hosts. His goal became redundant when Zaha found space in the box five minutes later to reinstate the two-goal cushion. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
David de Gea: 6/10
There was not a lot David de Gea could have done for any of the goals he conceded, but he missed a great chance to be a hero for his team after coming off the line for the penalty which could have been saved either way. He made two saves in the game and completed 18 accurate passes. Time for Dean Henderson to take over?
Timothy Fosu-Mensah: 6/10
Timothy Fosu-Mensah was given the nod over Aaron Wan-Bissaka who was not fit enough to feature for the home team. He completed 3 interceptions and 2 successful tackles, but was at some kind of fault for the first two goals after being caught out of position. The only thing that helps his rating is the key chance he created for Mason Greenwood in the second half.
Victor Lindelof: 2/10
An absolute disasterclass, if there ever was one; nothing went right for Victor Lindelof at the back against Crystal Palace. In the first goal, Lindelof did not close down Jeffrey Schlupp quick enough and allowed him way too much room to cross on his preferred foot.
For the second, he gave away the penalty which felt enough to put the game out of Manchester United’s reach, but the worst bit came ahead of the third Crystal Palace goal, as he was bullied by Wilfried Zaha inside the box, giving the former Manchester United winger too much space on the ball to pull the trigger.
"We can talk about Jadon Sancho all we like but until Manchester United get a centre-back who can run and defend one-on-ones, they are never going to win the league." ❌
— More Than A Game (@mtagofficial_) September 20, 2020
Lindelof was the best passer on the pitch, though, completing 96.5% of his attempted passes out of which three were successful long balls. However, that is far from the takeaway from his display on Saturday.
Harry Maguire: 5/10
The defence is more than a one-man job, and it is fair to say Harry Maguire did not do the best to cover for Lindelof. He was nowhere to be seen for the first goal, which could have been avoided if he was there to intercept the ball played across goal. Additionally, the Manchester United captain gave away two fouls, one of them in a dangerous area, which could have damaged his side further.
Luke Shaw: 4/10
This was Luke Shaw’s first game back with United in two months after recovering from his injury, and he did not do enough for the board to defend their decision of holding back on Sergio Reguilon’s transfer. The Englishman tracked back incredibly slowly to mark Andros Townsend for the first goal and added virtually nothing going forward, losing the ball 23 times in the process.
Paul Pogba: 4/10
Saturday’s was a near-ideal game for Paul Pogba, whose long passing ability was needed to find holes within the otherwise compact Crystal Palace defence. However, he failed to do that, creating zero chances despite completing 7/7 of his long balls.
The Frenchman’s defensive lapses were taken advantage of by the Eagles throughout his time on pitch, with the visitors finding space through the centre for counter-attacks. Needs to do better.
Scott McTominay: 7.5/10
Easily the best player for Manchester United on Saturday, McTominay was given the big role of filling in for Nemanja Matic, who was not fit enough to feature.
While he was unable of covering for the defence like his Serbian counterpart, McTominay took over the playmaking responsibility from Pogba, playing in 3 key passes. He also won 2 fouls, while giving away 3, compared to Pogba’s 0-3. Finally, the youngster made 5 successful tackles – more than any other player on the pitch for United.
Daniel James: 5/10
There is a lot riding on Daniel James this season and there was a lot riding on him on Saturday, but he failed to deliver yet again. He was barely involved in the attack for United and did nothing to challenge 21-year-old Tyrick Mitchell. The team is crying out for a right-winger.
Bruno Fernandes: 7/10
Bruno Fernandes was the most involved player on the pitch and took 123 touches of the ball through the 90 minutes. He also played in 5 key passes and created one chance for the team, none of which proved to be fruitful. There is always a downside to being the most involved player on the pitch, though, which came in the form of the number of times he lost possession – an incredible 34.
Marcus Rashford: 5/10
Marcus Rashford joined the Manchester United starting XI coming back from an injury and little pre-season involvement, which was evident as he failed to gel in with the team. Even though he managed to contribute in the form of 2 key passes, Rashford needs to take more responsibility in attack.
Anthony Martial: 4/10
Martial started as the sole striker for United and tried a bunch of different things to break down the Crystal Palace deep block – none of which he was able to pull off. He completed none of his crosses (two attempted), 1/8 of his ground duels, 0/3 of his aerial duels, 0/3 of his dribble attempts, unable to keep his only shot on target. Disappointing to say the least.
Mason Greenwood: 5/10
Greenwood was subbed in for James at half-time, but failed to make a mark like he usually does. He got one of the best chances of the game in the form of an unmarked header with only the keeper to beat, only to put it on the wrong side of the post. If his future does indeed lie in the centre-forward role, Greenwood will have to work a lot on his heading ability.
Donny van de Beek: 7/10
Donny van de Beek was in contention to start against Crystal Palace after joining the team in the summer transfer window. He ended up making his debut in an extremely high-pressure situation, with United in the hunt of three goals to get the three points.
While naturally uninvolved for most of the game, the Dutchman was able to fish out a chance in the 80th minute, scoring Manchester United’s only goal of the game. Will hope to be handed his full debut next time out.
Our Dutch international kept his cool to slot home and pull a goal back for United!
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 19, 2020
Odion Ighalo: N/A
Did not do enough to warrant a rating.