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Player Ratings: Van de Beek’s debut goal – that was the positive. United poor in Palace defeat

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in the opening Premier League match of the season. Andros Townsend showed United’s defensive frailties inside seven minutes to open the scoring. A penalty (that never was) was awarded, saved by David De Gea, retaken with Wilfried Zaha scoring it, despite Jordan Ayew taking the first one. Donny van de Beek scored a debut consolation before Zaha struck again to hit United hard. Luton Town in the Carabao Cup next…

Palace started the match on the front foot which saw Andros Townsend looking confident against Luke Shaw on the left flank. United were looking fragile defensively from the start and it took just seven minutes for Palace to carve out an opening goal through Townsend after Jeffrey Schlupp got the better of Victor Lindelof with the ball being played to Townsend at the near post, beating Shaw to open the scoring. United should be doing so much better there. This is why a left-back is needed this summer.

United started to show improvement at the first half continued and managed to get shots on goal, and on target, although nothing came close to get them level. United won a free-kick with about five minutes of the half remaining with Bruno Fernandes taking the set-piece, getting no advantage for United. Jordan Ayew had a shot on goal in added time, forcing a save from David De Gea, giving Palace a corner. The set-piece was cleared by Lindelof before Wilfried Zaha had a shot on goal, which was wide.

Solskjaer made his first substitution during the half time break with Daniel James being replaced by Mason Greenwood. United were pushing to get back into the game but Palace were also pushing to double their lead in the early stages of the second half. United’s best chance came through Greenwood just before the hour mark but he was unable to find the equaliser for United. It was clear that United needed some more desire on the pitch as nothing seemed to be coming for United.

United made their second substitution of the match in the 67th minute with Donny van de Beek making his debut for the club with Paul Pogba, who was not quite up to speed, coming off. Palace won a penalty after a supposed half ball by Lindelof, which was harsh. Ayew took the penalty with De Gea making the save. Then with the ball being cleared up the pitch, Martin Atkinson ordered the penalty to be retaken. Zaha took the penalty, doubling Palace’s lead. VAR has become an even bigger farce this season than last.

United got themselves back into the match in the 80th minute with a debut goal from Donny van de Beek, thirteen minutes after the Dutchman was brought on to replace Pogba. United looked like they were going to aim to get themselves back into the game but Zaha stopped that with a second goal in the 85th minute, putting United two goals behind again. It is not a great start to the season. Solskjaer will be under lots of scrutiny from the media and the Mourinho supporters making the last two weeks of the transfer window even tougher.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Conceded inside seven minutes. After the opening goal, De Gea found his feet and got back into the game, forcing a save from Ayew in added time in the first half. Saved a penalty from Ayew, but moved from his line so it was retaken with Zaha scoring.

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24 Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Started ahead of Wan-Bissaka against Palace. United's defence was poor, especially in the early stages of the match which saw Palace score. Was booked in the second half of the match. The Dutchman was replaced by Ighalo in the 81st minute of the match, just after United scored through Van de Beek.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Lost out defensively to Schlupp, who provided the assist for Townsend's opener. Should have done much better. Grew into the game and made a crucial clearance at the end of the first half. Gave away a penalty, that never should have been a penalty.

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5 Harry Maguire

Defensively, not good enough against Palace. As the captain of this team, not good enough. United need a better leader. It is the early stages of the season, so improvement might be found but defensively, United are going to struggle and need reinforcement. Not that the owners of the executive vice-chairman care about that. There is money to trouser, after all.

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23 Luke Shaw

Was given many early problems by Townsend in the early stages of the match which resulted in a goal for the Palace player. You can see why Solskjaer wants to sign a left-back this summer. His lack of form and injury record are a problem for United.

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6 Paul Pogba

I though the Frenchman was poor against Palace. His distribution was sloppy at times and he did not seem to have much desire. For a world class player, he should be striving for more. However, he has just recovered from coronavirus and might just be lacking fitness. Replaced by Van de Beek in the 67th minute.

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39 Scott McTominay

Good to see him start against Palace. Seemed lively at times but in terms of an end product, he is lacking at this time. Needs to look at his goal against City last season and find that impact and he will offer value.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Seemed to be lacking something in the first half of the match, similarly to how he came back after the restart last season. Not really active in the second half either. Not good enough to be fair.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Had lots of involvement in the match against Palace but in terms of creativity, nothing really came off for the club. I thought United would have started much better than this as that Villa defeat last week saw many players missing, who were playing today.

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21 Daniel James

Lots of pace but no real end product at this moment in time. Started well last season but has come unstuck. Should be using his pace to break in behind the defenders and playing the ball inside but passes back or sideways before. Needs to find improvement and quickly. Replaced by Greenwood at half time.

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9 Anthony Martial

Last seasons momentum from the Frenchman was not present today. United did little to provide any creativity worthy of breaking this Palace side down. United deserve what was dished up for them. Improvement needed across the entire squad.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced James 46'. Had a good chance early in the stages of the half but could not put United level.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Pogba 67'. Made his debut for the club and score a debut goal, which was more of a consolation. Good to see him get a scoring start to his career.

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25 Odion Ighalo

Replaced Fosu-Mensah-Mensah 81'. Came on late in the game but in terms of finding a solution to the problems that United faced, he did not offer much in all fairness.

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Goals: Donny van de Beek 80′; Andros Townsend 7′, Wilfried Zaha 74′ penalty, 85′

Assists: Jeffrey Schlupp 7′

Manchester United: De Gea; Fosu-Mensah (Ighalo 81′), Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba (Van de Beek 67′), McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, James (Greenwood 46′); Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Wan-Bissaka; Fred

Bookings: Tim Fosu-Mensah 58′, Harry Maguire 64′; Joel Ward 55′

Written by John Walker

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