United started well against Palace, who lined up in a 4-5-1 formation with Jordan Ayew playing at the lone striker. On the attack, both Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was playing his former club for the first time, linked up well but the Welshman’s cross was cleared away by Gary Cahill, who signed for Palace as a free agent this summer.
United had a half chance in the fifth minute of the game after Scott McTominay rises highest from an early corner but he was unable to direct his header and the ball flew over the Palace crossbar, which will have been an early relief for the visitors, whose record against United at Old Trafford in the Premier League is far from good.
In the seventh minute of the match, Martin Kelly brought down Anthony Martial just outside of the box. It was too wide for a direct shot on goal for United. Paul Pogba’s cross was half cleared and Luke Shaw had the chance but his shot was well over the crossbar, disappearing into the crowd. United have had some chances but need to do a lot better.
There was some controversy in the ninth minute of the match after Jesse Lingard clattered into the back of Patrick Van Aanholt, the advantage was played but Palace then lost possession and United almost broke through with the Dutch left-back still on the ground needing treatment. It was a shame that Martial could not capitalise on the chance he was given.
In the 13th minute, Joel Ward was the latest Palace player needing treatment but it came as United had won a free-kick deep in Palace’s area. Ward had taken a knock from a stray ball hitting him on the nose. Palace were a man down as they looked to defend the set-piece. Marcus Rashford stepped up but his effort was wide from 30-yards.
United, by this time, were controlling the game, having Palace on the back foot. After another good attack in the 17th minute of the match, United had yet another opportunity to take the lead with Daniel James on the advance. Vicente Guaita and Van Aanholt combined to thwart James’ effort from putting the home side 1-0 up.
Palace were, so far, defending well. However, they were seemingly struggling to find a way out of the whole they had dug themselves into, failing to win the ball back for periods of time or advancing into United’s area with much intent. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was playing well, both offensively and defensively against his former club.
By the 23rd minute of the match, United had more than 75% of possession, most of that being in Palace’s half. United won another free-kick in the 25th minute of the match on the edge of the box. Rashford and Pogba were both stood over the ball. Rashford took the set-piece, which seemed to be sailing into the back of the net, however, it sailed over.
In the 26th minute of the match, James was on the ground requiring treatment. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sent Mason Greenwood and Andreas Pereira out to warm up but James was able to continue. Luke Shaw then had treatment on the pitch, seemingly unable to continue with Ashley Young warming up quickly. Shaw seemed able to continue though.
Palace opened the scoring in the 31st minute of the match with Ayew beating David De Gea. It was a long kick from the Palace goalkeeper. Victor Lindelof was easily beaten in the air with Harry Maguire covering for Shaw on the left, who was still not right. Ayew found himself on goal, beating the Spanish number one with a calm finish.
United then made their first substitution of the match with Young replacing Shaw in the 34th minute of the match. After the change, Palace seemed to be in control of the game, pressuring United in their own half. There were chances for the visitors with De Gea making a save. Luka Milivojevic became the first player to be booked in the match.
Martial was seemingly through on goal in the 41st minute of the match with Gary Cahill taking him out just outside the box. He was immediately booked with VAR then getting involved, confirming the booking. Pogba took the free-kick for United, missing the target, sending the ball over the crossbar. The Frenchman seemed frustrated.
United’s creativity seemed to be lacking. Perhaps allowing Angel Gomes to play a part in this game could have added something but I guess Solskjaer knows more than I do. Lingard was not much influence in the game, other than to retain possession. His creativity needs to improve for him to retain his place in the central attacking position in this formation.
There were five minutes of added time to be played at the end of the first half with United still chasing the game, despite being the better side from the start of the game, until Palace scored and Shaw was replaced by Young. Solskjaer’s side needed to keep their wits about them in order to prevail or face the first defeat to Palace at home in the Premier League.
United’s play had been half
There were no changes at the start of the second half for either side. Wan-Bissaka was booked at the start of the second half for a foul. United started to get back into the game in the 48th minute after Young played a good cross over Palace’s defence, which was volleyed at goal by James only for Van Aanholt to make the crucial block.
United were showing more attacking impetus in the second half. Palace, fortunate when Ward made a hash of a block with Lingard nearly capitalised from. United were aiming to pick apart this Palace side, and so they should. Five minutes into the half, Palace were being pinned back into their own area. Pogba played a one-two with Lingard.
Young had a chance a the back post after a long cross fell onto the defender but his volley went straight into the ground. United then had a penalty claim dismissed by the referee and VAR after Martial turned Kelly and slipped in the box with some pulling from the Palace defender. United
Mason Greenwood Replaced Lingard in the 56th minute of the match with Solskjaer seeking to get the better of Palace with the 17-year-old’s pace, killer instinct and ability on the ball. Before the hour mark of the match, United had 15 shots on goal, just one being on target. United would need to do much better during the course of the season.
Young whipped a free-kick into the Palace box but it came to nothing. The Old Trafford faithful seemed to be losing the spirit of the game with United pressuring this Palace side, however, not getting anything from it. Rashford had the ball in the final third, passing to James, however, the ball did not reach the Welshman going out of play.
Just after the hour, United needed to be more imaginative than they were. A free-kick was lumped into the Palace box, it being hoofed clear easily. The side is top of possession, yet doing very little with it. VAR came into play again, looking for a potential red card for a foul on Milivojevic, however, nothing was given.
By the 63rd minute, United had 70% of possession and 80% of the shots on goal. Palace still led by one goal. Solskjaer will not be happy with the lack of creativity by his squad, something for them to work on in training. Otherwise, this is going to be a long, hard season or more disappointment. Palace though were staying back in their half.
United won a penalty in the 69th minute of the match as McTominay was bundled over as he burst into the box. Rashford had the ball, Pogba nowhere near it. Rashford hit the post with the ball rebounding out of play on the other side of the pitch. James was then booked for diving, despite being fouled by the Palace player.
Palace made their first change with Christian Benteke replacing Ayew in the 75th minute of the match. United then won a free-kick after a foul on Rashford, but it did not materialise into anything for United, who are still chasing the game. Maguire then had a header blocked at the back post with Pogba then heading over the crossbar.
McTominay then missed the target from outside of the box on another attack. United
Townsend replaced Schlupp, who did not leave the pitch at the nearest part, walking slowly across the pitch, not even being booked by the poor referee. United then had a call for another penalty after Rashford was seemingly pulled down by Ward but VAR and the referee gave nothing. Palace then made a third change with James McCarthy replacing Kouyate.
Solskjaer made his third substitution in the 85th minute with Juan Mata replacing McTominay. The Palace goalkeeper was booked in the 85th minute for timewasting. United were going forward in numbers but seemed weak on the counter as Benteke nearly created something by nearly getting onto Zaha’s cross.
United equalised in the 89th minute through James who scored his second goal at the Theatre of Dreams, curling his final shot into the far corner. Pogba had credit in the goal after his tackle on Zaha set United on the way to the equaliser. James will be happy though, his second goal in front of the Stretford End.
Five minutes of added time were to be played at the end of the half. United were now level. Time to seek a winner? You would have thought. However, it was Palace that tried their luck. Patrick Van Aanholt beat De Gea from close-range in what may be seen as another goalkeeping error with Palace leading 2-1 now. United running out of time.
United will need to bounce back from that poor defeat which saw Palace leave Old Trafford victorious for the first time since 1989. Solskjaer will not be happy with what he saw from these players, who showed the same signs they showed last season when they played a poor brand of football from the victory over Paris Saint-Germain. Not good enough. Changes needed.
Goals: Daniel James 89′; Jordan Ayew 31′, Patrick Van Aanholt 90+3′
Assists: Anthony Martial 89′; Jeffrey Schlupp 31′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw (Young 34′); McTominay (Mata 85′), Pogba; James, Lingard (Greenwood 56′), Rashford; Martial
Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Tuanzebe; Pereira, Matic
Bookings: Aaron Wan-Bissaka 46′, Daniel James 71′; Luka Milivojevic 38′, Gary Cahill 41′, Wilfried Zaha 79′, Vicente Guaita 86′