Manchester United kicked off their new campaign in not quite the fashion they hoped to do so. A 3-1 loss at Old Trafford, to the The Eagles saw the current negativity surrounding the reds of Manchester justified.
A 7th minute opener from Andros Townsend was enough to put Crystal Palace in the front foot for more than three-fourths of the game. Manchester United finally looked like levelling it, when another blow landed. A harsh penalty against Lindelof. Zaha did what Ayew couldn’t. The former-Manchester United forward had his revenge again with a neatly struck goal that took the Eagles’ total tally to 3. Van De Beek did almost save our blushes, but in vain!
Even Graeme Souness’ comments, the cause of many an outrages amongst United supporters in the past, seem to be apt – ” Who played well for United tonight? It’s hard to pick one player that played well.”
The penalty was undoubtedly harsh, but deserved under the new regulations. However, the inconsistencies of VAR have been highlighted once again when Gabriel handled the ball against West Ham and a penalty was not issued. Ultimately, did Manchester United play well enough on Saturday? No. Did they deserve a draw at the least? No.
The only player who justified his selection in the first team was McTominay. Some good recoveries covered up for his lack of productivity going forward. Fosu-Mensah also did fairly well, with 2 exceptional balls into the box, one of which Mason Greenwood squandered, the other leading to a goal by Van de Beek. A bittersweet debut for the dutch international!
Pogba and Fernandes looked unimpressive almost throughout the whole game. Bruno defended well at times, but a player of his calibre should not be expected to just to do the cleaning up, should he? Rashford, Martial and James were evidently poor. Martial was uninvolved for vast stretches of the game, while Rashford continued his post-lockdown drop in form! The only good thing that James demonstrated yesterday, is showing that Manchester United are in dire need of an out-and-out right winger. Preferably Jadon Sancho. Heatmaps and post match analysis shows how isolated the right wingback and winger were. A shift of the overall positioning of the players towards the left either shows the players doesn’t trust the right sided players much or that they aren’t that keen to receive and play the ball – a lack of confidence.
Defensively, a mess. Lindelof seems to lack aerial ball winning capabilities completely, while Maguire was leaving his man free. A perfect example of this is the goal for Crystal Palace that was ruled offside. Maguire left his man and then on realising his mistake looked confused between going towards the man or the probable pass recipient. David De gea did fairly well, while halftime substitute, Mason Greenwood was ineffective.
A LB, CB and RW needs to be added to the squad as soon as possible. It’s too early to make a judgement on the squad but better make amendments before it’s too late!