Manchester United 1-2 Crystal Palace: Four Things We Learned

First it was a win, then it was a draw and now Manchester United have lost. Crystal Palace came to Old Trafford and took all three points before returning to London, as Jordan Ayew and Patrick van Aanholt scored to negate Daniel James’ lovely equalizer; it ended 2-1 for the visitors. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team will want to forget this week after a bleak performance in front of their own fans, as Palace show plenty of problems from last season are still there to be solved.

Man United Struggle Without The Space

The Devils had the initiative, they had the most of the ball, but they did not really know what to do with it. Having 71 per cent of the ball possession is to be expected against a team like Crystal Palace and Man United are hardly the only team that comes into such a situation. But unlike Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea or even Arsenal, they do not know what to do in such situations.

Patterns of play were non-existent, as United were negated the space they need for their speedy attackers to operate in. Jesse Lingard was a ballast in such a match, as there was no obvious role for him. His energy and movement comes to nothing when Palace are defending with nine or ten players behind the ball. It is a problem that we had seen last season and Solskjaer needs to find a solution. Other teams in the league will be prepared: do not be naive like Chelsea, be more pragmatic.

Old Trafford Falls In Love With James

Daniel James started again for Man Untied and like the last time he was at Old Trafford, the Welshman scored. It was a superb finish that went into the top corner of Guaita’s goal, sending the fans into delirium. With the goal coming after 89 minutes, it felt like a point salvaged at the last minute, but the team still managed to squander it all.

Mistakes Prove Costly

The first goal Crystal Palace scored came after a mistake Man United made. The second goal Crystal Palace scored came after a couple of mistakes Man United made. First, it was Ayew who managed to put Palace in the lead, when Victor Lindelöf managed to lose a meek aerial duel to Jeffrey Schlupp, which led to a one-on-one situation Ayew converted so easily.

Patrick van Aanholt’s winner in the stoppage time came after an attack that started with Paul Pogba losing the ball in the centre of the park. With Scott McTominay already substituted and without a real defensive midfielder on the pitch, Palace went forward, with Van Aanholt getting all the space he wanted. In the end, when he made the shot from a tight angle on the left, David De Gea had to do better not to concede on the near post, having the ball at his hands.

Midfield Issues Continue

And the last but not the least – Manchester United have a midfield problem. Yes, that is not anything new, but after a 4-0 win over Chelsea everyone were euphoric, forgetting how long this season will be. With McTominay and Pogba as central midfielders, there is no real creativity in the side. Sure, Pogba can make an assist here and there, but usually from deep areas. Man United need someone to pull the strings when the team has overwhelming possession. Fred is not that guy, nor are Nemanja Matic and Andreas Pereira. Jesse Lingard? A big no. And we are just three games into the new season.

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