Manchester United 1-2 Crystal Palace

Manchester United experienced their first defeat of the season and were again made to pay the price of a missed penalty as Crystal Palace left Old Trafford with three points in the bag. It was the first time the Eagles had ever beaten Manchester United in the Premier League.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had named an unchanged starting eleven from the side that drew away at Wolves, but they failed to find any sort of form in this encounter and have started the season with the sort of inconsistency that has hampered the last few campaigns. It’s the sort of result that suggests another season of toil ahead and a finish closer to mid-table than the Champions League spots. Even the teams expecting a relegation struggle this season will have home fixtures against the likes of Crystal Palace earmarked as chances to pick up some points, so this scoreline doesn’t bode well for a club with ambitions of a title challenge.

Jordan Ayew put Palace ahead in the 32nd minute, having been one-on-one with De Gea after Lindelof failed to head clear and United squandered a golden chance to equalise when they missed a penalty for the second match running. That came in the 69th minute when McTominay was tripped in the box, but Rashford struck the kick against the post.

Daniel James thought he had rescued a point for United when he scored in the final minute, but the United defence was unable to see out the stoppage time without leaking another goal. This time De Gea was at fault as he let Van Aanholt’s shot creep in at his near post.

This United team is very much a work in progress and the young average age means they must be given time to develop and mature, but at the moment they need to improve in all areas. More solidity at the back, creativity in midfield and clinical finishing up front is required. Also, as one of the senior figures in the team, David De Gea needs to step up and start performing at his best once again. He was poor throughout the second half of last season and cost the team on several occasions. Unless he can recapture his best form, it’s surely worth leaving him out of the team for a while, as Romero is a more than adequate replacement. You can’t keep picking players on reputation alone.