Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 3 EPL Review 2020
2020-21 English Premier League review:
Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 3 – Old Trafford – 19 September, 2020
Red Devils crash to defeat in season opener; Zaha scores twice against former club
Manchester United started their 2020-21 season in the worst manner possible when they were stunned at home at Old Trafford 3-1 by Crystal Palace.
While many expected Ole Solskjaer to start with new signing Donny van de Beek, the Norwegian chose to do so with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in key midfield roles.
The Red Devils were stunned in as early as the 7th minute when Victor Lindelof failed to stop a Jeffrey Schlupp cross to Andros Townsend who slotted the ball into the far corner of the net.
David de Gea, who was preferred to Dean Henderson survived a scare a little later when Townsend could not capitalize on the United keeper's sloppy clearance and sent his shot wide.
Despite the hosts being more on the ball, it was Roy Hodgson's Eagles who looked more threatening on the break as Jordan Ayew came close to doubling his side's lead towards the end of the first-half but his goal bound shot was brilliantly parred away by a one-handed save from De Gea.
The Palace defense on the other hand was hardly tested with Pogba's long-distance effort going straight to keeper Vicente Guaita, a Scott McTominay shot veering a yard away from the post and Mason Greenwood, introduced after half-time, directing his header wide.
The game saw a major flashpoint when referee Martin Atkinson awarded a penalty to the visitors after VAR Jon Moss instructed him to review a Jordan Ayew chip that seemed to have deflected off the outstretched arm of Victor Lindelof.
Ayew's spot-kick was a feeble grounder to De Gea's right that the Spaniard had no trouble in saving but VAR intervened again as the keeper was found to be off his line and the penalty retaken.
Wilfried Zaha stepped in and hammered his spot-kick to the top corner of the net up to make it 2-0 in the 74th minute.
It was a disappointing day for United with key playmaker Bruno Fernandes totally ineffective and Pogba trundling along with needless errors.
The off-colour Frenchman, inexplicably included in the starting line-up by Solskjaer, was ultimately replaced by van de Beek after more than an hour's play had elapsed.
The Dutchman was instantly rewarded as he reduced the deficit with a well-taken effort in the 80th. This should have signalled a revival from the Red Devils but with John Maguire and Lindelof struggling at the back, it was the visitors who looked like scoring which they did through Zaha.
The Ivorian after turning past Lindelof slammed one past De Gea from the edge of the box to give his side an unassailable lead of 3-1 with just 5 minutes of the game to go.
United had nothing more than two shots on target to show in the entire game despite a 74 per cent ball possession while for Roy Hodgson's men, the season has been a perfect opening with two wins from two games.
Scores from other September 19 games
- Everton 5, West Bromwich 2
- Leeds United 4, Watford 3
- Arsenal 2, West Ham 1
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