Manchester United’s start to the season ended in abject disaster.
United were beaten 3-1 at home to Crystal Palace, with Donny van de Beek scoring our goal after coming off the bench.
Here is a look at six things we learned from the game…
Too slow to start
United barely had a pre-season and it showed, against a team which already had a Premier League game under their belts.
This is not an excuse, but United’s sloppy start was what you would expect from a team which saw the several key players only spend one week in training ahead of the kick-off.
The team were wasteful passing the ball out from the back and Palace’s sharpness paid off.
United were left chasing the game after conceding just seven minutes in. It was exactly what we did not need.
Lindelof started season as he ended it
Victor Lindelof’s error-prone end to the season continued as 2020/21 kicked off.
The Swede was in position to cut out the cross for Palace’s first goal, but didn’t.
He then put David de Gea under pressure with a poor header back to the goalkeeper, who did well to clear it.
Lindelof ended up giving away a penalty, and then was outmuscled by Wilfried Zaha for Palace’s third. It was a woeful display.
After Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talked up Eric Bailly on Friday, via the club website, it gave hope that the Ivorian may start this game.
Sadly he didn’t because Lindelof does not look like the answer at centre-back, and Bailly deserves a chance to show he is.
Right wing woes
Dan James starting on the right wing was not ideal. It was due to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s desire to rest Mason Greenwood after the England debacle.
James got his chance for 45 minutes, and did not really use it. But the blame cannot be pinned on him.
This was a summer in which Manchester United were supposed to sign a right winger.
It should have been Jadon Sancho starting on the right. This was an illustration of the board’s failings.
No freshness to the team
This is a time at which many Premier League clubs are showcasing new signings to give their starting line ups a spark.
United have signed only one player, Donny van de Beek, and he started on the bench.
This shows what a bad job the board have done this summer, with United’s team looking stale and laboured.
Van de Beek did his job, coming on to score. It goes to show what a new signing can do.
Farce of a penalty decision
Victor Lindelof may be a walking disaster at times, but the penalty decision for a handball against him was harsh.
Then to see David de Gea make a rare penalty save, and have it chalked off, was harsh in the extreme.
Palace got a chance to re-take it and took advantage, to go two-nil up.
Nobody will have sympathy with United as we played poorly, and we get our fair share of penalties, but this was an all round farce of a decision.
Tough road ahead
Defeat was not in the script for United. There is a tough road ahead to start the season.
United’s next six Premier League fixtures are against Brighton away, before we face Tottenham, Chelsea, and Arsenal in October, with Newcastle in between.
Starting already a game behind, and now suffering a defeat, it could be a while before United grace the top four spots.
Our players need to step up, quickly, and the manager deserves to be backed.
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