What went wrong for Manchester United against Crystal Palace despite Van de Beek’s debut Premier League goal?

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Manchester United’s 2020-21 season started in a disappointing fashion after losing at home to Crystal Palace by 1-3. 

First half

It only took 7 minutes for United to ship their first goal of the season. Following a rather moderately paced ground cross from Jeffrey Schlupp, Andros Townsend tapped in to make it 0-1. 

Manchester United’s defence looked shaky throughout the game, and fans have been quite vocal about their disappointment over the poor display from the two centre-halves, Lindelof and Maguire. The latter is the most expensive centre back in the world. 

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)
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Maguire was partly at fault for not dealing with the cross, jogging his way back while Luke Shaw completely missed the ball to let it onto the feet of Townsend. 

United had plenty of great chances in the first half, but did not manage to take them successfully. 

Second Half

A penalty was awarded to Palace in the second half for a handball by Lindelof. While the decision was considered cruel by some, it wasn’t the shocker of the game. 

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While the penalty taken by Townsend was saved, VAR ordered a re-take because De Gea was only a couple of inches off his line. 

The subsequent attempt was converted by Zaha to make it 0-2. 

Making his Manchester United debut from the bench, Donny Van de Beek managed to make it 1-2 as he scored his first goal for the Red Devils. However, the effort was in vain as Zaha managed to put another brilliant strike past David De Gea to seal all three points and make it 1-3. 

Talking Points

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While De Gea impressed throughout the game, making a few decent saves, the defence looked extremely unconvincing. A lack of confidence by Lindelof and Maguire led directly to two goals scored by the opposition. 

VAR has also come into further scrutiny due to the penalty being re-taken. In all honesty, the rules seem a little too cruel and ideal to be implemented in practical situations. 

Though one might argue that a centimetre offside is still offside, a goalkeeper should not be an exception to fine margins. 

However, nothing is quite as easy as it seems for the goalies. 

United must show urgency and composure in defense if they are to make amends for the poor display against Palace. 

United face Luton Town in Round 3 of the EFL Cup on Tuesday, whereas Palace take on Everton next weekend.

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