Manchester United’s potential was subject to interpretation heading into this Premier League season.
It veered the wrong way in the opener.
Wilfried Zaha scored twice in the second half, including an impressive late goal to seal it, as Crystal Palace beat United 3-1 at Old Trafford and sent the Red Devils sprawling out of the gates.
United kicked off their season a week late thanks to a run to the Europa League semifinals last month. During the summer restart, United won six times and drew three to snag third place, which prompted questions of if they could be the team to break up the Liverpool-Manchester City duopoly atop the table.
It sure didn’t look like it Saturday, as the attacking contingent headlined by Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford couldn’t find a way to unlock Palace despite seeing an overwhelming amount of possession.
The creative spark was lacking, and it sure wasn’t for Zaha in the 85th minute, when his quick turn and strength on the ball sealed all three points:
Palace took the lead inside of 10 minutes as Andros Townsend punched home Jeffrey Schlupp’s cross on the counter, and Zaha doubled the lead in the 74th minute with a penalty.
Jordan Ayew took the initial kick after referee Martin Atkinson went to VAR and determined Victor Lindelöf handled the ball in the box, but David de Gea made the stop. Shortly after, Atkinson whistled play dead again and awarded a second kick after de Gea was ruled to have come off his line early.
Judge for yourself:
Star summer signing Donny van de Beek scored his first Manchester United goal not long after the penalty:
That was it for the Red Devils, however, whose center back pairing of Lindelöf and Harry Maguire continues to feel very shaky. If the goals aren’t there en masse, United figures to have trouble getting results this season.
Would be little open to interpretation about that.
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