A performance befitting the result on the day – Man Utd put in a pathetic display that saw Crystal Palace beat them at Old Trafford, the first win for the South Londoners over us in the Premier League era. Goals from Jordan Ayew and Patrick Van Aanholt, poor mistake from De Gea for the latter, were the goals that consigned the Red Devils to a defeat.
Rashford spot off
It was bound to happen that after all the talk, the English international would get the ball and not score when we next got a pen and it did, just the game after the inane talk about Pogba’s penalty spot miss. This was Rashford’s first miss from a penalty in his career and he struck it as he usually does, this time angling it too far and it hitting the post, which then rolled into touch. Outside of the penalty and a good lay off for Martial in the lead up to James’s goal, Rashford had a hard day. Frustrating pot shots, aimless running and poor touches all littered his play and the penalty spot miss only served to confirm that bad performance from him rather than him using it as an opportunity to take eyes off him with a goal. He did begin to look more lively once he went central but still he wasn’t adding much. He will need to do much better than he done today if he is going to hit the heights many believe he can achieve and pay back the faith Ole has instilled in him
James – “On your left”
It looked like more of the same for the Welshman after Monday night, where he put in a display which had all the hallmarks of a player willing to track back and be combative but provide little quality at the other end, which is fine for a defensive. Not a winger, which Daniel James is. However, once he moved onto the left hand side, he looked more dangerous, offering a light spark in attack. His goal showed good patience in waiting for the play to come to him and keeping the width to stretch the Palace defence. What followed next was a lovely curler into the Guaita’s top left hand corner. A goal deserving the braggadocious that James but probably not for the best time, with Man Utd chasing the game. It still does give Ole something to think about as it looks as if we have somehow found another player who prefers to play on the left wing rather than the right. It leaves a hole on the right hand side that has plagued the Red Devils for almost a decade now
Old Trafford’s No Man’s Land
A lot will be said about Paul Pogba’s performance today. As much as he played a hand in winning the ball back for the equaliser, his hand in losing the ball for Van Aanholt’s winner will shine the unwanted spotlight on him, something has happened far too often of someone with his capabilities. His dwindling on the ball has cost us before and it is something that he has to do less of now that he is playing in the deeper role. His play as a whole today was poor. But Pogba does not play in the middle by himself. McTominay and Lingard have to offer so much than what they have shown so far this season. As the best player in the team, the World Cup winner will shoulder responsibility naturally but more often than not, it’s the players that don’t have ability which will hold us back than those we have to coax more consistency from. McTominay offered very little but the penalty, which was a good incisive run into the box. Given Palace gave very little offensively, his defensive shield was no use and on the ball, he flattered to deceive as always. The less said about Lingard the better. The fact Ole decided to change him with 10 minutes gone in the second half for a 17 year old, Greenwood, says it all. At this point in time, he is thieving minutes as a Man Utd player.
Martial was probably the best player in the team, even with the little he had. It was an excellent assist for the goal and he battled well against the Palace defenders. He should have had a penalty awarded for him in the second half and a player should have been sent off for fouling him in the first. His touches as balls were wrapped into him was impressive, something that couldn’t be said about the previous United no.9. Hopefully the injury he picked up is not serious enough to keep him out of action
Solskjaer has to spend some time on the training ground to coach how to break down deep blocks. The tactic right now seems to be hoping and praying for a bit of individual quality to dig us out a goal, which is no different to what Mourinho had us doing. So if he is employing the same tactics with pretty similar results, 3 wins in his last 15 games is relegation form, then there is little point. The tempo of the passing today was incredibly slow. Something has to be done. And fast.
No one could be happy watching that performance. Soul crushing defeat after quiet optimism began to be instilled in the United faithful. Hopefully it will be rectified on the south coast next weekend.