Crystal Palace are now the first team to lose their first seven games in the top-flight since Portsmouth did so eight years ago; a season which ended in relegation. This time around, it was a goal-hungry Manchester United adding to the Eagles’ misery. Despite flashes of promising attacking play from the South London club, United won 4-0.
More Crystal Palace Despair
A Bad Start
Palace found themselves in a familiar position very early on. It was the young Marcus Rashford whose brilliant piece of skill left Joel Ward for dead before picking out Juan Mata in the 18-yard box. The little Spaniard struck the ball first time with his stronger left foot slotting it past Wayne Hennessey and into the right side of the net.
Minutes later, Palace created their first real chance. Mamadou Sakho missed the opportunity to level the score for his side after he put a header wide from a Yohan Cabaye free kick. After a couple shaky moments, the Eagles went through a decent spell halfway through the first half. They were rewarded four corners in the span of ten minutes, but could not make anything of them. David De Gea was finally called upon in the 32nd minute when Bakary Sako unleashed a vicious strike to the Spaniard’s near post, stinging his gloves as he parried it away.
Just three minutes later, Hennessey found himself picking the ball out of the back of the net once more. Ashley Young beautifully picked out Marouane Fellaini with a cross to the back post and the big man stuck out a foot to make it two for the Red Devils. Palace will have felt hard done by as they were somewhat controlling the run of play.
Another Bad Start
United opened the second half just as they opened the first. Rashford powerfully whipped in a free-kick from the left and, with two men on him, Fellaini managed to get a head on it and find the back of the net for the second time in the match.
Not even two minutes later, Palace should have been awarded a penalty when Jeffrey Schlupp seemed to be clipped by Chris Smalling. Schlupp was involved again soon after and should have got his header on target when Sako picked him out in the box. Palace continued to look bright in attack maintaining possession in United’s half, but they lacked the finishing touch.
Two fantastic chances for United should have made it four. Romelu Lukaku missed a glorious opportunity, somehow putting the ball just wide, before Anthony Martial’s effort was saved by Hennessey. Eventually, the final blow would arrive. Four minutes from time, Martial played the ball across the six-yard-box where an unmarked Lukaku was waiting to calmly stroke the ball into the net.
The Search for Their First Point…and Goal
Overall, it was a somewhat deceiving 4-0 scoreline. Crystal Palace fought hard throughout the 90 minutes and deserved at least a goal for their troubles. There were plenty of positive moments in the match and the Eagles managed to control the game at times despite being behind.
The team now go into the international break still without a point or a goal. They won’t be looking forward to their next match either, as they welcome the champions to Selhurst Park. While they’ll be without Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha is expected to make his return in that match. Zaha scored against Chelsea when Palace shocked the blues at Stamford Bridge last season. Whether Sako or Freddie Ladapo, who made his Palace debut at Old Trafford, will start as the striker will likely be determined in the coming week or so. For now, the Eagles must build on the positives from this afternoon’s defeat.
Embed from Getty Images