Manchester United suffered a surprise 3-1 defeat in their first Premier League game of the season as more VAR controversy helped Crystal Palace continue their fine start at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils appeared sluggish from the off and the Eagles deservedly took an early lead when Andros Townsend arrived at the far post to convert Jeffrey Schlupp’s low cross.
Palace threatened on the break on a number of occasions, but when they did double their advantage in the second half it left United enraged and in disbelief.
Martin Atkinson harshly awarded a penalty after consultation with VAR for a Victor Lindelof handball. David De Gea saved Jordan Ayew’s spot kick, but VAR intervened again suggesting the keeper was off his line. Wilfried Zaha took on the responsibility with the re-take and rifled it home.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had left new recruit, Donny van de Beek on the bench, but the former Ajax man made an immediate impact when he was called upon, coolly slotting home on his Premier League bow with 10 minutes to go.
However, Palace secured the points when Zaha compounded Lindelof’s torrid evening by turning the defender and rifling in his second against his former club five minutes from the end.
United now face a trip to Luton in the EFL Cup on Tuesday prior to a league clash at Brighton on Saturday. Palace host Everton.
'Just one warm-up game' - Solskjaer on Man Utd's defeat to Palace
VAR issues aside, Zaha finally shows Old Trafford what he can do. There will be plenty of talk about Palace’s second goal; the penalty award and re-take. But in truth it was a complete shocker overall for United and the Eagles thoroughly deserved to take the points.
Hodgson’s side executed their game-plan to a tee as their compact, well-drilled unit thwarted a pedestrian United, while providing a continual threat on the break. Zaha was at the heart of this and put in a match-winning show against his old team.
United fans will be furious. Their team lacked energy and were second-best for long spells on a weekend where their underwhelming transfer activity was further highlighted by Liverpool and Tottenham’s new additions. There’s a lot for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to contemplate and his team are under immediate pressure after just 90 minutes of football.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Wilfried Zaha(Crystal Palace). A powerhouse showing from the forward. He was given the captain’s armband for the first time in a competitive game ahead of kick off and responded with a decisive contribution.
MAN UNITED: De Gea 6, Fosu-Mensah 6, Shaw 6, Lindelof 4, Maguire 5, McTominay 6, Pogba 6, Fernandes 6, James 5, Rashford 6, Martial 6. Subs: Greenwood 6, van de Beek 7, Ighalo n/a.
CRYSTAL PALACE: Guaita 7, Ward 7, Kouyate 8, Sakho 7, Mitchell 7, McArthur 7, McCarthy 7, Schlupp 8, Townsend 8, Zaha 9, Ayew 6. Subs: Eze 6, Batshuayi n/a, Milivojevic n/a.
7' – Man United 0-1 Crystal Palace. The visitors strike first blood! A flowing move down the left ends with Townsend arriving at the far post to slot home Schlupp’s cross.
45+2' – CRYSTAL PALACE CHANCE! Zaha leads a dangerous counter. He feeds it to the left for Ayew, who cuts inside the area and hammers a shot towards goal that De Gea manages to push over the top.
74' – Man United 0-2 Crystal Palace. Real drama! The referee awards Palace a harsh penalty for hand ball after a lengthy VAR check. Ayew sees his kick saved, but a re-take is ordered as De Gea is adjudged to have come off his line. Zaha assumes the duty and hammers it high into the net.
80' – Man United 1-2 Crystal Palace. Van de Beek gets a goal on his debut! The Dutchman slots a cool finish into the far corner after a miscued clearance fell his way in the box.
85' – Man United 1-3 Crystal Palace. Zaha restore the two-goal cushion. The former United man turns Lindelof and drills a low shot into the bottom corner.
- Palace have won consecutive away games against Manchester United for the first time in their history.
- Zaha is the first player to score twice in a Premier League game against Manchester United having previously appeared for them in the competition.
- Van de Beek is the 20th different player to score for Man Utd on their Premier League debut and the 10th player to do so from the bench.