Manchester United fell to defeat against Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford under Erik ten Hag.
With Manchester United full of optimism after their 3-0 midweek victory, it was Crystal Palace who struck first as Joachim Andersen scored a wonderful volley past Andrè Onana to give them a lead 25 minutes in.
The first half saw United play poorly, with the squad looking disconnected between the lines, and this trend continued into the second half, where despite United’s dominance on the ball and in attack, they failed to score.
Seven Premier League games, three wins, four losses. It’s bad.
#1 – Rashford’s poor decisions
Marcus Rashford was reinstalled into the XI after being rested against Palace in midweek, but in the first half, his decisions seemed both erratic and ill-informed.
In the moments where you would expect him to make a pass, he instead dribbled or took a shot. In the moments where you feel he should have taken his man on, he did not.
Rashford could be suffering from somewhat of a hangover after his 30-goal season last campaign across all competitions, but he must fix up and change his game in order to die.
This may be in part due to the fact that United played with Sofyan Amrabat as the left-back, who actually spent a lot of time in the midfield of the pitch – meaning Rashford often did not have any significant attacking support on the left-hand side.
In the second half, with United needing a goal in the final 15 minutes, Ten Hag took Rashford off. That says a lot.
#2 – Amrabat must move to midfield
Amrabat, for all his brilliance, looked caught out at times while filling in at left-back. It is, of course, unfair to criticise him too much as he is filling in out of position, but it is something that may need to be considered in the future.
Amrabat will be able to become much more effective when he plays in midfield, but until Sergio Reguilón recovers from his small injury
#3 – Poor crossing from all involved
United played many crosses throughout the fixture, no doubt aiming for Rasmus Højlund in that area, but so many of them did not reach the 6-foot 4-inch Danish striker.
It feels like a tactic which United desperately need to work on in the training ground, as they may as well utilise it with Højlund up front.
You’d expect that with players such as Fernandes, Dalot, and Mount, among others, this would be possible, but so far there are yet to be significant results.
#4 – Garnacho continues to be an impact
One positive to take from the fixture was the performance of Alejandro Garnacho off the bench.
The newly crowned No.17 was an incredible threat off the left-hand side, much more direct than Rashford, and was purely focused on trying to force the chances and almost did so on multiple occasions.
#5 – Martial may be changing Ten Hag’s mind
With 15 minutes to play, Martial was substituted on with Rashford coming off – showing that Ten Hag may be changing his mind on the Frenchman.
Having scored last week for the first time this season, Martial may be starting to show Ten Hag that he can be a threat on goal after his sporadic scoring mixed with injuries last season.
Ultimately, it meant nothing as Palace saw out their 1-0 victory, but if Martial can become a goal threat once again, that will help in future.
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