Manchester United set an unwanted record as Crystal Palace defeated them 0-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.
A smashing strike from Joachim Anderson in the first half was enough to seal the traveling side all three points from the fixture. Erik ten Hag’s men now sit in the 10th position, this being their worst start to a top-flight campaign in over three decades.
1. United were toothless in vain
Numbers alone would suggest that the side perhaps did not have it that bad. The Red Devils had a whopping 19 shots to their name with Palace making a mere 8. But the simple issue was that the club was unable to translate any of those shots into meaningful attempts leading to a paltry loss.
Rasmus Holjund in particular was disappointing as he yet again had the least touches of any outfield player. Bruno Fernandes showed a lot of promise but lacked the needed support and Marcus Rashford is increasingly looking like a shadow of last season’s record-breaker.
2. Questionable team selection
It hardly appeared that this was the same team that beat the same club just a few days ago in the EFL Cup. This may pose a lot of questions regarding Ten Hag’s team selection rationale. The gaffer did not deploy Harry Maguire despite his promising show on Tuesday. This was painfully obvious as Victor Lindelof lacked his erstwhile charisma and Raphael Varane’s return was useful only on a couple of occasions. Questionable logic, to say the least.
Even the substitutions made towards the end of the game did not seem like one from a team that was desperately looking for an equalizer, let alone a magical Fergie-time winner.
3. Injury crisis beginning to show its tear
It is difficult to be objectively critical of the gaffer when one views the injury and absentees sheet at his disposal. The non-availability of Antony and Jadon Sancho has hit the lineup hard with Facundo Pellestri being burdened with the task of being decisive and creative.
At defense, the latest blow to Lisandro Martinez has all the threat of transforming Jonny Evans from being an advisory veteran in the squad to an actual fatigue-prone player.
An unimaginative game like this does not occur overnight. Multiple injuries and vacant squad depth lead to such an issue over seasons altogether. However, the top management has done little to change that and wrong history books are being written as a result.