The Red Devils started off their campaign vibrantly enough. They beat THE Chelsea 4 goals to nil in the first game of the season. In that match, everything went right. Rashford managed to strike a penalty into the box, the midfielders (Pogba and Pereira) were on top of their game and provided assists for three of the goals. Maguire and Wan-Bissaka kept it clean and tight at the defense.
It seemed that finally, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had managed to rebuild this broken team, and this was the season for glory.
But, as with every fairy tale, things began going wrong.
Their game against Wolverhampton the next week was going according to plan when Anthony Martial scored in the 27th minute, his second goal in two games. He scored that goal with his weaker foot to add on to the drama of it all. It seems, however, the Reds were not prepared for a dramatic fight that saw man of the match, Ruben Neves equalize with a spectacular 25-yard thunderbolt of a goal.
Pogba had the chance of a lifetime to bring his team back ahead when he was fouled inside the penalty box around the 65th minute. However, this attempt was easily saved by the Wolves goalkeeper, Rui Patricio.
Pogba ended up being the butt of numerous racist jokes and comments, which is quite appalling because even the best can miss a penalty. It’s just sad that pigs with racist tendencies can access the Internet and abuse people they don’t know. Sad!
Anyway, they ended up drawing that match, much to the chagrin of Manchester United fans all over the world.
If they were expecting a marked improvement in the third match of the season, well then, they must be sorely disappointed with their team at this point.
Last Saturday, Manchester United was up against Crystal Palace, and boy, did they have it rough. They managed to lose to the Eagles, 2 goals to 1, much to my amusement I must confess.
This was the first time since 1989 that Crystal Palace had secured a win at Old Trafford. 3 decades of drought, and then Patrick van Aanholt’s injury-time goal changed everything!
So, what happened?
Credit to the Crystal Palace players, they played their hearts out, and took advantage of the few chances they were presented.
But, what did the Manchester United players fail to do right that saw them hand over to Crystal Palace their first win of the season?
- Penalty woes
In two separate occasions in these last two fixtures, Manchester United have been awarded a penalty that they have failed to convert.
The first one we spoke about above, when Pogba was unable to net one past the Wolves goalkeeper from the penalty box.
The second event occurred during the Crystal Palace match when Rashford hit the post, and squandered the penalty opportunity awarded.
These two events seem to suggest that Solksjaer is not preparing his players well when it comes to taking penalties. Two missed penalties in two games by two different players of the same team is one too many, and something needs to be done to remedy this situation.
…or not, because, hey, I’m not a Red Devils fan, and it won’t be too painful to bear seeing this team waste every penalty opportunity they are given.
- Defensive Issues
In their game against Chelsea, their first match as Manchester United players, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka seemed a formidable pair. At that time, from their performance, it seemed that the £130 million spent on both of them was more than justifiable.
However, things began to unravel for the two during the Wolves game and really came to a head in the Palace clash.
Ayew’s goal, Palace’s first of the game, can be credited to Maguire and Wan-Bissaka’s failure to offer enough support to Lindelof. If they were covering him properly after he lost the ball to Schlupp, then one of them would have been able to clear the ball before Ayew got his feet on it.
Crystal’s second goal cannot be solely blamed on the defenders…but, perhaps better ball-watching by Maguire would have averted the situation? Perhaps the defenders shouldn’t have hang back as much as they did when Zaha and Aanholt were leading the counter-attack charge, that eventually led to a last-minute goal by the Eagles’ left-back.
But, truth be told, Maguire has had a terrible time against Crystal Palace for many seasons before he joined Manchester United. During his time at both Hull, and Leicester, Maguire has never experienced a win against Crystal Palace.
Shocking! We just might have found his kryptonite (what a useful little gem).
Maguire and the rest of the defense line-up better put their act together this coming weekend, or else, Southampton’s pressing style, and pace might just overwhelm them. Oh, what joy Manchester United’s undoing will bring to the rest of the world that is not red!
- Toothless Attack
It’s almost as if the likes of Rashford were scared to score, or just simply indecisive on how to go about it. In the case of Martial, who was the better forward of Manchester United’s attacking trio in this match, was simply not being the fed the ball enough times.
It was almost an hour before Guaita had to make a save, and that is a demonstration of how lackluster the Red Devils attack was.
Such a shame considering the immense talent that Rahsford, Lingard, and Martial individually and collectively possess.
There’s so much more to write about that woeful Red Devil’s performance, but those were the main points of the match.
Well, Southampton is now a day away, let’s just wait and see if these issues would have been solved by then.