Talking Points: United v Crystal Palace

Manchester United suffered a disappointing opening-day defeat in the Premier League when we lost 3-1 to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday.

However, the loss was somewhat controversial after the visitors’ second goal was another debatable VAR call.

It was Wilfried Zaha who netted the spot-kick after Andros Townsend had given Palace the lead in the seventh minute. New signing Donny van de Beek was introduced in the second period and grabbed United’s only goal of the afternoon, but Zaha’s late strike, his second of the game, wrapped up all three points for the Londoners.

After a disappointing evening at Old Trafford, we’ve summed up a few of the major points of interest…
VAR CONTROVERSY 

Like it or loathe it, VAR is here for another season and its second campaign has started just as controversially as the first. The visitors were awarded a debatable spot-kick midway through the second period after the ball struck Victor Lindelof’s hand from point-blank range. After referee Martin Atkinson checked the pitch-side monitor - an Old Trafford first - the official pointed to the spot. David De Gea brilliantly saved the resultant penalty from Jordan Ayew only for Atkinson to order it to be retaken - controversial to say the least, given the Spaniard was mere centimetres off the line when it was taken. Former Red Wilfried Zaha then confidently converted the penalty, to the fury of the United bench and the bemusement of the MUTV and Sky Sports commentary teams.
TRIO RECEIVE AWARDS

Ahead of kick-off, three United players’ achievements from the 2019/20 season were acknowledged. Bruno Fernandes won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year trophy, Anthony Martial scooped the Players' Player of the Year award, while Marcus Rashford’s unstoppable free-kick against Chelsea last October earned him the Goal of the Season accolade. All three players posed for a photo alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and their respective trophies before the warm-ups. Check out the video below.

Award winners pose with their trophiesVideo

DONNING THE RED SHIRT

We saw our summer signing last week in the friendly against Aston Villa, but Saturday’s encounter was his first competitive match for United and his maiden appearance at Old Trafford. Van de Beek was introduced in the 67th minute in place of Paul Pogba. And the Dutchman made an almost immediate impact when he netted United’s only goal of the game: a neat reaction finish from inside the box. While it wasn’t the result Donny wanted, it was an encouraging first outing for the 23-year-old.

A FIRST OF MANY FIRSTS

The beginning of the 2020/21 season was always going to feel a little strange. For a start, Saturday was the latest we’ve ever kicked off a Premier League campaign - prior to this season, our latest inaugural fixture date was 20 August! The Reds’ off-season was also quite unique with just under seven weeks since our 2019/20 campaign ended and this term began, representing our shortest-ever gap between two Premier League seasons. Sadly, the opening day of United’s campaign was the first time we’ve begun without fans present in the stadium, and 2020/21 is the only occasion in Premier League history that our first game wasn’t also the maiden match for the opposition - Crystal Palace began last week with a 1-0 win over Southampton.

Get ready for next season. Our 2020/21 home and away kits are available now from United Direct.

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