Patrick van Aanholt Goal Hands Crystal Palace Shock Win vs. Manchester United

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2019

Manchester United's Welsh midfielder Daniel James (R) vies with Crystal Palace's Dutch defender Patrick van Aanholt (L) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 24, 2019. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)
LINDSEY PARNABY/Getty Images

Patrick van Aanholt scored a stoppage-time winner when Manchester United slipped to a shock 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday. The Eagles, who were away-day specialists at times last season, left Old Trafford with all three points thanks to Van Aanholt and a first-half goal from Jordan Ayew.

Daniel James equalised for the hosts a minute from regular time, while Marcus Rashford hit the post from the penalty spot in the second half.

It's the first defeat in the Premier League for United this season, who have taken four points from three matches and are already showing signs of the same inconsistency that cost them a top-four finish last season.

United were predictably on top early on against the goal-shy visitors. The hosts were bossing possession and finding joy out wide thanks to the overlapping runs of full-backs Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka:

Even though the Red Devils were on top, clear-cut chances were rare. It didn't help that momentum was stalled by a few injury concerns.

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First, Daniel James went down, with the winger receiving treatment. Next, Shaw looked to have a hamstring problem, but he did return to the pitch just in time to see Ayew put the Eagles into a shock lead.

The goal came from Jeffrey Schlupp out-muscling Victor Lindelof in the air to nod the ball down for Ayew, who made no mistake from close range.

United were forced into a reshuffle when Shaw finally made way, being replaced by Ashley Young, but the change did nothing to make the home side more secure at the back. 

Palace should have been 2-0 up moments later when Zaha reacted quickest to a loose ball in the box, but his low effort drew a save from David De Gea with his feet.

United were under pressure but soon felt aggrieved when Gary Cahill was allowed to stay on the pitch after a cynical foul to deny Anthony Martial the chance to break. The 33-year-old former Chelsea centre-back received a booking even though a red card seemed the more appropriate punishment.

The fortunate escape allowed Palace to go in still in front at the break.

An early booking for Wan-Bissaka, who dragged Schlupp back, summed up United's defensive frailties. Even so, the home side was still lively at the other end, and Anthony Martial was unfortunate not to earn a penalty after his smart turn drew Martin Kelly into a foul.

Looking for more impetus, Solskjaer called for 17-year-old striker Mason Greenwood to replace the disappointing Jesse Lingard. The change didn't alter the pattern of play, but the Red Devils got a spot-kick when Luka Milivojevic tripped Scott McTominay.

Following the controversy against Wolves, when Pogba saw a penalty saved after taking the responsibility from Rashford, the latter wasn't going to be overruled this time. Ironically, Rashford cannoned his effort from 12 yards off the post to fuel further questions about the assignment of United's penalty duties.

Things were going from bad to worse when James was booked for diving soon after Rashford's miss.

United were denied another penalty when Rashford went down amid a tussle with Kelly. VAR determined the striker had merely lost his balance.

Just as the game looked to be slipping away, United's moment came entering the penultimate minute. the move began with Pogba dispossessing Zaha and ended with James curling into the top corner after clever work from Rashford and Martial.

Not deterred, Zaha broke free after the restart but poked his effort wide. The winger was back soon after and teed up Van Aanholt to tap in from close range.

It proved to be the winner, as well as a sobering reminder that even after spending big on Wan-Bissaka and Maguire in the summer, United remain vulnerable at the back.

   

What's Next?

United are away to Southampton on Saturday, August 31. Meanwhile, Palace will be involved in Carabao Cup action when they host League Two side Colchester United at Selhurst Park on Tuesday.

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