Wilfried Zaha has punished Manchester United to a sour 1-3 beating and imposing a very bad weekend for the Red Devils.
The first of Wilfried Zaha’s two goals was a penalty that the Var Jonathan Moss identified long after the play had moved on as a handball by Victor Lindelof. The defender, who had a dreadful afternoon, had his hand in an unnatural position when the ball struck and referee Martin Atkinson, having reviewed the incident, gave the penalty retrospectively.
On his debut, Donny van de Beek pulled one back 10 minutes from time but Zaha struck again against his former club to secure a deserved victory for Palace.
For United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it was a horrible day. Too many of his players were off the pace, including Paul Pogba, who was replaced by Van de Beek midway through the second half.
Although the penalty decision will be seized upon as the flawed law-making of the game, and its Var-dominated decision-making, the truth is that United did not deserve to win this game. Palace let them have the ball for the most part because Solskjaer’s players did so little with it. Yet Zaha, Ayew and Andros Townsend, who scored the first Palace goal, were outstanding in pressing United and taking their back four into places they simply did not want to go.
There were 33 points between United and the champions Liverpool at the summit of the Premier League last season, and at best they might hope to close that gap. It is an enormous task and this was such an insipid start. It is early days of course, but on Tuesday they go to Kenilworth Road in the Carabao Cup and then to Brighton next weekend with the pressure already building.