Eagles Shock United to Extend Unbeaten Run At Old Trafford

Palace pulled one out of the bag with an impressive all round performance to spoil United’s opening fixture of the new campaign and remain unbeaten for the season and at Old Trafford since 2017.


19th September 2020


Manchester United 1-3 Crystal Palace


Old Trafford, Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester M16 0RA


Behind closed doors


REFEREE – Martin Atkinson

ASSISTANTS – Lee Betts, Peter Kirkup, Robert Jones (fourth official)

VAR – Jonathan Moss, Marc Perry (assistant)


BOOKINGS – Joel Ward (55), Timothy Fosu-Mensah (58), Harry Maguire (64)


Andros Townsend (7), Wilfried Zaha (74, 85), Donny van de Beek (81)


Wilfried Zaha


This was another lesson to those that had written Palace off ahead of this first away game of the season. The underdog tag suits them just fine and a game plan used at Old Trafford worked out perfectly against a side playing their first game of the season. That worked in the visitors favour as going at the hosts from the off provided just reward with an early goal which set up the victory even at that early stage. There was an element of luck with the spot kick but you make your own luck in this game and an impressive team performance secured all three points. Palace were in fact good value for the win which very few could begrudge, and it is a result that is right up there with some of the every best. The only down side is that fans were not there to be able to see it, but that is a mere detail.


A check in the first half for a coming together in the area between James McCarthy and Paul Pogba which Jon Moss looked at a million times, seemingly desparate to see something to award a penalty but nothing doing.

A second half referral on what would have been a second goal for Palace by Wilfried Zaha was rightly ruled out for offside.

Palace were awarded a penalty for a handball by Lindelof after a referral. Ayew missed the spot kick but it was ruled that de Gea had stepped off his line. A change of taker ensured Palace went 2-0 up thanks to Zaha.


“What I must say before going into the detail, Palace played exceptionally well and deserved the win. Zaha was magnificent and all game Palace played off United’s weaknesses and sloppiness and deserved the three points.

The rust showed from United who have only played one pre-season match since the Europa League semi-final and many players who started today did not feature so sluggishness early on was going to be an issue but I did not think it would be as bad as it was. The cross for the first goal was excellent and the finish from Townsend was even better but I can’t just mention this as both Lindelof and Shaw were very culpable for the goal. United huffed and puffed but the passing was poor, the movement even worse and the defending from Palace was valiant and compact. Greenwood came on but very little changed. United has more possession and Palace countered dangerously every time possession was given away.

The penalty should never have been given, not to take away from the performance from Palace but it was the wrong call for me and certainly so for the penalty to be retaken. Nevertheless, United hadn’t played well enough to win anyway so while it was gut punching and unfair, it wasn’t underserved. Van De Beek came on and made an impact and the finish was excellent. I did think United could get back into the game but another defensive error cost United as Zaha bullied Lindelof again and smacked the ball past David de Gea who had no chance and ended United’s chances of a comeback.

It was a poor game from a United perspective and Palace deserved the three points. United could finish the round of games in the bottom three and realistically need signings and more training if they are to improve and bounce back away to Brighton, which won’t be easy.” – THE UNITED DEVILS


Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.

“Having witnessed first hand our last two wins at Old Trafford which could be described by some as smash and grab, this 3-1 win would be defined as a well deserved and fully controlled performance.

We played a high pressing game from the start which was rewarded with good possession in United’s half and ultimately resulted in a well worked goal created down our left flank. A good pass forward from Mitchell released Schlupp who struck a crisp low cross to the far post where Townsend ghosted in to finish with aplomb. A 1-0 lead was comfortably maintained until half time. At this stage probably most of us would have been expecting a United onslaught during the second half. However, consistent United pressure never materialised and although we were given a contentious penalty which Zaha finally converted after Ayew’s weak first attempt, no-one could doubt we deserved a 2-0 lead. A mix up between Kouyate and Ward briefly allowed United back into the game but the result was put beyond doubt by an excellent low finish by Zaha.

Tactically Hodgson had us set up perfectly. Our full backs often played higher up the pitch whilst two holding midfielders protected our back four allowing Townsend, Schlupp, Ayew and Zaha to play together as a potent attacking force. This may well be the tactical blue print for our approach this season with varying personnel.

It would be churlish to pick out any individuals in a complete team performance but our back four of Ward, Kouyate, Sakho and Mitchell were excellent throughout. However, my man of the match goes to our skipper on the night. Zaha produced one of his best performances over the past year capping it with his two goals. He has made a positive start to the season. Long may this form continue. Overall a great night to be an Eagles supporter. Up the Palace!”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (7) – For a game at Old Trafford it was quite bizarre that Vicente was hardly tested other than the odd routine save. Had very little chance for the goal that was conceded.

2 JOEL WARD (8 – BOOKED!) – A big game for the full back and with Nathan Ferguson providing competition for his spot this season, he is certainly not going to give it up without a fight.

12 MAMADOU SAKHO (7) – Against medical recommendations, the Frenchman started the game after an injury to Dann in training during the week but you would never have guessed. Formed a difficult barrier to get past for the opposition.

8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – Unlikely to get his midfield place back but not a bad thing when he is playing like this at centre back. One error which led to a goal when he missed a clearance and the ball dropping kindly for the hosts.

39 TYRICK MITCHELL (7 – ASSIST!) – Does not look out of place in this Palace side and looked very much at home playing against United. Provided his first assist by putting Wilf through to grab his second and seal the win.

22 JAMES MCCARTHY (7) – The Irishman was everywhere and battled for every ball. A huge reason we won the battle in the midfield. Replaced by 4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (6) on 88 minutes to provide some much needed fresh legs.

18 JAMES MCARTHUR (8) – The partnership between the former Wigan midfielders is going to prove very difficult to break up if this game is anything to go by. Jimmy just does all the dirty work and mopping up without hardly being noticed while constantly going from box to box.

10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (8 – GOAL!) – Much criticised by fans but has started the season well and followed up a big assist last weekend with the opening goal in this one to set Palace on their way.

15 JEFFREY SCHLUPP (8 – ASSIST!) – Shades of Andros playing in front of AWB when Jeffrey starts in front of Mitchell but it was his attacking display that caught the eye in this big win for the Eagles. Provided an excellent assist for Andros to score the opening goal . Replaced by 25 EBERECHI EZE (6) on 75 minutes who played a small part by carrying the ball late on and picking up the ball from outside our own penalty area. Involved in the third goal.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (C) (9 – GOAL! GOAL!) – Wore the captains armband and put in a performance to match by grabbing a brace. Made the hosts defence look very ordinary.

9 JORDAN AYEW (8) – The awful penalty miss apart, Jordan played his part in the win by being involved in every counter attack. One good effort on goal ended up being saved as the Ghanaian continues to find his first goal of the season. Replaced by 23 MICHY BATSHUAYI (6) on 81 minutes.


13 Wayne Hennessey, 7 Max Meyer, 34 Martin Kelly, 45 Ryan Innis


1 de Gea, 24 Fosu-Mensah, 2 Lindelof, 5 Maguire, 23 Shaw, 6 Pogba, 39 McTominay, 10 Rashford, 18 Bruno Fernandes, 21 James, 9 Martial

SUBSTITUTES – 26 Henderson, 3 Bailly, 11 Greenwood (replaced James on 45 minutes), 17 Fred, 25 Ighalo (replaced Fosu-Mensah on 81 minutes), 29 Wan-Bissaka, 34 van de Beek (replaced Pogba on 67 minutes)


ROY HODGSON “I thought that both defensively and offensively we were good. We made certain and kept them playing in front of us and they could not profit from those spaces they are skilful enough to find. And when we had the ball I thought we looked very dangerous and threatening so I don’t think it was a big surprise that we scored three.”

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER “You can see we are short and they deserved the points. Today was a performance you don’t see very often from this group. We should look at ourselves in the mirror. Everyone knows we can perform better than this.”


The Who Scored man of the match was Jeffrey Schlupp (8.6) while the the most shots were from Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha. The most tackles were by James McArthur (7) while Jeffrey Schlupp (5) had the most dribbles.

  • Team rating: 6.34 – 7.13
  • Total shots: 17 – 14
  • Shots on target: 4 – 5
  • Possession: 76% – 24%
  • Pass success: 86% – 61%
  • Passes: 697 – 220
  • Dribbles: 11 – 9
  • Aerials won: 11 – 15
  • Tackles: 14 – 24
  • Fouls: 13 – 9
  • Corners: 9 – 3
  • Saves 2 – 3
  • Dispossessed: 16 – 9


Palace ended the day in third with maximum points from the first two games of the season, behind Everton and Arsenal on goal difference.


26/09/2020 Everton (h) – Premier League (Amazon – 3pm)

03/10/2020 Chelsea (a) – Premier League

17/10/2020 Brighton & Hove Albion (h) – Premier League


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