Just when Manchester United thought a wretched start to the season was behind them, Crystal Palace dragged Erik ten Hag and his players back into crisis in the rain at Old Trafford.
A stunning volley from Joachim Anderson separated the two sides, underlining the difference between the Palace side United beat in the Carabao Cup here just four days ago and the one that inflicted another painful defeat on Ten Hag.
That’s five in nine games for United this season, and four in seven in the Premier League – the club’s worst start at this stage in the league for 34 years going back to 1989 and that ‘Ta Ra Fergie’ banner that appeared in the Stretford End.
Having lost just twice at Old Trafford in all competitions last season, United have now been beaten twice at home before the first leaves have fallen to the floor.
It’s a dismal start and one made all the worse by the injury crisis that has engulfed Ten Hag – the recurrence of Lisandro Martinez’s foot problem means 16 players have been struck down since pre-season – and the off-the-field issues surrounding Antony and Jadon Sancho.
Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen (second left) celebrates his stunning goal to open the scoring at Old Trafford
Andersen made the sweetest of connections to meet Eberechi Eze’s free-kick to send the ball flying past Andre Onana
United’s keeper was left with no chance as Andersen’s strike went across him and found the top corner of the net
A dejected Bruno Fernandes as United, who’d easily beaten Palace in the Carabao Cup in midweek, slumped to a dismal loss
Anthony Martial, Alejandro Garnacho and Donny van de Beek can’t quite believe it as United fail to find an equalising goal
A stony-faced Erik ten Hag after the final whistle as United’s worst league start since 1989 continued with this defeat
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Credit to Palace and Roy Hodgson, though. Victory here meant that Hodgson has become the second manager after Pep Guardiola to win three Premier League games in a row at Old Trafford following his successes with Palace in September 2020 and August 2019.
United’s continuing injury problems meant that Sofyan Amrabat once again had to fill in as a makeshift left-back, having made his full debut there in Tuesday’s 3-0 Carabao Cup win over Palace.
Facundo Pellistri stayed in to make his Premier League debut on the right flank, but the return of Bruno Fernandes saw Hannibal Mejbri drop to the bench following three impressive starts.
‘Three games in a row when you don’t play so often is not easy and especially when one of your skillsets is your energy,’ said Ten Hag beforehand. ‘I am really happy with his performances for the team.’
Hodgson made six changes from Tuesday with Joel Ward, Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze, Andersen and Will Hughes all coming into the starting line-up. Sam Johnstone continued in goal after coming off the bench to replace Dean Henderson in midweek after the former United keeper was injured on his debut.
Ten Hag had warned in his pre-match press conference that Palace would be out for revenge, and it soon became clear that United were facing a much tougher task.
Casemiro missed a total of four games last season due to the red and yellow cards he picked up in games against Palace, and he took less than 10 minutes to go into referee Chris Kavanagh’s book for sliding through Jordan Ayew.
Frustration for Garnacho, who was brought on by Erik ten Hag to provide second-half impetus but couldn’t deliver a goal
Mason Mount sent this near post header wide of the mark as United struggled to break down Palace’s solid rearguard
Bruno Fernandes sees an effort blocked in the pouring rain at Old Trafford as United tried and failed to gain an equaliser
United didn’t deal with the free-kick very well, and when Anderson swung the ball back in from the right, Guehi sent a glancing header inches wide.
It was a close call and one that United didn’t heed when they went behind in similar circumstances in the 25th minute.
This time Amrabat gave away the free kick, and a cheap one at that when he bundled Ayew over on the left touchline with the Palace No 9 facing away from goal.
Eze whipped in a delivery and it took the faintest of touches off Rasmus Hojlund as he tried to head clear. The ball bounced through to Anderson who was only being loosely marked by Victor Lindelof and didn’t hesitate.
The Dane swung his right boot at it first time and connected perfectly, sending the ball flying past Andre Onana and into the top corner. It was a quite stunning strike.
At the other end, Anderson’s international Hojlund couldn’t quite convert when Marcus Rashford whipped a first-time pass into his path in the 12th minute. Hojlund managed to nick the ball over Guehi and then over Johnstone, but Tyrick Mitchell got back to clear before it crossed the line.
Palace’s goalscorer Joachim Andersen somehow managed to get this ball off the line as United came within inches of scoring
United’s Rasmus Hojlund gets his head to a cross but can’t steer the ball on target as they pushed for a second-half equaliser
Hojlund nudges the ball past Palace keeper Sam Johnstone in the first-half but his goalbound effort was cleared by Mitchell
Another wild effort from Hojlund flew into the Stretford End while Casemiro went close with a half volley from 25 yards and a glancing header from Fernandes’ corner before half-time.
The Brazilian wasn’t giving up and when Varane clipped a hopeful ball into the box nine minutes after the restart, Casemiro almost turned it into something with an overhead kick that flew narrowly wide.
Hojlund headed straight at Johnstone from Fernandes’ cross and the United skipper forced the Palace keeper to beat away a thumping effort as United turned the screw in the rain.
It was backs to the wall stuff from the visitors, literally in the case of Ward who was facing the other way when Fernandes’ pass to Rashford hit him on the back of the right hand. United’s penalty appeals were in vain as there was clearly no intent from the Palace defender.
Harry Maguire appeals for handball during the closing stages at Old Trafford but referee Chris Kavanagh is unmoved
Delight for Palace’s Joel Ward as he celebrates with their travelling supporters at Old Trafford following the final whistle
Ten Hag sent on Alejandro Garnacho for Pellistri and the young Argentina international had an immediate impact, accelerating down the left to fire in a cross. Johnstone punched the ball away but only so far as Amrabat whose 20-yard effort clipped the top of the bar.
Dalot penetrated down the right and crossed for Mason Mount to head wide from point-blank range, and Garnacho got down the left again but this time the ball deflected off Anderson who was inches away from cancelling out his goal. It felt like a matter of time before United would find a way through.
Ten Hag threw on Christian Eriksen and Anthony Martial followed by Harry Maguire. They went close to a winner in the first minute of added time when Dalot’s deflected cross was cleared from under the crossbar and Garnacho’s follow-up effort was blocked. But it wasn’t to be and the boos at the final whistle told their own story.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Onana; Dalot, Varane (Maguire 87), Lindelof (Van de Beek 88), Amrabat; Casemiro, Mount (Martial 77); Pellistri (Garnacho 61), Fernandes (c), Rashford (Eriksen 77); Hojlund
Substitutes not used: Bayindir (GK); Evans, McTominay, Hannibal
Manager: Erik ten Hag
Booked: Casemiro, Mount, Amrabat
Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1): Johnstone; Ward (c), Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Doucoure, Hughes; J Ayew, Eze (Richards 88), Schlupp (Riedewald 78); Mateta
Substitutes not used: Matthews (GK); Holding, Cline, Ebiowei, Rak-Sakyi, Ozoh, Ola-Adebomi
Manager: Roy Hodgson
Scorer: Andersen 25 Booked: Hughes, Ward
Referee: Chris Kavanagh Attendance: 73,428
Post source: Daily mail