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Marcus Rashford did not wait to be told what was happening by Paul Pogba this time. There was no discussion, no decision by committee. He picked up the ball, put it down on the spot, breathed in, breathed out, picked his spot and smashed the penalty kick against the post.
In a week dominated by the fallout from Pogba’s missed penalty against Wolverhampton Wanderers, it turns out Rashford is capable of missing them too and, sadly, he can also be racially abused on social media when he does.
So, how many designated penalty kick takers do Manchester United need? There is the punchline to a joke in there somewhere, but nobody at Old Trafford is laughing because this defeat by Crystal Palace – the first time the London club have beaten United in the Premier League era - exposed more than just the old truism anyone can miss from 12 yards.
This was an afternoon when old frustrations and lingering concerns about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and depth of his squad re-emerged. A game that reminded everyone of familiar failings and shortcomings. United have been losing games like this for far too long.
Forget the penalty miss, as irritating as it was, and focus instead on the fact that, asked to find a way through a packed defence, United quickly lost their way, conceded a ridiculously soft goal at the end of Palace’s first attack and, then, having finally equalised through Daniel James with two minutes to go, somehow managed to lose in stoppage time when Patrick van Aanholt beat David De Gea at his near post.
United have been confused for too long, in recruitment, planning, but also performance. This brought all of those topics back up for discussion.
After that big win over Chelsea, the encouraging draw at Wolves, this defeat was the sort of early season reality check that will realign expectations. A top six place, rather than the top four looks realistic. It is far from certain though.
“We did not have enough urgency or penetration,” said Solskjaer. “We made it too easy for them in the first half because we didn’t have the change in tempo. We were better in the second half.
“We have to learn and we have to learn quickly. The last two games, we should have got six points, if you look at it as a neutral. We’re two penalty misses away from sitting pretty with nine point, but teams will come here and defend against us, drop deep, like Palace did.”
Palace came to defend, a five-man midfield retreating into their own half whenever a United defender collected possession to try and build an attack, with striker Jordan Ayew effectively turning into a six-man unit.
Behind them, the back four guarded the edge of the penalty area. Palace were beaten by Sheffield United the previous weekend, a limp, error-strewn display that shamed them.
This was a different sort of test, an examination of a different kind and, in many ways, easier too. Nobody expected them to win here, they did not have to go pushing for a victory. It worked out perfectly.
“The key was the defensive discipline and we stuck to the script at all times,” said Hodgson. “We knew if we did not seal the spaces, if we did not get back into position when we lost the possession, if we did not let them have the ball in non-threatening position, they would punish us.
“We rode our luck a bit with their missed penalty, but we defended brilliantly. When you have been working as long as I have in the game, there are lots of little nuggets out there, but I will certainly remind myself of the fact I’m the first Crystal Palace manager to beat Manchester United in the Premier League over the next few days.”
United poured forward throughout, full backs playing as wingers, centre backs as auxiliary midfielders. Palace fell back and absorbed it all.
Rashford might have scored early on, sent through on goal by Jesse Lingard, but as he prepared to shoot, Martin Kelly got back to make a superb recovery tackle.
Moments later, Rashford and Luke Shaw combined on the left-hand side of the area. Anthony Martial’s shot was blocked, but spun kindly for Daniel James, who drilled the ball back towards goal, but somehow it flicked off the heel of van Aanholt and Vicente Guaita got it clear.
The goal was surely coming and eventually it did - for Palace. Their first attack of the game, launched by Guaita’s kick. Victor Lindelof was flat footed and did not attack the header. Jeffrey Schlupp did, running, leaping, winning. Ayew had anticipated he would and the striker finished superbly.
Terrible defending. Old Trafford was stunned and Palace almost scored a second immediately only for Schlupp and Ayew to get in each other’s way, the ball eventually falling for Wilfried Zaha but the angle was tight and De Gea saved.
United lost impetus and their way. The second half started with another James shot blocked by van Aanholt at the far post. Old Trafford roared, but Palace held firm, Young scuffing a volley when he should have hit the target, Martial firing over the bar after he had been pulled back by Kelly. It probably should have been a penalty, but referee Paul Tierney said no. “I cannot believe VAR did not overturn that one, it is a stonewall pebalt” said Solskjaer. His players would have probably missed it anyway
United finally got the penalty they deserved, Scott McTominay tripped by Luka Milivojevic, but once again failed to covert. James looked like he had rescued a point, van Aanholt denied them even that.
Oh dear oh dear!
Brilliant win for Palace - that's their first ever win over Manchester United in the Premier League.
90 mins +4 - Man Utd 1 Crystal Palace 2
De Gea should have saved that shot. It's the kind of save he usually makes with his feet but he's dived and the ball slips underneath him. Disaster for United!
NO THEY DON'T! PALACE HAVE A WINNER!
Zaha brings the ball forward and into the United box, Wan-Bissaka tracks him, sticks out a leg to tackle and passes the ball to Van Aanholt! But he's off balance now and can't recover, Van Aanholt knows it and batters a shot below De Gea/through De Gea to make it 2-1. Wow.
90 mins - Man Utd 1 Crystal Palace 1
United going for the winner now. Do they have enough time?
THEY'VE DONE IT!
Man Utd 1 Crystal Palace 1
Pogba loses the ball to Zaha, works hard to win it back and slips a pass forward. United's forwards link one touch passes around the edge of the area, James shifts the ball onto his right foot and curls it into the top corner. Brilliant goal. Absolutely superb.
88 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
If the score stays this way, Man Utd will have won three games out of their last 15. That... that isn't good.
Absolutely no sign it's going to change here today anyway. Mata has just hoofed a long ball straight out of play.
86 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
United still working the ball around the Palace box but have walls of players in their way. McTominay is taken off for Juan Mata, Solskjaer needs a creative spark in the final third.
84 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
McCarthy is on now for Palace, meaning two ex-Hamilton Academical players are on the pitch against Manchester United. If you've never seen Hamilton play, trust me that this is a very surprising sentence.
82 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
OOOOOOHHHHHHH!!!! That looks like a penalty! Rashford, gets ahead of the defender, is off balance as Kelly comes across and clips him... and he goes down. VAR are reviewing it... and say no penalty.
80 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Zaha is booked for fouling James while chasing him up the pitch. He laughs about it and I get why - that seems harsh to even be a foul.
Andros Townsend is about to come on for Jeffrey Schlupp, who takes his time to leave the pitch via the furthest side of the pitch rather than the nearest like he's supposed to. Guess how much the Man Utd players appreciate that? None. None amount.
77 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Rashford burns Ward for pace and is brought down on the edge of the area. Clear foul but it's only a free-kick.
United win a corner from the free-kick, McTominay winning another header at the back post.
75 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
The bounce just isn't with United today. Any 50/50 seems to be landing with Palace players and Hodgson's side are trying to turn the middle of the park into a tackle zone. Foul foul foul foul foul and it must be so annoying to play against.
Ayew is taken off for Benteke.
72 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Aaaaand James is being booked for diving for the second game in a row. And this is a clear foul. That's happened to him twice now - unfair bookings for being tripped up. That's what a reputation will do for you.
70 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
This is a classic, 'if anything, Clive, he's hit that too well' penalty. Great contact, power, right in the corner... but it smacks off the post and flies across the goal and out.
GET POGBA BACK ON PENALTIES!
69 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Rashford's taking it. Ooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh BIG MOMENT.
68 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
United probing in the final third, their deepest outfield player standing a good 10 yards inside the Palace half. The doors are locked and bolted and play keeps being shifted from side to side. Still no opening. And all of a sudden McTominay goes on a run, Martial controls AND MCTOMINAY GOES DOWN! PENALTY!
66 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
VAR check for red card. Pogba fouls Milivojevic, McArthur comes steaming in and leaves a bit on Pogba... who hasn't enjoyed the attention. It's probably not a red... but I'm not a referee so let's see what's happening.
63 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Rashford carries the ball up the pitch, rides a challenge and looks for the through ball but James runs inside when he should go wide to stretch the play. The ball is passed out for a goal kick.
Maguire is going round telling teammates what to do now. He's just ordered Lindelof to take a free-kick rather than Young. McTominay goes up for the header and lands on Van Aanholt.
60 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Fun fact: Crystal Palace have never beaten Manchester United in the Premier League.
58 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Young is now getting shirty with McArthur, doing that walk he does where it looks like he's carrying a multipack of toilet rolls under each arm. You know the one. Like he's fallen in a swimming pool wearing all his clothes and is trying to dry off. Like he's a cowboy.
Anyway. James is now on the left wing, Rashford is just to the right, Martial is also central and I think Greenwood is out on the right wing.
56 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
VAR says no penalty. Pogba's getting all fired up and in Milivojevic's face.
Lingard off, Greenwood on.
55 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
ASHLEY YOOOOUUUUUUNNNNNNGGGGG has absolutely shanked a volley inside 10 yards. The cross was good, Young had space, but his shot bounces into the floor and over.
OGS has had enough and Mason Greenwood is ready to come on. I'd imagine it'll be Lingard who goes off here but that would mean a change of shape to a 4-2-4 which might leave them short in midfield.
Martial wants a penalty! A brilliant turn inside the area, Kelly holds him, hauls him down and how the hell is that not a foul?! That's mental. No word on whether VAR are looking at it.
53 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
"Keep playing, keep passing!" yells Solskjaer from the touchline as Pogba tries a couple of ambitious long balls inside the Palace half. Young wins a free-kick from Zaha just as Palace threaten to get away.
Pogba hits a pass towards Lingard in space and Lingard's touch lets him down. Had he controlled that he had space and time to shoot... and Pogba looks frustrated. In Lingard's defence, the ball was bobbling and had a bit of weight on it.
50 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Great play by Young at the back post! Pogba spots him and plays a great curling ball across, Young's first touch buys him a yard and he finds James at the back post... but his shot is deflected over for a corner and there's a foul after that.
48 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Early yellow card for Wan-Bissaka, he pulls back Schlupp to prevent him getting away and putting in a cross. Palace straight back to targeting their ex-right-back.
James gets a strong challenge from Kouyate after backing into him to shield the ball. For a second he looks like he wants to fight the Palace midfielder... but the boy looks hard as nails and decides against it. A wise choice.
KICK OFF 2
And we're back.
I wonder if this is because that's where Wan-Bissaka plays
My cropping tool thing has decided to cut the rest of this image out but it shows that 56.2 per cent of Palace's attacks have gone down the left wing. Expect that to change in the second half because Ashley Young is now the left-back. Man Utd don't have a particularly strong bench either.
Palace good for their lead here. Lindelof is weak in the air and being beaten too easily by Ayew, that one mistake has cost United a goal.
Solskjaer needs to get his players revved up for the second half. The passing was too slow, predictable and without muscle and aggression at either end, United are being kept quiet.
45 mins +3 - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Ayew takes a knock to the teeth from Pogba's shoulder. Accidental but that'll hurt.
United are able to get into the Palace half but then they immediately slow it down and give Palace the chance to win the ball back.
45 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
United need to speed things up. It's really slow possession football, Palace having little difficulty defending against it. Wan-Bissaka takes on Van Aanholt for pace - which is ambitious - and loses out for a goal kick.
42 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Pogba takes the free-kick this time but lifts it harmlessly over the bar. OGS is up and prowling the technical area, he's not happy with what he's seeing here.
40 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
Old Trafford is getting restless. The crowd are starting to turn on the players, growing frustrated with poor passing.. and Martial is in behind! Great pass! One v one and Cahill has bumped Martial to the ground! That could be a red... but the referee says yellow! Free-kick on the edge of the area, Cahill is lucky.
38 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
What is going on?!! Palace are in! They've just bundled their way through.. Zaha goes on a dribble past Young and Maguire, there's a man over on the left! Kouyate has turned up at the back post on the overlap! And now Zaha! Blocked. Man Utd's defending is all over the place with players out of position.
35 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1
I think Maguire might have been so far away from Lindelof because he was covering for Shaw at left-back. Shaw has now gone off for Young... that decision not to come off earlier may have cost his team a goal. Although it is clearly Lindelof's missed header that led to the goal.
Young gets a shot away from 20 yards after Rashford tries to dribble past about eight defenders.
IT'S 1-0 PALACE! Out of nowhere! Man Utd's defence undone with a simple ball over the top! OGS looks furious.
Schlupp jumps higher than Lindelof and easily wins a header, nodding on to the rushing Ayew. He keeps his cool and finishes low to the bottom corner! Poor defending from the United centre-backs, Maguire was too far from Lindelof to help there.
31 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
Shaw is going to have to come off. Ashley Young getting ready to come on. Looks like he's feeling the back of his lright thigh, so possibly a hamstring problem, and that makes sense considering he pulled up after a 30 yard sprint down the wing.
Shaw wants to play on though apparently... and he's back. Hmmmm. It'll be bad news for everyone if he's sitting down again in five minutes.
29 mins -Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
James is down off the ball with what might be an injury but after a bit of attention from the physio is back on his feet.
And now Luke Shaw is down off the ball with a problem. Injuries everywhere.
27 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
Rashford shimmies up to it... and puts his shot just over the bar. He's tried to catch the goalkeeper out there by putting it top right rather than top left as you might expect.
26 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
Pogba is getting further forward to join the attack and is making things happen on the edge of the penalty area. United try to thread the ball through as Palace panic and try to tackle, the ref spots a foul and gives Rashford the chance to shoot again from 20 yards. This is a great chance to score.
23 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
United's press is great immediately after losing the ball, they looked really well coached and have players in position to stop Palace getting out their own half.
20 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
United fans are enjoying this. Passes are being cheered as the team works their way up the pitch, James is wiped out by Van Anholt just as he threatens to break away behind on the right wing.
18 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
BIG CHANCE! United have players over in the box, the ball bounces and spins into the path of James about 10 yards out and he puts his foot through it. The shot is low and hits van Aanholt, blocked before it can beat the goalkeeper.
16 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
Here's your Palace team shape:
15 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
Ward has taken an accidental elbow to the nose and now this strange red liquid is coming out of it. Ward has been punctured. After a few minutes to get cleaned up, Rashford lines up another free-kick, this time about 30 yards out. He connects well... the ball flies and dips! But it's wide. Palace players in the wall looked terrified as they turned to follow the flight of the ball.
12 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
Ooooohhhh controversy! Lingard clearly fouls Milivojevic, kicking him off the ball. The Palace man goes down howling in pain but he'd be better off getting up because play is continuing! Man Utd win possession and counter high up the pitch, Rashford is in behind the defence... and slips while shooting. Chance gone. Palace would have been raaaaaging if that had been a goal.
10 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
Martial is brought down 25 yards from goal, the referee lets play continue but James can't create anything with the ball. Now it's a free-kick and Rashford is lining it up like a knuckleball. Here it comes... abut it's a chip to the back post! Maguire comes in and heads back, Zaha closes down the loose ball and puts Shaw off. He blasts over the bar.
8 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
Corner from wide right is put into the area and McTominay rises highest to head at goal but puts his shot over the bar. Rashford and James are taking on the full-backs for pace on either wing but Palace are sitting deep to avoid it becoming a problem.
5 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
United fans (I think) are singing a version of Country Roads. I have no idea what the words are but assume they've changed many.
3 mins - Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 0
There's a weirdly aggressive moment early on from Ayew, as he boots the ball off Lingard's head from about a yard as the Man Utd player goes to ground following a tackle. He was lucky not to actually kick him in the face there but the referee's not seen anything untoward about it.
And they're off!
Here come the teams
It's a lovely day at Old Trafford and the players are out in the sun. They're playing that Premier League theme tune now.
Ed Woodward's transfer negotiations
How the teams will lineup
Manchester United are definitely a 4-2-3-1, with Pogba alongside McTominay in midfield. The front four will swap positions but expect Martial to be the central striker most of the time, with Rashford wide left and James wide right.
Palace is a bit weirder. It might be a 4-5-1 with Schlupp and Zaha on the wings to support Ayew as striker. Interesting decisions by Mr Hodgson. McArthur, Kouyate and Milivojevic is about as defensive a midfield three as you can get.
The Theatre of Dreams
Here we are! Old Trafford is ready for another episode of Manchester United vs Crystal Palace, a game that will tell us an awful lot about both sides.
Palace haven't started well and might be about to endure another long season, United tore apart Chelsea and drew with Wolves, suggesting they are probably top six but not much better.
Paul Pogba has been the talk of the town, and Premier League, and world this week after some morons sent him racist abuse after he missed a penalty. The boy doesn't get a break. Hopefully his head is in the right place because he's already looked brilliant this season. The criticism he gets is ridiculous and this week I argued that he is Man Utd's only elite player...
As for Palace. Well. Zaha didn't get his move and wasn't great in the 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United, and the 0-0 draw with Everton without him wasn't hugely impressive. Roy Hodgson knows how to do a 4-4-2 but Palace could really do with remembering how to score goals. An Andros Townsend thunderpunt would be most welcome this afternoon.
But first - let's look at the teams.
Man Utd: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, McTominay, James, Lingard, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Mata, Andreas Pereira, Young, Romero, Greenwood, Matic, Tuanzebe.
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Cahill, Kelly, van Aanholt, McArthur, Milivojevic, Kouyate, Zaha, Ayew, Schlupp.
Subs: Dann, Meyer, Townsend, Hennessey, Benteke, Wickham, McCarthy.
Benteke's been dropped! could be a change of shape for Palace here, potentially a 4-5-1.
Stay with us for all the action, updates and analysis.