Manchester United’s turbulent season took another hit as they suffered a 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace, marking their fifth loss of the season and fourth in the Premier League. Despite building momentum with a mid-week victory, United finds themselves in the bottom half of the table as they enter October.
Joachim Andersen secured the decisive goal with a remarkable volley, capitalizing on a Jeffrey Schlupp flick-on from a set-piece in the first half. Although United dominated possession throughout the match, their overall performance fell short of expectations, raising questions about manager Erik ten Hag’s decisions.
One notable critique focuses on Mason Mount, who, since joining United, has failed to register a goal or an assist. Positioned alongside Casemiro in a two-man pivot, Mount’s starting role and deeper positioning have hindered his ability to impact the final third effectively. Mount’s struggle to replicate his Chelsea form is attributed to the positional requirements of his role under Ten Hag’s management.
Bruno Fernandes, the preferred No. 10 for United, remains a fixture in the lineup, leaving Mount to adapt to a more comprehensive role. Until this adjustment occurs, Mount’s goal and assist drought may persist.
The absence of Jadon Sancho and Antony created a void at right wing for United. Manager Ten Hag took a gamble by starting Facundo Pellistri over the slightly more experienced Alejandro Garnacho, who had scored United’s opener against Palace mid-week. While Garnacho’s proficiency on the left is acknowledged, his offensive contribution, demonstrated when he replaced Pellistri on the hour-mark, suggests he should have been the starting choice.
The defensive midfield deployment of Sofyan Amrabat at left-back, due to injuries sidelining all three designated left-backs, drew criticism. Despite playing in the same position against Palace earlier in the week, Amrabat was substituted after 60 minutes following some shaky moments. The decision to overlook Victor Lindelof, a center-back capable of slotting in as a makeshift full-back, and the vulnerability on United’s left-flank against Palace left Ten Hag accountable for the defensive lapses.
As Manchester United navigates a challenging period, questions linger about Ten Hag’s tactical decisions and the team’s ability to regain momentum in the Premier League.
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