Manchester United's rather timid transfer window faces further scrutiny after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side opened its 2020-21 Premier League campaign with a 3-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Donny van de Beek, the only new signing at Old Trafford this summer, briefly gave the Red Devils hope of a comeback after earlier finishes from Palace pair Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha. However, former United winger Zaha notched another goal in the 85th minute to effectively end the contest.
"Sometimes it doesn't happen as planned," Solskjaer summarized of United's transfer business in the buildup to the game, according to ESPN's Rob Dawson.
The Eagles started positively and took the lead in the seventh minute when Townsend arrived on the blind side of Luke Shaw to latch onto a dangerous ball played across the box. Jeffrey Schlupp, who assisted the goal, easily got the better of Victor Lindelof before he hit his low delivery.
Crystal Palace's second strike was controversial. A penalty was awarded after the ball struck Lindelof's arm in an unnatural position, but Jordan Ayew's limp spot-kick was kept out by David De Gea. But, when play had restarted, the referee ordered a retake after the video assistant referee ruled De Gea had encroached before the penalty was taken. Zaha took advantage of Palace's second chance from 12 yards.
Van de Beek scored on his United debut with a cool short-range finish after the ball bounced off a Palace defender and into his path. But an Alex Ferguson-esque fight back was promptly quelled when Lindelof missed a tackle, allowing Zaha to skip forward and smash past De Gea at his near post.
United's next Premier League fixture is at Brighton & Hove Albion next Saturday. Before that, they face a League Cup tie against second-tier Luton Town on Tuesday.
Palace, meanwhile, have started the season with maximum points from two matches. They return to action next weekend against in-form Everton.