Manchester United‘s nine-game winning run came to an end in frustrating fashion on Wednesday evening, with a late Michael Olise stunner seeing Erik ten Hag’s side held to a 1-1 draw away to Crystal Palace.
After the highs of Saturday’s derby day triumph over Manchester City, the Red Devils struggled to truly get going in what was a limp display at Selhurst Park, having been left thankful for some David De Gea heroics to help deny Patrick Viera’s men.
The long-serving Spaniard had expertly tipped Odsonne Edouard’s dipping effort onto the crossbar just before the break, with United then subsequently taking the lead through Bruno Fernandes on the stroke of half-time.
With the visitors’ focus seemingly appearing to shift to Sunday’s upcoming encounter with league leaders Arsenal, the Old Trafford outfit then suffered the double blow of seeing Casemiro pick up a yellow card – ruling the Brazilian out of the trip to the Emirates – before that man Olise curled home a delightful free-kick at the death.
That performance and the eventual result has reinforced the notion that any talk of a title charge for the away side was undoubtedly premature, with United’s primary concern likely to be fending off the chasing pack in the battle for a top-four berth.
If Ten Hag’s men are to achieve that latter goal, they will no doubt need more from their leading figures in attack, with recent addition Wout Weghorst having endured an “indifferent” outing on what was his first appearance for the club, as per journalist Steven Railston.
The 6 foot 6 colossus had appeared something of a left-field signing for those at the Theatre of Dreams after joining on-loan from Burnley, having since failed to silence any doubters after making a limited impact against the Eagles.
Although the towering Dutchman – who had spent the first half of the campaign with Turkish giants Besiktas – did show flashes of his impressive hold-up play, the 30-year-old ultimately proved rather anonymous as he made just 28 touches in total – fewer than the aforementioned De Gea in the sticks (33).
That 69-minute showing also saw the one-time Wolfsburg brute complete just 14 of his 20 passes and lose possession on eight occasions, with his solitary attempt on goal having been a tame header that looped over the crossbar.
While it is far too early to write the 19-cap marksman off, there will have been concern at his failure to truly dominate in attack, having only won two of his eight total duels up against the youthful centre-back pairing of Marc Guehi and Chris Richards.
Such a tepid showing seemingly left the Mirror’s Dan Marsh feeling “underwhelmed“, with Weghorst no doubt needing to show much more if he is to truly challenge the absent Anthony Martial for a starting berth in the coming weeks.
With this hectic fixture list set to continue against the Gunners at the weekend there will be ample opportunity for the Netherlands international truly show what he can do, although there will no doubt be frustration that he was unable to make a bigger contribution on debut.