Saturday, 24 October 2020 20:52

Photo Credit:Getty Images.

Manchester United have failed to win their first three home league games for the first time in 48 years after Edinson Cavani's debut failed to inspire the hosts in Saturday's 0-0 draw against Chelsea.

Cavani almost scored with his first touch after coming off the bench in the second half, but United were unable to break down Chelsea's well-drilled defence.

Chelsea will probably be happier with a point and might have had more if United skipper Harry Maguire had been punished for wrapping his arm around the throat of Cesar Azpilicueta as he defended a first-half corner.

Although they remain stuck in the bottom half of the table, United were at least able to avoid losing a third straight home league game at the start of the season for the first time since 1930.

In addition, they can also point to three good saves from Edouard Mendy, two to deny Marcus Rashford, including one in the final minute, and one where Bruno Fernandes was thwarted.

However, Chelsea's biggest scare was Mendy passing the ball across his goal and out for a corner in the first half when trying to pass to Thiago Silva.

Neither Edinson Cavani, on his debut, nor Paul Pogba could change things in the home side's favour after they were introduced as substitutes. Mason Greenwood was given the final eight minutes to make an impression - but did not.

Meanwhile Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson said Wilfried Zaha "deserves all the praise he is going to get", after the winger scored and made another goal to inspire a victory and inflict more misery on bottom side Fulham.

Palace were on the back foot for much of the encounter, with the hosts having almost 70% possession, but netted twice on the counter-attack.

Zaha's thumping strike was saved by Alphonse Areola but in the next move the Ivorian slipped a sublime reverse ball through to Jairo Riedewald to slot in the opener.

Fulham could have got back into the contest but Ademola Lookman twice hit the woodwork in the opening period, seeing an effort tipped onto the near post by Vicente Guaita and drilling a drive across goal which rattled the other post.

The visitors capitalised in the second half as Michy Batshuayi picked out Zaha for an easy finish at the back post.

Hodgson said of Zaha: "He reminds us that when he's on top of his game he's a very hard player to stop.

"He's an excellent player and that's what he's capable of doing. He deserves all the praise he's going to get."

Palace made a huge leap up the table, jumping from 14th place to fifth, while Fulham remain rooted and stay in search of their first win.