Unfortunately for Manchester United, the lack of work in key areas over the summer has meant that the cracks are beginning to show after just three games.
The draw at Wolves last Monday was disappointing, but just about acceptable considering the first half performance and results there last season. A lot of decent teams will come away from Molineux with less this season.
A win against Palace at the weekend would have meant seven points from a possible nine; not a bad start.
But in losing to Roy Hodgson’s side United now have just four points. Not a good start at all. And for any onlookers in the sun on Saturday afternoon, the action on the pitch suggested a lack of action throughout the summer.
The obvious place to start is with the criminal piece of business in letting your top scorer from the last two seasons leave without an adequate replacement.
Regardless of the fact that Romelu Lukaku might not have fitted into Ole’s preferred style, United are now a player down in the striking stakes – a key position if they have any hope of challenging for the top four.
While many fans are excited about Anthony Martial getting more chances through the middle and the added responsibility on Marcus Rashford’s shoulders, the fact of the matter is there’s now no focal point for the attack that can be relied on to score enough goals.
The added problem for Ole is that whoever occupies the front four berths, every single one of them struggles for consistency. Whilst Dan James can be discounted for this on his performances so far, you can expect him to suffer a dip in form at 21.
The most worrying aspect is that they’re never on song together. Never does the front four all fire in the same match. At least one of them will have a poor game and in the case of Jesse Lingard, three on the bounce so far this season.
This simply doesn’t happen at Liverpool or City. If players don’t perform they’re out of the team. There isn’t that pressure at United.
The midfield is also light and it’s a big ask on the shoulders of Scott McTominay currently.
Why no new signings were brought in to replace Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini is a strange one to say the least.
But the biggest lack of action, unfortunately seems to have come from the manager and his staff in the work they’ve been doing on the training pitch in the summer.
Even when things were rosy in Ole’s early days, there were problems at Old Trafford. The plan away from home was always to hit teams on the break with the pace of the forward players.
It doesn’t work at home when teams sit back and ask United to break them down. It’s no surprise that the first points dropped in that particular purple patch were at home against Burnley.
We all know what then went on to happen against the likes of Cardiff and PSG at Old Trafford, and even in the lucky wins against West Ham and Southampton.
When teams sit back and invite United on, there is no defined way of playing. If the problems were there throughout Ole’s tenure last season, why has nothing been done to sort it out now?
On the evidence of the Palace game, United are still clueless in this regard. James took his goal well and there were a couple of decent shouts for penalties in addition to the one United got.
Other than that there wasn’t too much in the way of chances created. Palace knew this was the way to go and if they didn’t already every other team in the league will now know just what to do.
Most United fans are accepting that this will be an up and down season. When so much trust is placed in youth, you simply won’t steamroll teams every single weekend.
But what United fans expect is an identifiable way of playing. The beginnings of a style that they can get behind and that the players understand and can buy into. Mason Greenwood should know exactly what to do when he gets on the pitch. If the more experienced forward players don’t, how can he be given the room to really show his potential?
What the fans are currently seeing is stodgy and clueless football at Old Trafford, much like what’s been served up under every manager post-Fergie. There’s plenty of work to be done, but things don’t look like changing anytime soon.