LONDON (AFP) – Manchester United suffered a miserable start to their Premier League campaign as Wilfried Zaha fired Crystal Palace to a shock 3-1 win at Old Trafford, while Arsenal struck late through substitute Eddie Nketiah to beat West Ham 2-1.
On a day of high drama Leeds edged Fulham 4-3 to earn their first top-flight victory since 2004 late on Saturday and Everton went top of the table as Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 destruction of 10-man West Brom.
On the second weekend of the new campaign, United were playing for the first time after being given an extra week of rest due to their involvement in the latter stages of last season’s Europa League.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s lethargic side were well below their best and Palace took full advantage thanks to Andros Townsend’s seventh minute strike and Zaha’s double against his former club.
There was a hint of controversy about Zaha’s first goal as video assistant referee (VAR) ruled Victor Lindelof had handled Jordan Ayew’s shot even though the ball was hit with force at him from close quarters.
David De Gea saved Ayew’s spot-kick, but VAR intervened again to order a retake as United’s keeper had strayed off his line and this time Zaha converted from the spot.
United’s only close-season signing Donny van de Beek came off the bench and the former Ajax midfielder reduced the deficit with a debut goal in the 80th minute.
But Zaha, who endured a difficult spell at United before rejoining Palace, showed why the Eagles are so keen to keep him amid speculation over his future as the Ivory Coast winger lashed home in the 85th minute.
For the first time in six years, United were beaten in their opening league game.
It was a chastening start to the season for United, who have come under fire from fans frustrated at their relatively modest transfer outlay compared to their title rivals.
Arsenal capitalised on the chance to open up a six-point gap over United in the battle for a top-four finish despite a poor performance of their own.
Alexandre Lacazette headed the Gunners into a 25th minute lead from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cross. But Mikel Arteta’s men were largely outplayed by the Hammers, who faced stinging criticism after a 2-0 home defeat to Newcastle on the opening weekend.
Michail Antonio levelled just before half-time and came close putting the visitors’ in front when his header came crashing back off the crossbar.
But Arsenal grabbed all three points five minutes from time when Dani Ceballos broke the West Ham offside trap and squared for Nketiah to tap home.
At Elland Road, promoted Leeds were involved in another eye-catching encounter in their first top-flight home match for 16 years.
After losing 4-3 at champions Liverpool on the opening weekend, Helda Costa fired Marcelo Bielsa’s free-scoring side ahead in the fifth minute.
Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised from the penalty spot but Leeds soon retook the lead with a spot-kick of their own, converted by Mateusz Klich.
Patrick Bamford and Costa’s superb strike looked have Leeds cruising to their first win back in the top-flight by the hour mark.
But Fulham pulled one back in the 62nd minute through Bobby Decordova-Reid and Mitrovic’s towering header four minutes later set up a tense finale.