Selhurst Park, London
Saturday, 31 October, 2015, 1500 GMT
As Crystal Palace prepare to welcome Manchester United to Selhurst Park on Saturday, manager Alan Pardewa s men would know that they will have their jobs cut out against a team that is hungry to get their season back on track, after a couple of rather undesirable results.The same goes for Manchester United though, as even Crystal Palace have been experiencing similar disappointments of late.
While Crystal Palace are coming on the back of a humbling 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City, in the Round of 16 of the Capital One Cup in Midweek, the Red Devils would still be smarting from their humiliating loss (on penalties) to Championship side Middlesbrough FC. Both these teams are desperately looking for a way back into form, and three points from this match could impart a lot of confidence to either of the teams.
Team News and Tactical Brief:
Crystal Palace has a number of players hovering between the a injureda and the a doubtfula zone, ahead of the crucial game against Manchester United, and the the clouds of uncertainty surrounding some of their top players is something that is sure to haunt manager Alan Pardew, when he sits down to select his team.
Defenders Pape Souare and Joel Ward are both doubtful for the game, as they have picked up knocks from previous matches. However, Pardew has a ready replacement for Ward in the form of centreback Brede Hangeland.
One doubtful case that must be making Pardew tear his hair out, is that of midfield general Yohan Cabaye, who is not only the main creative force behind Palacea s play, but is also their highest goalscorer so far in this season, having netted the ball four times in the Premier League.
Another big worry for Pardew would be the absence of striking options Marouane Chamakh and Connor Wickham, who have both been ruled out of yet another match. Pardew does have the option of playing Fraizer Campbell or Patrick Bamford up front, but the two strikers have been unimpressive so far.
Dwight Gayle is the one who is most likely to start up front, as he made a comeback from a suspension in the last Premier League match against Leicester City. There is some good news for Pardew, as Jason Puncheon has been declared fit to play, which gives him some options for the flanks, or behind Gayle.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Hennessey, Souare, Dann, Hangeland, Kelly; McArthur, Cabaye; Bolasie, Puncheon, Sako; Gayle.
Although Manchester United do not have as many injury worries as Crystal Palace, the Red Devilsa manager Louis van Gaal has complained about the demanding schedule of English football, in which his team have had to play more than 15 matches in the last two months. This seems to be taking a toll on the Manchester United players, as Van Gaal himself admitted ahead of the midweek tie against Middlesbrough FC, saying that some of his players were in fact in the dreaded a red zonea . Also, with a difficult home Champions League match coming up against CSKA Moscow in midweek, Van Gaal could be expected to rest some of his top players.
However, Manchester Uniteda s poor form in front of goal is something that seems to be worrying fans and critics alike and they need to find a solution to this problem soon, as Leicester City, who are just one point behind them on the table, are in rampant form, and could soon reclaim one of the top-four spots if Manchester United do not win games.
Although defenders Luke Shaw (leg injury), Antonio Valencia (foot injury), and Paddy McNair (abdominal injury) have been ruled out of this match, Van Gaal would not be too concerned, as Manchester United have been strong at the back. While Chris Smalling and Phil Jones can take up their roles in central defence, Marcos Rojo can easily slide into the left-back role.
Their main problem lies up front, and the fact that wingman Memphis Depay and forward James Wilson are doubtful for the match will not help matters for the side that has not been able to score in their last two matches.
. Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Rojo, Smalling, Jones, Darmian; Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin; Martial, Herrera, Mata; Rooney.
- Manchester United have won three of their five away games in the Premier League this season, scoring eight times in the process.
- Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have had the opposite fortune in front of their own crowd, losing three and winning two, from their five home Premier League fixtures, so far this season. They conceded seven times in these five matches.
- Crystal Palace have lost all of their last four matches against Manchester United.
Player to watch out for:
Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
The 19-year-old has been excellent, since his big money move to Manchester United this summer, and has even drawn comparisons with Premier League legends like Thiery Henry. Although the Frenchman is expected to start on the left flank, instead of his favoured position in the middle, he could always switch with fellow forward Wayne Rooney and score the effective goal.
Crystal Palace 0-0 Manchester United
Both the sides are coming on the back of humiliating defeats in the Capital One Cup, and would be trying to find their lost form. However, with the striking woes that both these sides have been facing, a 0-0 draw seems to be most likely.
Blast from the past: