9th May, 2015; 17-30 GMT
Selhurst Park, London
Crystal Palace play hosts to Manchester United in this weekenda s game of the English Premier League at Selhurst Park.
To say that Alan Pardew has been a breath of fresh air for Crystal Palace would be an understatement. Since taking over the reins at Selhurst Park, Pardew has stabilised the club and ensured that they are safe from relegation and can see out the season with comfort without having to look over their shoulders. However, they will want to finish the season on a high, and being on a 3 match losing streak, similar to Manchester United, they would want to break the season with a draw, if not a win.
For Manchester United, the business end of the season is fast turning into a nightmare. What seemed a sure shot place in the top 4 is now becoming a struggle, something fans are used to seeing Arsenal go through every season. And they have their own Tottenham to contend with, in the form of Liverpool, and if the similarity does not point towards to the footballing gods having a laugh every season for their entertainment, then I dona t know what else is. Instead of bouncing back from the defeat against Chelsea, they have slumped to two more demoralising losses and unless they quickly start racking the points, they will concede 4th place to Liverpool.
Team News and Tactics
For Crystal Palace, there is only one seriously injured player in Jonathan Williams, but Jerome Thomas, Marouane Chamakh and Frazier Campbell are all close to the first team. Whether they will be fit enough to be in the team is still a doubt. While Mike Jedinak and Glenn Murray were dropped to the bench in the last game, it is more than likely that Pardew will restore them back in the starting 11.
Pardew will be more than aware that he would be able to cement his legacy if he were to make sure that Palace finish their highest ever in the league table this season. To do that, he will need to make sure he wins the rest of the games, and so will set up his team to take advantage of any lapses from the United defence.
Expected Line up: Speroni; Ward, Delaney, Dann, Kelly; Ledley, McArthur, Puncheon; Bolasie, Murray, Zaha.
For Manchester United, it is very much a do or die situation. While they are still 4 points away from Liverpool and hold the advantage to finish in the top 4, they are in that position only because Liverpool failed to get even a point against a Hull side that got ripped apart by Arsenal on Monday. United cannot afford to drop any more points, and more importantly urgently need to arrest the slide they are in which has seen them lose to Everton and West Bromwich Albion after the defeat to Chelsea.
Van Gaal, however, doesna t look like hea ll stop tinkering with his side, and will continue to play Rooney in the midfield despite him being the best striker at the club right now. He has a plethora of injuries in the form of Carrick, Rojo, Rafael, Shaw and Evans and added to that is the virus that apparently has hit the squad. How fit the players would and whether they would be up for the match is a question that can only be answered after the kick off.
Expected Line up: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Jones, Valencia; Herrera; Di Maria, Rooney, Fellaini, Mata; Van Persie
- Manchester United, in all the games against Crystal Palace in the English Premier League, have not been beaten, with 9 wins and 2 draws.
- Crystal Palace have the joint lowest clean sheet record in the EPL this season, along with Queens Park Rangers.
- Manchester United havena t lost 3 games in a row for 14 years, the last instance being December 2001, and have lost 4 games in a row way back in 1961.
With the virus affecting the players, it is more than likely that United players wouldna t be too up for this game, but would have enough quality to see out at least a draw. Pardew may go for the win, but hea ll also take a draw against a top side.
Predicted Score: Crystal Palace 1-1 Manchester United