Manchester United will look to reclaim second place in the Premier League with a win over Crystal Palace on Monday night.
Manchester United will travel to Selhurst Park as they go head to head against relegation battlers Crystal Palace in matchweek 29 of the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils come into the game high on confidence having beaten rivals Chelsea 2-1 last time out. But, since then, they have slipped to third in the league standings with Liverpool moving into second following their win on Saturday. United will be hoping to get all three points against the Eagles and move back into the second position.
Palace, on the other hand, have come a long way since the last time these two sides met. There has been immense improvement under Roy Hodgson, but the threat of relegation still looms as they sit 18th in the table with 27 points from 28 games. The manager will be hoping to cause a major upset on Monday night and in the process, move away from the drop zone.
Team News & Tactics
Defensive mainstay Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who is on loan from Manchester United, will be ineligible for the game. Former Red Devil Wilfried Zaha is another major absentee for the home team with an injury. Yohan Cabaye, Julian Speroni, Joel Ward, Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho, Jason Puncheon, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Wilfried Zaha, Bakary Sako and Connor Wickham are all expected to be absent as well, to compound on Palace’s troubles.
Hodgson did receive some boost in the form of the return of defenders Martin Kelly and Jeffrey Schlupp. And goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri, who was signed on a free only last Friday, is also expected to be available for selection.
Welsh international Wayne Hennessey is expected to start in goal for the Eagles, with youngster Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Patrick van Aanholt likely to slot in as the full-backs on the right and left sides respectively. At the heart of the defence, it will be Kelly partnering up with James Tomkins.
Hodgson is very much guaranteed to go in with a three-man central midfield comprising of Serbian enforcer Luka Milivojevic alongside Jairo Riedewald and James McArthur. The former two will play a more restrained role whereas McArthur will be given the license to drive his team forward from the middle.
The attacking trident will be composed of former Tottenham Hotspur man Andros Townsend on the right and January arrival Alexander Sorloth out on the left side, with Christian Benteke operating as the main striker for Palace. With Townsend’s pace and Benteke’s strength and physicality, they have what it takes to cause a few problems to the United defence.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Hennessey; wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Tomkins, van Aanholt; Riedewald, Milivojevic, McArthur; Townsend, Benteke, Sorloth;
Mourinho revealed that he will go into the game without the services of midfielders Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, while the likes of Daley Blind, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have also been ruled out of the fixture by the manager. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back in training, but isn’t expected to return to action against the Eagles on Monday.
No changes are expected at the back for United for Monday’s game. David De Gea will resume duties between the posts for the twenty-time English champions and will be protected by a back four consisting of Antonio Valencia, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young. The full-backs will have to fare better in their forward forays than they did last time around against Chelsea though.
In the middle of the park, academy graduate Scott McTominay is once again expected to start after a rise in prominence in recent weeks. Serbian powerhouse Nemanja Matic will play as the deepest of the three-man midfield, with club-record signing Paul Pogba likely to be afforded more freedom to get involved in attacks.
Jesse Lingard, who scored the winning goal against Chelsea last week, could be handed a start on the right-flank, with January arrival Alexis Sanchez starting out on the left-side. Romelu Lukaku had a brilliant game last weekend and will once again be hoping to lead his team to a victory on Monday.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young; McTominay, Matic, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Alexis;
1. Manchester United to win @ 1.57
2. Manchester United Clean sheet – NO @ 2.00
3. Romelu Lukaku to score anytime @ 2.30
1. Jesse Lingard to score anytime @ 3.20
- Crystal Palace haven’t won any of their 17 Premier League meetings with Manchester United (D3, L14) – a Premier League record for most games against an opponent without winning.
- United haven’t lost three consecutive Premier League away games since January 1996.
- Jose Mourinho has only lost three straight away league games once in his managerial career (August 2006 with Chelsea).
- The Eagles are winless in their previous five league matches and have lost consecutive games for the first time since they were beaten in their opening seven fixtures of the season.
- United have already equalled last season’s tally of 18 league wins, and only need a point to match their final total of 54 for 2016-17.
Player to watch
Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
The Belgian marksman put in arguably his best display in a Manchester United shirt last week against former club Chelsea, firing in a goal and setting up the winner to lead his side to three points in a crucial game. Lukaku has now scored 22 goals in 40 games across all competitions, with 13 of them coming in the Premier League. He is also United’s second-best player in terms of number of assists in the league (6) behind Paul Pogba.
Indeed, it was his first performance of note against a top-six side this season and Lukaku will be intent on building on that showing and carry the momentum against Palace.
Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United
Hodgson’s Eagles have been struggling of late and have failed to register a win in five games running in the league and it is unlikely that they will be able to bounce back against this United side who will be high on confidence following their exploits last weekend. So, here at the Hard Tackle, we predict a 2-0 win for the Red Devils that will take them back into second place in the table.