Manchester United will hope to overcome the burden of an injury-stricken roster as they travel to face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Wednesday.
Crystal Palace have found form in broken intervals this season. The Eagles still find themselves in the thick of things as far as the relegation battle is concerned, with the team still eight points away from the magical 38-point mark. But, they have seldom looked in trouble and the latest win over Leicester City was a step in the right direction.
Manchester United are on a roll. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer broke the record of most points in his first 10 Premier League games in charge with a draw against Liverpool, having amassed a total of 26 points from the 10 matches he has overseen. With the defeat against PSG the only one so far, Solskjaer has to face a fresh demon in the form of injuries.
As many as 10 first-team players are out injured and the manager will be aware that United cannot afford to slip up, with Arsenal taking a minor lead in the race for top four.
United’s last visit to Selhurst Park earned them a narrow 3-2 win, with Nemanja Matic scoring a late screamer to complete a monumental comeback. Before their latest meeting, we take a closer look at the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
Mamadou Sakho is out for an indefinite period following a knee injury, which means Scott Dann could come into the starting eleven. Apart from the long-term absentees Julian Speroni, Pape Souare and Martin Kelly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka continues to be a doubt and is unlikely to be risked for the Manchester United clash, meaning the rest of the back four should stay the same.
The switch to a midfield three seems to be working and Roy Hogdson will likely retain it. Jeffrey Schlupp, Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur should take up the spots in midfield.
In attack, Wilfried Zaha is guaranteed to start on the left, with Andros Townsend on the right. Michy Batshuayi scored against Leicester and should start on Wednesday as well.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Tomkins, Dann, Van Aanholt; McArthur, Milivojevic, Schlupp; Townsend, Batshuayi, Zaha
A spate of injuries is forcing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hand for his team selection on Wednesday. Marcus Rashford is doubtful while Jesse Lingard, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata are all confirmed absentees after being forced off in the 0-0 draw against Liverpool.
Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian are still a fair distance away from being eligible for selection while Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are close but not close enough to be picked on Wednesday. We could see Diogo Dalot coming in for Ashley Young on the right to give the veteran some rest, while the rest of the back four is expected to remain the same.
Fred should come into the lineup at last, slotting beside Paul Pogba, with Andreas Pereira likely to play the Nemanja Matic role in the Serb’s absence.
In attack, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez are guaranteed to start. But, the third spot is up for grabs and we expect Tahith Chong to be afforded the opportunity.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): De Gea; Dalot, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Pogba, Pereira, Fred; Chong, Lukaku, Sanchez
1. Manchester United to win @ 2.30
2. Romelu Lukaku to score anytime @ 2.87
1. Manchester United Clean Sheet – YES @ 3.25
1. Crystal Palace have managed to keep just one clean sheet at home against Manchester United in their last five league games.
2. Crystal Palace have scored in each of their last five home games in all competitions.
3. Manchester United have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three away games in all competitions.
4. Manchester United have conceded just 6 goals in 10 league games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
5. Romelu Lukaku has a record of 6 goals in 11 appearances against Crystal Palace – 2 goals in 3 as a Manchester United player.
Player to Watch
Chances are, the youngster will be named in the starting eleven on Wednesday. Even if he isn’t, he will be one of the prime candidates to come on in the second half as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has always opted for fresh pair of legs out wide after the hour mark.
The right wing is still a position United have failed to find a solution for and young Tahith could be the solution. As Solskjaer himself admitted in his pre-match conference, a young attacker coming into the lineup should express himself and if Chong manages to do just that against Crystal Palace, he might become a candidate to fill the spot on a more regular basis for the immediate present and near future.
Crystal Palace 0-1 Manchester United
We believe the match will be as cagey as the reverse fixture was this season. Crystal Palace will play on the counter, trying to use the pace of Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp to threaten the Manchester United defensive shape. For United, it will be up to the form of individuals.
Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez have an excellent opportunity to make their presence known within the squad and step up in the time of injuries. Expect a narrow win for United at Selhurst Park.