Ralf Rangnick will take charge of his first game as the interim manager of Manchester United when they host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford this weekend.

Manchester United will be aiming to kickstart the Ralf Rangnick era with a victory when they lock horns with Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League.

Following a disastrous run of results over the past month, Manchester United parted ways with club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Michael Carrick installed as the caretaker until Rangnick’s appointment was confirmed. Under the former midfielder, the Red Devils won two games and drew one, most recently defeating Arsenal 3-2 on Thursday night with the German tactician in the stands.

As he watched on, Rangnick got a proper look at the team – the good, bad and ugly, as United rallied from a goal down to beat their rivals. He will now prepare to take charge of his first game but will have to do so without the assistance of Carrick, who stepped down after the midweek clash. A win could see the Red Devils move up to the fifth spot, should Tottenham drop points against Norwich City.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have made a promising start to life under new manager Patrick Vieira, with the team playing some exciting football even though it has not always reflected in the results. Indeed, the Eagles have lost their last two games, the latest one being a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Leeds, although it must be noted that they were on a seven-match unbeaten streak before that.

Currently 11th in the table, the London club have won on each of their last two visits to Old Trafford and will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of victories at the Theatre of Dreams, which could see them break into the top ten of the table. Ahead of this enticing match-up coming our way on Sunday afternoon, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester United

There are no fresh injury concerns for Manchester United to deal with ahead of the visit of Crystal Palace. Raphael Varane, Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani remain unavailable for the hosts, while Luke Shaw is a doubt due to a head injury he sustained last month. Nemanja Matic and Aaron Wan-Bissaka missed the midweek clash against Arsenal but are expected to be available on Sunday.

It will be interesting to see how Ralf Rangnick sets his team up in his first game in charge of the side. Although considering that he has had just a day or two with the squad, he might not tinker a lot with the way Manchester United set up against Arsenal, with maybe one or two personnel tweaks.

David de Gea, who was in the spotlight for the wrong reasons after the Arsenal clash, will be looking to redeem himself with a strong display in goal. Despite the potential availability of Wan-Bissaka, Diogo Dalot’s impressive display in midweek should earn him another start at right-back while Alex Telles continues on the left. Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire ought to pair up at the heart of the defence.

There could be one change in the middle of the park, with Donny van de Beek likely to get a run-out in place of Scott McTominay, with Rangnick likely to opt for a more attack-minded approach. Fred, who has looked decent in the past couple of matches, should hold on to his place in the double pivot, while Bruno Fernandes continues as the No. 10.

Jadon Sancho should be a guaranteed starter on the right flank, with the new boss already expressing his eagerness to work with the England international. Marcus Rashford should get the nod again on the left side, although the Manchester United No. 10 needs to step up after a couple of average displays. Cristiano Ronaldo is a certainty to feature at the top after his match-winning brace in midweek.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; van de Beek, Fred; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Ronaldo

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace could be without manager Patrick Vieira on the touchline after being called away from training on Friday due to personal reasons. Assistant manager Osian Roberts, who attended the pre-match presser in the Frenchman’s absence, could take charge in the dugout.

As for playing personnel, Joel Ward is ruled out with suspension while Joachim Andersen and James McArthur remain major doubts. Nathan Ferguson remains sidelined as well. The Eagles will set up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

With Ward ruled out, Nathaniel Clyne could make his first appearance of the season, starting at right-back while Tyrick Mitchell slots in on the opposite side. James Tomkins and Marc Guehi are the obvious picks at the heart of the defence for the Eagles, who will have their task cut out against an in-form Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cheikhou Kouyate ought to occupy the defensive midfield role for the visitors, where he will look to negate the influence of Bruno Fernandes. Support will come from Jeffrey Schlupp, who will also look to push forward when Palace are in possession. Conor Gallagher ought to take up the third midfield slot, and the onus of providing the attacking thrust from the centre will be on the Chelsea loanee.

Wilfried Zaha, who scored twice in the corresponding fixture last season, is a nailed-on starter on the left flank, while Jordan Ayew should pip Odsonne Edouard for a starting berth on the right. Christian Benteke will spearhead the attack for Palace and look to make a nuisance of himself against Victor Lindelof, who can be susceptible to physical threat.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Guaita; Clyne, Tomkins, Guehi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Kouyate, Schlupp; Ayew, Benteke, Zaha

Key Stats

  • Manchester United have lost their past two home matches against Crystal Palace, as many as in the previous 22 meetings at Old Trafford.
  • Crystal Palace won 2-0 away against Manchester City in the Premier League this season. The last London side to win away at both Manchester clubs in the same top-flight campaign was Arsenal in 1990/91.
  • Manchester United have conceded in 15 consecutive home matches across all competitions. It is their worst run since 1959 (21).
  • Wilfried Zaha scored twice in Palace’s 3-1 win away against Manchester United last season. No player to have previously played for the Red Devils in the Premier League has scored in consecutive away games against them in the competition.
  • Ralf Rangnick can become the first German manager to win his first Premier League game in charge.

Player to Watch

Bruno Fernandes

Since his debut for Manchester United in February last year, Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in more goals in all competitions than any other player for a Premier League club (79 – 45 goals, 34 assists). The Portuguese international made his 100th appearance for the Red Devils in midweek and capped it off with a well-taken goal.

Despite that, the ongoing campaign has been a largely frustrating one for the former Sporting CP playmaker, with his performance in recent weeks nowhere near the level expected. But, having got his name on the scoresheet against the Gunners, the 27-year-old can use it as a springboard to build his form back up ahead of the crucial festive period.


Manchester United 2-1 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace have made a lot of positive strides under Patrick Vieira but have now lost back-to-back games after having gone unbeaten in seven matches in a row. While they will take confidence from their performance on their last visit to Old Trafford, Manchester United will be riding high on confidence after the midweek comeback win against Arsenal. Furthermore, with the players set to be extra motivated to prove themselves in front of new manager Ralf Rangnick, the Red Devils should be able to eke out a narrow victory on Sunday.

6 Responses to “Manchester United vs Crystal Palace Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Man United tomorrow match
    Manchester win
    place lost
    Ronaldo 2
    sancho 1
    Bruno Assist 3
    de gea man of the match

  2. Simon Goodman says:

    MUN 4-0 CRY

  3. Swalahu Shahid says:

    Manchester united surely needs to win 3:1 for Manchester united at old trafford Ronaldo has to score

  4. Adebiyi Abiola says:

    MUN 5-2 CRY

  5. Please Manchester United should start with Bailey not Maguire

  6. Please Manchester United should start with Bialy not Maguire

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