Manchester United travel to Selhurst Park tomorrow in the Premier League hoping to keep up their good playing form and with only one objective to simply come away with a win, securing the essential 3 points. In the past, Crystal Palace have never posed much of a threat to United – who have lost only once in their last 21 meetings with the Eagles. However Palace are a much improved side in recent years, and despite their poor start to the season, Alan Pardew’s side is their best in years.
Former United winger Wilfried Zaha never hit the heights that were expected of him at Old Trafford, but the 24-year-old has been one of the League’s most consistent players this season and is certainly one of Palace’s prized assets. The Englishman, who has been in the news of late due to his proposed switch of nationality to Ivorian, has been involved in 7 goals in his last 7 games for Palace. Christian Benteke is also a big danger for United’s defence as the Belgian striker has scored 5 goals in his last 5 games – but Palace pose more of a threat on goal in the heading department, they have scored more headers than any other team in the league. The height of Alan Pardew’s side will certainly be cause for concern, and it might mean a start for Marouane Fellaini.
Manchester United are unbeaten in six league matches but have only won two of those. They have scored more than 1 goal in only 1 of their last 9 league games. It seems to be a recurring issue that United will take the game by the scruff of the neck and dominate before going 1-0 up, only to concede late on and take just a point. However, with Sunday’s victory over top 4 rivals Spurs, maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Captain Wayne Rooney is only one goal away from equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s all time goalscoring record at Manchester United (249 goals). With Henrikh Mkitaryan out injured until after Christmas, it might see Rooney make a return to the first XI in an advanced role and have another crack at making history within the team but the more likely option will see Juan Mata returned to the starting line-up as he offers more of an ability to pick out that incisive defence splitting pass than the captain. Plus the Spanish wizard, that is Juan Mata has a habit of scoring decisive goals in recent times plus he has offered more consistency than Rooney which United could certainly use.
The only other fresh team news besides Mkhitaryan’s absence is that of Antonio Valencia’s. The Ecuadorian right-back picked up his 5th yellow card of the season on Sunday, and will miss the Palace game as a result so the Italian right-back Matteo Darmian could get a start at his preferred right-back spot with Luke Shaw getting an opportunity at left-back if he is fit again .
Here is how we believe Manchester United will line-up to face Crystal Palace:
Darmian – Jones – Rojo – Shaw
Herrera – Fellaini
Rashford – Pogba – Martial
Despite the enforced changes we think United will have enough to get the 3 points over improving Crystal Palace and we expect Mourinho’s men to manage to increase their goal output and win by a score of 3-1.