Manchester United will face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the final Premier League match of the season on Sunday afternoon. Because West Ham United drew 2-2 with Manchester City in their penultimate match of the season, if United win UEFA Europa League participation is theirs.
However, if United fall to another away defeat of the season, coming after that 4-0 hammering by Brighton and Hove Albion almost a fortnight ago, it will be in the hands of the Hammers to leapfrog United and take the Europa League themselves, leaving United to another fall from grace.
United could still make the playoff round of the UEFA Europa Conference League next season, which would be a remarkable fall from grace comparing recent seasons where UEFA Champions League football was obtained.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, United have qualified for the Champions League five times, the Europa League twice, reaching Europa League or Europa Conference League this season; they also had a season out of European football. Next season marks a decade post-Ferguson.
Dalot, Lindelöf, Maguire, Telles;
Elanga, Fernandes, Hannibal;
Heaton; Bailly, Jones, Varane, Fernández; Mata, Savage, Garnacho, Shoretire
Clyne, Ward, Andersen, Mitchell;
Gallagher, Hughes, Schlupp;
Rak-Sakyi, Édouard, Zaha
Butland; Kelly; Milivojevic, Kouyaté, Eze, McArthur; Ayew, Mateta, Benteke
United and Palace have met 25 times in the Premier League. United have won 18 times, drawn five times with Palace winning two times. United have scored 45 goals, winning four penalties, scoring three. Palace have scored 13 goals, winning one penalty, scoring it.
United have kept 17 clean sheets with Palace keeping four. Discipline has been an issue with United players receiving 35 yellow cards and one red card and Palace players being shown 40 yellow cards and two red cards. The final match of the season needs to be a good one for United.
Wilfried Zaha, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fraizer Campbell and Timothy Fosu-Mensah have all played for United and Palace. Jeffrey Schlupp was once on trial at United but was not signed and never represented the senior team. Campbell and Fosu-Mensah came through United’s academy.
Wilfried Zaha was Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signing as manager of the club in January 2013 and he ended up making just four appearances for United failing to score a single goal for the club, signing Palace 18 months later. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was purchased from Palace in the summer of 2019.
Written by John Walker