Manchester United will host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League. It will be the first traditional 3 pm kickoff for United this season. The sixth match last season was played at this time. These matches are not shown live on television in the United Kingdom. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to continue his good start.
Roy Hodgson has not been successful so far this season and will be looking for a reaction from his squad. It will be tough for them to get a result at Old Trafford, knowing that they have travelled to the stadium six times without a result since last winning a match there in November 2011 in the League Cup. That will only make it tougher for them.
United has played Palace 55 times with United winning 37 matches, drawing 11 and losing seven times. Palace last defeated United in the League Cup back in 2011 – a match which directed Sir Alex Ferguson to sign Wilfried Zaha. 13 matches played since, Palace are winless with United winning 11 times, drawing twice.
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
The Spanish number one managed to keep a clean sheet in the opening Premier League match against Chelsea but on Monday evening at the Molineux, a sublime strike by Ruben Neves was unable to be kept out of the back of the net – his first conceded goal of the season. United’s defence is much stronger with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire which will in turn help De Gea keep more clean sheets, which is what United needs this season. Conceding 54 goals in the Premier League last season was a problem which needs to be solved this season.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw
Two matches of the season played; one clean sheet and one goal conceded in the other. United will be seeking to keep another clean sheet at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday. I don’t expect any changes in defence with both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw in the fullback roles and Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire once again partnered in the centre of defence. For the next two matches, at least until the international break, I think things will remain the same.
Midfield: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba played well against Wolverhampton Wanderers, despite missing the crucial penalty which could have turned the draw into a victory. He bossed the midfield at times and was one of the influential players in the squad. If he continues playing in this manner, he will help guide this team during the course of the season, which really is something he should have been doing for some time now. Scott McTominay has covered the most ground so far the season and despite some criticism, Solskjaer should stick by him against Palace.
Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Marcus Rashford
United might need a change in this area in order to stop things becoming stagnant. Jesse Lingard played well in the first half against Wolves on Monday, however, he burned out in the second half. In order to keep him fresh and add some competition, the inclusion of Angel Gomes could be crucial. United need some creativity in the central areas to stop them being so reliant on Paul Pogba. Gomes could be the player to do just that. His small frame might make him a tricky player to content with. Mason Greenwood should get a start against Palace as Daniel James was not all that effective against Wolves and could be used as more of an impact player from the bench late in the game. Greenwood has that hunger and killer instinct to score and the pace to beat his man.
Striker: Anthony Martial
The Frenchman has played well so far this season, scoring two goals in two matches. Marcus Rashford might also content Anthony Martial in this position but him playing on the left-wing role has garnered two goals and an assist, so they are both perfectly
Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Ashley Young, Axel Tuanzebe; Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Daniel James; Tahith Chong
In the first two matches of the season, Solskjaer has left it quote late to make the majority of substitutions with Juan Mata and Greenwood introduced in the 86th minute against Chelsea and Greenwood and Andreas Pereira introduced in the 89th minute against Wolves. Daniel James came on against Chelsea in the 76th minute with Mata coming on in the 81st minute against Wolves.
Earlier changes might work better for United. Greenwood has played five minutes of football this season, hence the need for him to start, like he did against Cardiff City on the final day of last season. To have the likes of Jesse Lingard, Pereira, Axel Tuanzebe, Ashley Young and James on the bench will be good for United, not to mention Tahith Chong, if selected.