Manchester United will be up against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the Premier League on Wednesday evening with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looking to get back to winning ways after draws against Chelsea (0-0) and West Bromwich Albion in two of their last three matches in the competition. The last time United won in the league was the 3-1 victory over Newcastle United. United recently qualified for the round of 16 in the UEFA Europa League, setting up a tie with AC Milan to aim for a place in the quarter-finals of the competition this season. Roy Hodgson’s side are not in great form, drawing 0-0 with Fulham this weekend and beating Brighton and Hove Albion in their last two matches in the league, which came after defeats to Burnley and Leeds United.
United have faced a lot of criticism after their draw to Chelsea on Sunday, which saw neither side really take charge in the match and the big talking point was regarding a penalty, which was not awarded to United. Edinson Cavani has missed the last four matches and could miss a fifth should he not recover in time to face Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening. United need to find a way to break down teams as the goals are seemingly drying up with is another problem in this team. Anthony Martial is in dire form, which is a massive worry as to why he keeps getting selected for matches, despite injury problems. He offers very little going forward which is something that has not just happened under Solskjaer’s management. Its important United win this match.
How United have faired against Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
United and Palace have met a total of 23 times in the history of the Premier League with this being the 24th meeting between the two sides with only United being in the Premier League since it started. United have won 17 times with Palace winning twice, the two clubs drawing four times. United have scored 44 goals with Palace scoring 13. United have won four penalties, scoring three of them with Palace winning one and scoring it. United have kept 15 clean sheets with Palace keeping three. United’s players have received 33 yellow cards and one red card with Palace’s players receiving 37 yellow cards and two red cards. After the defeat at the start of the Premier League season, United will be seeking to get the upper hand over Hodgson’s side this week.
At the start of the season, United met Palace at Old Trafford a week after the Premier League season started, which was actually United’s first match in the competition this season after their participation in the UEFA Europa League gave them, and Manchester for their participation in the Champions League, an extra week’s break before the new season. Palace beat United 3-1 at the Theatre of Dreams with Donny van de Beek scoring his only goal for the club so far, which was a late consolation. Palace’s goal came from Andros Townsend and Wilfred Zaha, who scored a brace. Last season in this match, United won 2-0 with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scoring the goals. The win helped United finish third in the league last season.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Crystal Palace in the Premier League at Selhurst Park on Wednesday evening…
Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson
Dean Henderson has made 13 appearances for United this season, keeping eight clean sheets and conceding nine goals. He recently played in both UEFA Europa League matches against Real Sociedad with United winning 4-0 on aggregate, failing to score a single goal in the second leg and keeping two clean sheets on the bounce. Henderson commanded his area well, which is something that David De Gea does not do and it showed some good leadership, which is needed in the team. I like the way he celebrates when United score and what he does to ensure that he does his best all of the time. He is the future of United and should be given a good chance to take the number one shirt at the club. De Gea’s form never really seems to improve to another level.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles
United have kept four clean sheets in their lasts ix matches, which is a great sign of what they can do but things need to change. In the summer, United will need to sort out a player that will add something to the defence as the current crop of players in the positions are still not giving the fans the confidence that a title run will become a thing. Against Palace, Aaron Wan-Bissaka should face his former club with Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire partnering in the central defensive area with Alex Telles filling in at left-back, giving Luke Shaw some rest ahead of Sunday’s big match against Manchester City. United need to start holding their own in defence and ensure that trophies are something this team is capable of as that is the main aim of the club.
Midfield: Fred, Donny van de Beek
United’s midfield still has some problems with Paul Pogba on the sidelines through injury and Scott McTominay showing signs of rustiness after his injury lay off. Donny van de Beek returned from injury at the weekend, sitting on the bench against Chelsea in the 0-0 draw. I think the Dutchman should start alongside Fred against Palace which could give him the opportunity to find his feet at the club and show the manager and his teammates just why he was so highly rated at Ajax. It has not worked fir him at United thus far, but I believe it will, in time. It is a big transition from the Eredivisie to the Premier League and the Dutchman has all the ingredients to succeed at the club. Fred has played well this season and is showing his worth at the club.
Attacking Midfield: Daniel James, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford
Daniel James is a player in form at this stage of the season. In 15 appearances for the club this season, he has five goals and one assist, which is not the greatest of goal contributions but for a player that has risen from the Championship to the Premier League, he is showing some good signs at the club. His pace can be problematic for the oppositions, I just wish some of the moaners that support this club would give him a chance instead of expecting him to be peak Cristiano Ronaldo all of the time. The expectations placed on some players is way too high. Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford should also feature against Palace; their 40 goals and 24 assists between them have been a big contribution towards what United have achieved so far this season.
Forwards: Mason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood should lead the line for United against Palace, is Edinson Cavani is not fit enough to start. McTominay seemed to be rushed back into things this weekend and that should not happen with the Uruguayan. Greenwood is a good talent to have in the team and he has the ability to achieve some great things at the club. Since his debut, he has made a total of 86 appearances, scoring 21 goals and ten assists. So far this season, Greenwood has just four goals and five assists which will soo start to increase as the season continues. He played some good football against Chelsea, it was just a shame that United could not find at least one goal, but Chelsea could not either so it was not entirely negative. A point is better than a defeat.
Substitutes: David De Gea; Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe; Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay; Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial
Nine substitutes can be named on the bench in the Premier League with three of them being used. Against Chelsea, Solskjaer brought Anthony Martial off the bench, what good it did, not utilising another player. I find his substitutions to be too late much of the time, but he does what he things best, not what we want to see as supporters. David De Gea should be on the bench for this match, getting some rest ahead for Sunday’s Manchester derby. In defence, Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe could all feature should they be needed. Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay could be brought on in midfield with Edinson Cavani, if fit, and Martial able to be utilised should the attack need more to get a positive result.
Written by John Walker