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Preview: Beating Palace is necessary for United to get back on the right track. Greenwood to lead the line once again? Diallo to have some involvement?

MacFinder

Crystal Palace -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Selhurst Park, London

Wednesday 3 March 2021, KO 20:15 GMT

Referee: Andre Marriner Assistants: Scott Ledger, Marc Perry

Fourth Official: Kevin Friend

VAR: Mike Dean Assistant VAR: Stephen Child

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.

Manchester United: DDWWDW

Chelsea 0-0 D, Real Sociedad 0-0 D, Newcastle United 3-1 W, Real Sociedad 4-0 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-1 D, West Ham United 1-0 W

Crystal Palace: DWLLWW

Fulham 0-0 D, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 W, Burnley 3-0 L, Leeds United 2-0 L, Newcastle United 2-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W

Top Scorers: Palace have struggled to score goals since running riot over United at the start of the season. Bruno Fernandes has scored five goals fewer than Palace this season.

Manchester United Goals: 22 – Bruno Fernandes, 18 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 5 – Daniel James, 4 – Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Own Goal, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Donny van de Beek

United are still unbeaten in their last six matches, winning three and drawing three. Solskjaer’s side have scored nine goals in the past six matches, conceding just two – keeping four clean sheets, which is a positive. However, in the last two matches, United have failed to register a single goal which is not a great thing to see at this stage of the season with the club slipping to a 12 point deficit between them and league leaders Manchester City. Questions will need to be asked of this team and their inability to break down their opposition. Some players may be tired, others suffering from fatigue but these are things that should be managed during the course of the season. I think United will get over this though and they need to do it soon.

Crystal Palace Goals: 9 – Wilfried Zaha, 4 – Christian Benteke, 3 – Eberechi Eze, 2 – Jairo Riedewald, Jeffrey Schlupp, 1 – Jordan Ayew, Michy Batshuayi, Gary Cahill, Scott Dann, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Andros Townsend

Palace started well this season, getting a great result against United but since then, the tide seems to have turned with United showing good form and rising towards the top of the table, despite the points deficit between them and Manchester City. Right now, Palace sit 13th in the Premier League table with 33 points, ten point clear of the relegation zone, however, the are not safe in the league yet. Palace have won three, drawn once and lost two of their last six matches, scoring five goals, conceding seven and keeping two clean sheets. With around nine injuries at this stage of the season, fatigue could soon come calling, resulting in the club further slipping down the table. They will be up for the challenge against United though, as always.

Team News: United have up to four players missing for the Palace clash whereas the home side could be missing up to nine players, which will be a blow for Hodgson and a boost for Solskjaer.

Phil Jones (knee), Juan Mata (other), Paul Pogba (thigh) and Edinson Cavani (muscular) are all on the sidelines for United at this current time. Jones, Mata and Pogba have all bene ruled out for the foreseeable future and Cavani has a 25% chance of being fit to face Palace on Wednesday, which seems unlikely. However, a tweet from the player seemed to give hope that he could be back in action soon. United may well draft in Shola Shoretire, who was missing from the squad against Chelsea after featuring in the squads for both matches against Real Sociedad and the clash with Newcastle United. New signing Amad Diallo will probably remain on the bench, despite the fact he has been largely positive since he signed for the club.

James Tomkins (head/face), Nathan Ferguson (thigh), Wayne Hennessey (other), Mamadou Sakho (thigh), Jeffrey Schlupp (thigh), Connor Wickham (other) and James McArthur (other) have all been ruled out of the clash with United at Selhurst Park in Wednesday evening. Hodgson’s side could also be without both Nathaniel Clyne (other) and Wilfried Zaha (thigh) who both have 25% chances of featuring for their club in Wednesday’s clash, but it would seem that they might not both recover until the weekend, or later, missing this match. This will be a blow for Hodgson, whose side beat United on their opening day of the season. Palace are ten points clear of the relegation zone at this stage of the season but they are not safe yet.

Predicted Starting XI: Mason Greenwood to lead the line against Crystal Palace? Donny van de Beek to start in midfield? Eric Bailly to partner Harry Maguire on central defence?

Solskjaer will need to change things up a little but against Palace as they will face Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday, which will be an important match to get a good result in. As Edinson Cavani has not played in the last four matches, despite his post on social media suggesting that he could be fit soon, I have kept him out of this match but he could be a substitute. I would like to see Dean Henderson in goal with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles in defence. A duo of Fred and Donny van de Beek in midfield and Daniel James, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford playing in the three attacking players behind Mason Greenwood, who should be given the chance to led the line for his club once again.

Match Prediction: 23 matches played between United and Palace with United winning 17 times, drawing four times and losing twice. Beating Palace this week won’t take away the fact United were beaten at home but it will set the club back to winning ways 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.

Crystal Palace 0-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW