Manchester United -v- Crystal Palace
Old Trafford, Manchester
Sunday 5 December 2021, KO 14:00 GMT
Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Lee Betts, Scott Ledger
Fourth Official: Jonathan Moss
VAR: Simon Hooper Assistant VAR: Derek Eaton
Manchester United will welcome Crystal Palace to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League, which will also be the first time that Ralf Rangnick leads his club into a match. Since the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer back in November, Michael Carrick led United into two victories; 2-0 over Villarreal and 3-2 over Arsenal, also a 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Carrick ended his time with the club on Thursday evening after leading United to their first home win in the Premier League since the 4-1 victory over Newcastle United back in September. Rangnick will be seeking United to continue their good start to December.
Palace are not in great form, coming off two straight defeats in their last two matches but with their 3-1 victory in this fixture last season, they will be seeking to get a similar result against this United side who have come away from a bad period for the club. At the time of writing, United sit seventh in the Premier League table, three points off the top four and 12 points off the top spot – which is going to be a tough one for United to claw back, but stranger things have happened. United will need to win the majority of the matches played in December, which is a tough feat despite the level of the opposition they will face.
Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDWLLD
Arsenal 3-2 W, Chelsea 1-1 D, Villarreal 2-0 W, Watford 4-1 L, Manchester City 2-0 L, Atalanta 2-2 D
Goals: 12 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 5 – Bruno Fernandes, 4 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Jesse Lingard, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Fred, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek
Assists: 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Paul Pogba, 2 – Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luke Shaw, 1 – Fred, Mason Greenwood, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane
Crystal Palace – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LLDWWD
Leeds United 1-0 L, Aston Villa 2-1 L, Burnley 3-3 D, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 W, Manchester City 2-0 W, Newcastle United 1-1 D
Goals: 4 – Christian Benteke, Conor Gallagher, Wilfried Zaha, 3 – Odsonne Édouard, 2 – Marc Guéhi, 1 – Michael Olise, Jeffrey Schlupp
Assists: 3 – Conor Gallagher, 2 – Michael Olise, 1 – Joachim Andersen, Jordan Ayew, Christian Benteke, Cheikhou Kouyaté, James McArthur, Tyrick Mitchell, Wilfried Zaha
Previous meetings with Crystal Palace and their connections with Manchester United.
United and Palace have met a total of 24 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 17 times, drawn five times with Palace winning the remaining two matches. United have scored 44 goals, winning four penalties and scoring three of them. Palace have scored 13 goals, winning one penalties and scoring it. United have kept a total of 16 clean sheets with Palace keeping four. United players have been shown a total of 33 yellow cards and one red card in this fixture with Palace players shown a total of 38 yellow cards and two red cards. United need to ensure they can win matches like this, which have hurt them in the past.
There is not a lot of history between United and Palace in regards to players who have played for both clubs. Wilfried Zaha was Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signing as manager of the club in January 2013 and was loaned to Palace for the remainder of the 2012/13 season. He ended up making just four appearances for United failing to score a single goal for the club, ending up back at Palace in the summer of 2014. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was purchased from Palace in the summer of 2019 and Timothy Fosu-Mensah was once loaned to Palace, which was one of many bad loan spells for the player. Jeffrey Schlupp was once on trial at United, but not signed.
Team News: Pogba, Varane and Cavani likely to remain on the sidelines; Shaw, Matic, Wan-Bissaka and Ronaldo all subject to fitness tests ahead of Sunday’s clash at the Theatre of Dreams.
Paul Pogba (Thigh) and Raphael Varane (Thigh) have both been ruled out of the clash with Palace on Sunday, which is a blow for United in the case of Varane. Edinson Cavani (Tendon) is unlikely to be involved but has a 25% chance of involvement, which would be more likely for him to feature against Norwich City next weekend. Luke Shaw (Head) has a 25% chance of featuring, Nemanja Matic (Thigh) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Hand) both have a 50% chance of involvement with Cristiano Ronaldo (Thigh) having a 75% chance of featuring against Palace. It would seem that Rangnick has a few injury problems ahead of this match.
Nathan Ferguson (Calf/Shin/Heel), James McArthur (Hamstring) and Joel Ward (Suspension) will all be missing from the Place squad for the visit of Old Trafford on Sunday. Joachim Andersen (Thigh) will be subject to a late fitness test and currently he has a 25% chance of being involved, so could perhaps occupy a place on the bench for this match. Palace have lost their last two matches and need to bounce back in this match and will use the fact they beat United in this fixture last season as a factor for them aiming to do the same thing again. United will be boosted with their first win at home against Arsenal side the 4-1 victory over Newcastle United.
Predicted Starting XI: Ronaldo, Rashford, Fernandes, Van de Beek and Sancho set to face Palace? United need to solve the problems with the defence as that will be the difference in this team.
We are in a position that leaves us not knowing what team or formation Rangnick will pick for United against Palace on Sunday afternoon. Many will be expecting some kind of tactical masterclass and by that I mean the usual suspects on social media. But the rest of us will understand that Rome was not built in a day and know that it will take time to instil some kind of tactical masterclass to this team who have let themselves down before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked. It just goes to show that player power is something that sticks in today’s society but many will just blame the manager all of the time, as we have seen since 2014.
I would expect David De Gea to keep his place in the team against Palace. He’s been in some great form recently and with three good results behind the club, he will have a good level of confidence. The back four should consist of Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles playing in the fullback roles as both did well against Arsenal. Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire should play in the central defensive positions. A midfield three should see Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek and Bruno Fernandes with the latter two playing the attacking roles. In the attacking positions, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho should flank Cristiano Ronaldo.
Match Prediction: United gained just one point against Palace last season, lowing at Old Trafford and drawing at Selhurst Park. This season, United need to make it six points from matches ike this.
Last season, United started out to a 3-1 defeat to Palace with Andros Townsend scoring the opening goal and Wilfried Zaha scoring a brace – one of the goals from the penalty spot. Donny van de Beek’s 80th minute goal was only a consolation for United, who feel to a first home defeat in the league in their first match of the season – a week later than the other teams because of their participation on the delayed UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions because of the coronavirus pandemic. At Selhurst Park, it was a dire 0-0 draw between the two sides, which extended United unbeaten away run to 21 matches.
This season, it is imperative that United does a lot better against Palace this season. Getting six points from these games is something that United should be achieving more often than not. Rangnick will implement his playing style at United and it might ensure that United turn into a side capable of achieving this. That is all that any supporter of the club wants – to see United win matches, challenge for trophies and show signs of being the club they have been in the Premier League era – winners more often than not. The rebuilding of the club continues but this time under another new era for the club. Come on United!
Manchester United 3-0 Crystal Palace
Written by John Walker