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Ratings: Fred the star of the show with stunning goal to down Palace in Rangnick’s first Old Trafford match

Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. United showed good attacking ability, attacking Palace relentlessly throughout the match with the visitors having less than 40% of the ball and not really causing much attacking threat themselves. United struggled to find the goals though, which was a worry. Ralf Rangnick’s side eventually found the opening goal in the 77th minute of the match through none other than Fred, who became an Old Trafford hero once again. In the last few weeks, Fred has risen to becoming one of the stars of this team.

United started the match in fine fettle showing their ability to gegenpress with is the term for counter-pressing in Germany which is something that Ralf Rangnick is associated with. In fact, the early stages of the match showed this United side to be pretty dominant in this action. It was good to see and it has left me wondering why this team did not play in this way under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. That was all he wanted for the club. That said, this new look United side is impressive and it is clear that United have made a good choice with Rangnick. By the 33rd minute of the match, United had six shots on goal – just one of those on target.

United continued to overpower Palace, attacking them relentlessly but not able to find a chance that could put them ahead in this match. It was still great progress in a few training sessions which bodes well with what could be in the next month or so with United having an easier spell in the Premier League than they have had over the last two months or so. The half ended goalless, which is a worry as United were not able to convert a good attacking chance into a goal, so there will be a worry with United’s ability to make mistakes in the defence and Palace taking the benefit of that. United needed to be more clinical in the second half pushing for a goal.

There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half. United needed to be more clinical. The pressing has been good but in terms of innovation and creativity, this team needed to be doing a lot more to get their opposition on the ropes. Rome was not built in a day and this team will be given the time to implement different things but there will need to be developments for the club to kick on and finally turn the corner in terms of becoming something that looks in the right direction for the finished article. There was a lapse in momentum which allowed Palace to have a positive spell, but United once again took over control of the game.

United were unlucky on an attack which saw Jadon Sancho with the ball but his shot/cross was too hard a hit and the ball went out of play. Rangnick made his first substitution of the match in the 62nd minute with Mason Greenwood replacing Sancho. Palace had been pressing more than last season, winning a corner in the 64th minute of the match, which was no real threat in the box but Connor Gallagher won the ball in the midfield, tried a long-range shot and got it all wrong. United had a lot left to do in order to win this match and perhaps the introduction of Greenwood could help United achieve that?

In the 76th minute of the match, Rangnick made his second substitution with Anthony Elanga replacing Rashford. The introduction sparked something for United with them on the attack and Fred finding the ball on the edge of the box, having been played it by Greenwood. The Brazilian then launched for the top corner, putting United 1-0 up at this late stage of the game. In the 82nd minute, Harry Maguire was down after a head collision with a Palace player. He was receiving treatment in the six-yard box before Rangnick made his final substitution of the match with Donn van de Beek waiting on the sidelines.

Rangnick made his final chance in the 86th minute of the match with Van de Beek replacing Fernandes, who did not have the greatest of appearances for the club in this match. Still, United were 1-0 up and still in control of the match, but should be seeking that elusive second goal with added time coming. It would be a very bad taste for United to concede a goal in added time which would make this sweet victory seem like a defeat. That did not happen as United pushed on to beat Palace, keeping another clean sheet, which has been a rarity at the Theatre of Dreams and this season. Three points in the bag, Rangnick’s era has begun.

United return to UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday evening when they welcome Young Boys to the Theatre of Dreams in the final group stage match of the season with United already confirmed as the group winners and into the knockout stages already. This could be a good game for fringe players, who should be given the chance to shine under their new manager. On Saturday, United will travel to face bottom of the league Norwich City, which should be nothing less than a victory for the Red Devils as they look to claw back the points on their rivals, seeking to break back into the top four during this Festive period.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Had little to do in the first half and in the second, he still did not have to exert himself. Will be happy with the clean sheet and the victory. This is small steps for United as they continue through the Festive period and they should be in a better position from there if these performances keep coming.

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20 Diogo Dalot

Seemed to be dangerous on the right flank whipping in crosses and lost scoring himself with his left foot. He has taken the chance that he has been given and could dislodge Wan-Bissaka from the team. Two good performances in a row is a good sign.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Helped to turn the defence into the attack and became more physical, to a point, than Maguire. His confidence will rise after this clean sheet and hopefully there will be many more to come.

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5 Harry Maguire

Needs to be more adventurous when advancing with the ball. Ha d a big header late in the match and received a head injury, which kept him down for a few minutes. Despite this, he was a positive influence in what little defending United needed to do,

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27 Alex Telles

Played an attacking game. His set-pieces are classy and he struck the crossbar at a stage in the game, which was a shame. Shaw could have a problem getting back in this team.

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17 Fred

The Brazilian was careless at times with the ball, but also seemed to be the player that wanted to get something started. His 77th minute goal showed great ability, which there needs to be more of. He could shine under Rangnick.

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39 Scott McTominay

He was both aggressive and disciplined against Palace but did not have much involvement at either end. He needs to get more involved for my liking.

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25 Jadon Sancho

Played a good attacking game for United with the club pressing for the majority of his involvement in the match. He had a shot/cross in the last minute of his game before being replaced by Greenwood in the 62nd minute.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

He was impatient at times with the ball and that will have been viewed with Rangnick. Perhaps a time as a sub should benefit him with Van de Beek starting? He was replaced by Van de Beek in the 86th minute of the match.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Productive at times, but seemed to be wasteful, especially when Sancho played the ball to him in the first half. Should have been replaced much sooner in the match, in my opinion. Replaced by Elanga in the 76th minute of the match.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Seemed determined to get United ahead and despite a number of attacking chances, he was unable to score. He will benefit more when United perfect this gegenpressing role they will become accustomed to.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Sancho 62'. Played the ball into Fred for his to score the only goal of the match. His energy and talent needs to see more of him playing in this team.

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36 Anthony Elanga

Replaced Rashford 76'. Brought some energy in attack, which would have helped United. Needs to be playing more at this level. Should start on Wednesday evening.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Fernandes 86'. Came on at the death and did not have enough time to make a case for himself.

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Goals: Fred 77′

Assists: Mason Greenwood 77′

Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Fred, McTominay; Sancho (Greenwood 62′), Fernandes (Van de Beek 86′), Rashford (Elanga 76′); Ronaldo

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Jones, Wan-Bissaka; Mata, Matic

Bookings: Scott McTominay 81′, Victor Lindelof90+1′; Nathaniel Clyne 31′, Marc Guéhi 67′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Ronaldo, Sancho, Fernandes and Rashford lead the attack against Crystal Palace in Rangnick’s first match

Manchester United will welcome Crystal Palace to Old Trafford this 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:

De Gea;

Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles;

Fred, McTominay;

Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford;

Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Jones, Wan-Bissaka; Mata, Matic, Van de Beek; Greenwood, Elanga

Crystal Palace:

Guaita;

Clyne, Tomkins, Guess, Mitchell;

Schlupp, Kouyate, Gallagher;

Ayew, Benteke, Zaha

Substitutes:

Butland; Kelly; Milivojevic, Olise, Eze, Hughes, Riedewald; Mateta, Edouard

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-3] Ronaldo, Sancho, Fernandes and Rashford to launch United’s attack against Palace; Van de Beek to start; Martial and Greenwood benched?

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.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Crystal Palace in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has been one of the best players for United this season. The saves that he has made have stopped United from being even more embarrassed than they already were. To have a goalkeeper like De Gea is something that many clubs around Europe would want and that is why he’s a great fit for United. Of course, at some point this season, Dean Henderson is going to want to challenge him, unless he goes out on loan next month, which is a distinct possibility. United have a great starting point to reaching the pinnacle of England and Europe again and with Rangnick at the helm, it looks even better for the future.

Against Arsenal, De Gea made some very important saves, which he also did against Chelsea and Villarreal in the last three matches. The form he is in right now, for me, makes him undroppable which is why he must keep his place in goal against Palace. Last seasons hurt against Palace is a great motivation factor for righting that wrong this season. Keeping on a winning run in December will be important with United also facing Young Boys, Norwich City, Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Newcastle United and Burnley before the end of the month. It is important that both De Gea and United continue their good form until the end of the month.

Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

It is important that United find their strongest defence this season. In the Premier League alone, the club has already conceded as many goals as they have scored – 24. It does not look all that good with more than half of the season still left to play. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw all missed the victory over Arsenal and with the form of some of the players who replaced them, those who are fit, which could be Wan-Bissaka and Shaw, should be left on the sidelines. Diogo Dalot played at right-back against Arsenal and despite a poor opening, he grew into the match. Alex Telles also did well with both getting forward to help attack.

Giving both Dalot and Telles another chance to start could be good for the squad, especially this month with many matches and the fact that Rangnick will need to rely on rotation with many injuries at this stage of the season. In the central defensive positions in a four-man defence, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire should continue to partner each other. Against Arsenal, Maguire rose to the challenge and had a very positive match. Lindelof played well too, even if his start was not the best. With Phil Jones back in the mix, albeit only being on the bench for the last two matches, he too could find some involvement this Festive period.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes

The midfield has been a problem area for United and there are some players who, despite being written off by supporters of the club, have continued to offer something good going forward. Nemanja Matic, despite his age, has been one of those players and will continue to be whenever he has been given a chance. He missed the Arsenal match through injury. Fred is the other. Just when you think his talent has waned, he manages to pull something out of the bag. Against Palace, I would keep both players on the bench as they will need to be fresh. It is possible that with the talent United have, they may be able to rest, or play just a small role in this match.

Scott McTominay should start as the defensive-minded midfielder agains Palace. The Scotland international is committed to the cause and will do what he needs to help the club move forward. It is no big surprise that he was a favourite of both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and could once again win an admirer in Ralf Rangnick. Donny van de Beek should start this match – he is a positive player and knows what it means to be successful. Playing hims could save United lots of money in the future. Bruno Fernandes is the other players that should start in this midfield three. His five goals and nine assist show what he can do at the club.

Forward: Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford

United’s attack is perhaps the strongest area on the pitch for the club. It would be great if this wealth of talent was available in the midfield and the defence too. Jadon Sancho is a player that should retain his place in the right-wing position, despite swapping with Marcus Rashford in the last few matches, they have both had some positive actions playing on the opposite flanks. Rashford should start on the left-wing, a position that he has been successful in over the past few seasons and where he will be successful again. The duo have five goals and one assist between them this season, which is a good building point for them.

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the first names on the team sheet this season, scoring 12 goals and two assists so far, which at 36 years or age is admirable. Some say Ronaldo is a problem at United but these are people seeking a problem that they will not find, through a lack of knowledge or just jealousy. Against Arsenal, the Portuguese superstar made 27 pressures which shows just what he does for the club. Granted, his form has not always been as good but United were not performing either, so in the coming weeks and months, a different Ronaldo could show himself rather than the one the media, pundits and whoever criticise.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Jesse Lingard, Fred, Nemanja Matic; Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood

Rangnick will be able to name a total of nine players on the bench against Palace on Sunday. He will need to ensure that he has enough players on the bench to bring on to change the game, if that’s what needs to happen. I would expect Dean Henderson to remain on the bench into this match. De Gea’s form has made him undroppable but there will become a time when Henderson can challenge and there are a few matches where that could happen in the coming weeks, giving De Gea a break to recharge his batteries for the tough months ahead. I am sure that Rangnick will have thought about this and who he intends his number one to be.

In defence, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones could both be available along with Aaron Wan-Bissaka. I would expect Luke Shaw to miss out again following his head injury. It is better to be safe than sorry when injuries come into the fray – as well United have found out over the years. In midfield, Jesse Lingard, Fred and Nemanja Matic could all be called upon if needed. The trio will have what is needed to come on and help change, with all three having different attributes. In attack, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood could be available. It is expected that Edinson Cavani will be missing at least until next weekend against Norwich City.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Rangnick’s revolution starts now but it will not be instant. United to get the better of Palace?

Manchester United -v- Crystal Palace

Premier League

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

Ratings: Henderson and Shaw can hold their heads high with Matic performing well in Palace draw; Fernandes well out of form is a big worry

Manchester United drew 0-0 with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the Premier League. It was yet another stagnant performance for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side who seemed benevolent rather than full of fight to win their matches. Palace beat them at Old Trafford at the start of the season and this side should have ben angry about that, seeking to overturn that result getting three points this evening, but Palace ended up getting four points from matches against United, which is really poor for a team that thinks they could win trophies, let alone league titles. Luke Shaw and Dean Henderson can hold their heads up high with Nemanja Matic also putting in a good performance against Palace. However, more needs to be done to get the results that United need.

United started on the high press, as they have done this season but Palace matched them with an energetic style of play, which did not set up the match that many would be hoping for, In the third minute, a ‘hospital pass’ as Gary Neville called it, from Marcus Rashford into Luke Shaw saw the left-back fouled and looking like he had done something to his ankle. He recovered minutes later though, which was good news. Palace had a chance from a free-kick in the seventh minute but nothing came of it. Then Christian Benteke shot over the crossbar and into the stands, which was pathetic play for the striker. Palace then got on the front foot and were attacking United, making them uneasy with many passes between United players in their own half.

In the 13th minute of the match, Nemanja Matic had a great shot on goal which forced a save from Vicente Guaita after Bruno Fernandes’ lay-off from 25-yards gave the Serbian defensive midfielder the time to take a chance to find a goal, which tend to be special from the player being that he does not score all that often. United then aimed to get forward as much as they could to get something from the game after that Matic chance, however, they would need to play a lot better in order to threaten the home side, who were not in great form but have risen to United’s challenge so far in this match. In the 19th minute, Marcus Rashford had a great chance to open the scoring but his shot was wide of the target, which is the story of his like at this moment in time.

Palace then started to force United wide, but they were not defending crosses all that well, which was good news for United but the players never really tried to get the better of their opposition knowing this. Edinson Cavani, back from injury missing the last four matches, had some good positioning in the half but there was nothing that was going to test the home side and put United ahead of them – at this stage anyway. Matic played the ball into Cavani in the 23rd minute, which was played to Mason Greenwood, whose shot from 20-yards was deflected wide of the target. United needed to up their game and get things firing in the right direction, pressuring this Palace side, who could capitulate under pressure.

United had another chance in the 27th minute through Rashford, who delivered a cross into the box for Cavani, but he failed to take the pace off the ball, seeing it go over the crossbar from just inside the area. United still need a lot of improvement to get the better of their opposition this evening. It was starting to become worrying that United were playing this poorly with Manchester City on the horizon. If they played like this on Sunday, it could be curtains for them. Palace then got some time on the ball and pushed United back into their half, getting a few chances but nothing to change the course of the match – thus far anyway. Solskjaer will need to have a plan in order to find a way to win this match.

United needed to take more risks in this match, not getting enough on any chances to take the lead. In the 43rd minute of the match United started to up the tempo of the game, recycling the ball after Shaw’s cross was cleared to Fred and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, whose low ball was ready to be tucked home by Cavani in the middle but Joel Ward made a vital sliding block to stop United from taking the lead. There was no added time at the end of the half – the half had been that bad with no real time wasting. Both sides will be up for the challenge in the second half though and that is something that United should be wary of, knowing what happened to them at the start of the season in this fixture at Old Trafford.

There were no changes from wither half at the start of the second half of the match. Both teams continues where they left off at the end of the first half, playing a pretty stagnant match with both sides having a lot to do in order to get something from the match. Palace started to shown signs of being the better team with United doing more of the same from the first half, which was not all that entertaining. In the 51st minute of the match, United had a shock after Harry Maguire was backpedaling and did not get much one a header to clear away the danger which Jordan Ayew just got on to passing it to Benteke with a one-two with the shot walloped into Dean Henderson who was not really tested at the start of the half. This was starting to become dire to watch.

Palace had another chance on the hour mark of the match after Luka Milivojevic’s free-kick from 25-yards, which bounced off the top of the United wall and dropped for Andros Townsend on the volley, before bouncing a foot wide of the far post. It was not really a chance but it was another sign to show just how terribly United have been playing at this point of the season. Solskjaer needs to start thinking about making a change so that there is time to try and influence the game. Inn the 67th minute, Daniel James was warming up but things just seem to be left too late and then when the changes are made, the players do not tend to have much time to get into the game, let alone try to change something.

Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 74th minute of the match with Scott McTominay replacing Fred, who had some impact in the midfield, but was poor in an attacking sense and pointless at shooting from range for goals as they always went wayward rather than created a goalscoring opportunity. McTominay had an instant impact, getting into the Palace box and threatening, however, the home side recovered and then threatened United in their own area of the pitch. Solskjaer then made his second change in the 76th minute with Daniel James replacing Cavani, whose impact in the game was not the best, although it was good to see him back from the injury that kept him out for the last four matches.

Mason Greenwood had a good chance in the final ten minute of the match after United got forward and looked positive in the match. He shot towards goal only to see his effort off target but perhaps one of the best chances for his side of the evening. It is a shame that United play like this when they need to stand up more than ever. It just shows that the requirement in the team to win the Premier League title is not yet present, which is a worry. United will once again remain a work in progress under Solskjaer, which is the most positive period of any manager post-Sir Alex Ferguson but these performances will not whet the thirst for many supporters as the dominant displays of high pressing football seem to have dropped of as soon as they arrived, so to speak.

United started to run out of time to get something from this match and it started to seem like yet another lacklustre 0-0 draw in a game that United should be winning. A month ago, United were being lauded as title contenders but poor results saw Manchester City come from below them to now open up a 14-point lead at the top of the Premier League table. If United play like this at the Etihad on Sunday, it was likely to be a tough afternoon for Solskjaer’s side. Dean Henderson made a great save to deny Palace with a few minutes of normal time remaining, which was good to see. He is another player who can hold his head high as he wants United to win at every chance they have. He should be playing more for this club. Perhaps that will happen.

United face a daunting trop to the Etihad on Sunday to face Manchester City, who could win the league at some point in the next month, which was something United dreamed of not all that long ago. Solskjaer needs to get some answers from his team at this time as the same tactics that he has been using are no longer working and there needs to be a change, either in personnel ons the pitch or a different tactical approach. United need three points against City and that is going to be a big ask for Solskjaer and United. Some players clearly need a break but this is not the time for that. After Sunday, United will face AC Milan at Old Trafford in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League round of 16 stage, which does not give these players any time to hide.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Kept a clean sheet and made a good save in the last few minutes of the match to deny the hose side. He was vocal in his area, which was good to hear. He needs to be given more opportunities this season - he is the future of the club.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Played against his former club and got forward a lot of the time. United had few chances, which is a worry but defensively, Wan-Bissaka did what he needed to do.

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3 Eric Bailly

Good to see him back on the pitch although he was rarely tested against Palace. I think he's better than Lindelof but there always seems to be an injury at some point. Will be happy with another clean sheet but United need to start winning again.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led United to another 0-0 draw, which seems to be the chosen scoreline at this stage of the season. Had a chance on goal but failed to get anything, which is the story of United's season, at this time anyway.

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23 Luke Shaw

MOTM for me. He was the only player that dug deep to provide. Looked to have been injured in the initial stages of the match but recovered and pushed to get United forward and defend to keep Palace at bay. Can hold his head high on the way back to Manchester.

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17 Fred

Kept United going forward in midfield throughout his appearances. Had a wayward shot on goal. Never gave much, not that many of the United players did anyway. Was replaced by McTominay in the 74th minute of the match.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Should have opened the scoring in the first half of the match after a stunning effort on goal which was saved by the Palace keeper. Did what he needed to do in midfield, although that was really it.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Had a good chance to score in the final ten minutes of the match but saw his effort wide of the target, which is the story for United on this dreadful evening of football.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Seems to be well of the pace at this stage of the season. He clearly needs a rest, which comes at the wrong time. United cannot continue relying on him and other players need to stand up and be counted.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Should have scored early in the match but missed from close-range. Not being funny but why can't he seem to score these goals. United rarely got good chances from there, which is a worrying sign.

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21 Edinson Cavani

The last four matches on the sidelines through injury have been costly and it does not seem like he is fully fit and ready to change things for United. He never had the impact he's had in recent matches, which will come in time. He was replaced by James in the 76th minute of the match.

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Substitutes

39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Fred 74'. Had an immediate impact, putting United forward and trying to get something from the game. Had more of an impact in the match than Fred did.

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Ratings: Henderson and Shaw can hold their heads high with Matic performing well in Palace draw; Fernandes well out of form is a big worry

Replaced Cavani 76'. Used his pace to get United forward and play the width, but nothing was coming close for United in this match.

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Goals: N/A

Assists: N/A

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred (McTominay 74′), Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani (James 76′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Lindelof, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Diallo, Shoretire

Bookings: Jairo Riedewald 90+3′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Henderson, Bailly and Cavani start as United look to go back to winning ways by beating Crystal Palace

Manchester United will be up against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the Premier League this 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:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, Matic;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford;

Cavani

Substitutes:

Grant; Lindelof, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Diallo, James, McTominay, Shoretire

Crystal Palace:

Guaita;

Ward, Koutaye, Cahill, Van Aanholt;

Milivojevic, McCarthy;

Townsend, Eze, Ayew;

Benteke

Substitutes:

Butland; Dann, Kelly, Hannam; Schlupp, Riedewald; Mateta, Wickham, Batshuayi

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Greenwood, Rashford, Fernandes and James to lead the attack against Palace; Diallo from the bench to make his mark?

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

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?

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

Player Ratings: Van de Beek’s debut goal – that was the positive. United poor in Palace defeat

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in the opening Premier League match of the season. Andros Townsend showed United’s defensive frailties inside seven minutes to open the scoring. A penalty (that never was) was awarded, saved by David De Gea, retaken with Wilfried Zaha scoring it, despite Jordan Ayew taking the first one. Donny van de Beek scored a debut consolation before Zaha struck again to hit United hard. Luton Town in the Carabao Cup next…

Palace started the match on the front foot which saw Andros Townsend looking confident against Luke Shaw on the left flank. United were looking fragile defensively from the start and it took just seven minutes for Palace to carve out an opening goal through Townsend after Jeffrey Schlupp got the better of Victor Lindelof with the ball being played to Townsend at the near post, beating Shaw to open the scoring. United should be doing so much better there. This is why a left-back is needed this summer.

United started to show improvement at the first half continued and managed to get shots on goal, and on target, although nothing came close to get them level. United won a free-kick with about five minutes of the half remaining with Bruno Fernandes taking the set-piece, getting no advantage for United. Jordan Ayew had a shot on goal in added time, forcing a save from David De Gea, giving Palace a corner. The set-piece was cleared by Lindelof before Wilfried Zaha had a shot on goal, which was wide.

Solskjaer made his first substitution during the half time break with Daniel James being replaced by Mason Greenwood. United were pushing to get back into the game but Palace were also pushing to double their lead in the early stages of the second half. United’s best chance came through Greenwood just before the hour mark but he was unable to find the equaliser for United. It was clear that United needed some more desire on the pitch as nothing seemed to be coming for United.

United made their second substitution of the match in the 67th minute with Donny van de Beek making his debut for the club with Paul Pogba, who was not quite up to speed, coming off. Palace won a penalty after a supposed half ball by Lindelof, which was harsh. Ayew took the penalty with De Gea making the save. Then with the ball being cleared up the pitch, Martin Atkinson ordered the penalty to be retaken. Zaha took the penalty, doubling Palace’s lead. VAR has become an even bigger farce this season than last.

United got themselves back into the match in the 80th minute with a debut goal from Donny van de Beek, thirteen minutes after the Dutchman was brought on to replace Pogba. United looked like they were going to aim to get themselves back into the game but Zaha stopped that with a second goal in the 85th minute, putting United two goals behind again. It is not a great start to the season. Solskjaer will be under lots of scrutiny from the media and the Mourinho supporters making the last two weeks of the transfer window even tougher.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Conceded inside seven minutes. After the opening goal, De Gea found his feet and got back into the game, forcing a save from Ayew in added time in the first half. Saved a penalty from Ayew, but moved from his line so it was retaken with Zaha scoring.

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Player Ratings: Van de Beek’s debut goal – that was the positive. United poor in Palace defeat

Started ahead of Wan-Bissaka against Palace. United's defence was poor, especially in the early stages of the match which saw Palace score. Was booked in the second half of the match. The Dutchman was replaced by Ighalo in the 81st minute of the match, just after United scored through Van de Beek.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Lost out defensively to Schlupp, who provided the assist for Townsend's opener. Should have done much better. Grew into the game and made a crucial clearance at the end of the first half. Gave away a penalty, that never should have been a penalty.

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5 Harry Maguire

Defensively, not good enough against Palace. As the captain of this team, not good enough. United need a better leader. It is the early stages of the season, so improvement might be found but defensively, United are going to struggle and need reinforcement. Not that the owners of the executive vice-chairman care about that. There is money to trouser, after all.

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23 Luke Shaw

Was given many early problems by Townsend in the early stages of the match which resulted in a goal for the Palace player. You can see why Solskjaer wants to sign a left-back this summer. His lack of form and injury record are a problem for United.

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6 Paul Pogba

I though the Frenchman was poor against Palace. His distribution was sloppy at times and he did not seem to have much desire. For a world class player, he should be striving for more. However, he has just recovered from coronavirus and might just be lacking fitness. Replaced by Van de Beek in the 67th minute.

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39 Scott McTominay

Good to see him start against Palace. Seemed lively at times but in terms of an end product, he is lacking at this time. Needs to look at his goal against City last season and find that impact and he will offer value.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Seemed to be lacking something in the first half of the match, similarly to how he came back after the restart last season. Not really active in the second half either. Not good enough to be fair.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Had lots of involvement in the match against Palace but in terms of creativity, nothing really came off for the club. I thought United would have started much better than this as that Villa defeat last week saw many players missing, who were playing today.

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Player Ratings: Van de Beek’s debut goal – that was the positive. United poor in Palace defeat

Lots of pace but no real end product at this moment in time. Started well last season but has come unstuck. Should be using his pace to break in behind the defenders and playing the ball inside but passes back or sideways before. Needs to find improvement and quickly. Replaced by Greenwood at half time.

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9 Anthony Martial

Last seasons momentum from the Frenchman was not present today. United did little to provide any creativity worthy of breaking this Palace side down. United deserve what was dished up for them. Improvement needed across the entire squad.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced James 46'. Had a good chance early in the stages of the half but could not put United level.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Pogba 67'. Made his debut for the club and score a debut goal, which was more of a consolation. Good to see him get a scoring start to his career.

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Player Ratings: Van de Beek’s debut goal – that was the positive. United poor in Palace defeat

Replaced Fosu-Mensah-Mensah 81'. Came on late in the game but in terms of finding a solution to the problems that United faced, he did not offer much in all fairness.

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Goals: Donny van de Beek 80′; Andros Townsend 7′, Wilfried Zaha 74′ penalty, 85′

Assists: Jeffrey Schlupp 7′

Manchester United: De Gea; Fosu-Mensah (Ighalo 81′), Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba (Van de Beek 67′), McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, James (Greenwood 46′); Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Wan-Bissaka; Fred

Bookings: Tim Fosu-Mensah 58′, Harry Maguire 64′; Joel Ward 55′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Martial, Rashford, Fernandes and Pogba start against Palace; Van de Beek on the bench

Manchester United start the 2020/21 Premier League season against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford this evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side should have started at Turf Moor against Burnley last weekend but both United and Manchester City has their opening matches postponed due to their participation in the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League respectively. United have played just one pre-season match this summer, losing to Aston Villa at Villa Park last Saturday.

That said, United’s players should still be fresh from their European endeavours and playing for their countries during the international break, which came before the season actually started. Roy Hodgson’s side have played two competitive matches already this season, added to four pre-season matches whilst United were still playing in Europe. This will be an important match for United as they lost this fixture last season and will be seeking to start the 2020/21 season well.

This summer, there was so much promise that United could partake in the summer transfer market, continuing their rebuild. However, the club is currently failing to bring in more than one new signing so far this summer; Donny van de Beek from Ajax. Solskjaer’s side have been linked with Jadon Sancho all summer, but that prospective deal is something that has not really developed since the 10 August deadline expired. United recently missed out on Sergio Reguilon, who will be signing for Tottenham Hotspur.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Fosu-Mensah, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Pogba, McTominay;

Rashford, Fernandes, James;

Martial

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Wan-Bissaka; Fred, Van de Beek; Greenwood, Ighalo

Crystal Palace:

Guaita;

Ward, Kouyate, Sakho, Mitchell;

Townsend, McArthur, McCarthy, Schlupp;

Zaha, Ayew

Substitutes:

Hennessey; Inniss, Kelly; Milivojevic, Meyer, Eze; Batshuayi

United and Palace have met 22 times in the Premier League; United have won 17 times, drawn four times and were beaten just once. In terms of goals scored, United have 43 compared to Palace’s 10 with United winning four penalties and scoring three – Palace have not won a penalty against United in the Premier League. United have kept 15 clean sheets with Palace keeping three. Discipline has been an issue with United receiving 31 yellow card and one red card with Palace receiving 36 yellow cards and two red.

Last season, in this fixture at Old Trafford, United lost their first match against Palace in the Premier League. Jordan Ayew opened the scoring in the 32nd minute of the match with Daniel James equalising in the 89th minute. Patrick van Aanholt scored the winner three minutes into added time. At Selhurst Park, United were the victors with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in added time at the end of the first half with Anthony Martial doubling United’s lead in the 78th minute of the match.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW