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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

copyright: JW