Man Utd host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday in the Premier League. These sides played each other in the reverse fixture just two weeks ago as The Eagles earned a point with an injury-time equaliser. A four-game winless run has seen Patrick Vieira’s side fall just seven points off the drop zone.
Man Utd Form
It’s been a very busy fixture list for United since the World Cup with a match every midweek. That they’ve won 10 of their 12 fixtures is a testament to the good work being done by Erik Ten Hag. A run of seven successive wins included a 2-1 derby victory over Man City in a very strong defensive display.
The 1-1 draw at Palace and a 3-2 loss at Arsenal both saw goals conceded after the 90-minute mark to cost the Red Devils three points over those two Premier League rounds. It’s been three cup fixtures since then, beating Nottingham Forest 3-0 away 2-0 at home to reach the Carabao Cup final. In between those semi-finals, they cruised 3-0 past Reading into the FA Cup fifth round.
Man Utd Team News
Christian Eriksen has been ruled out for three months in midfield with an ankle injury. Either Fred or new loan signing Marcel Sabitzer will partner Casemiro in the engine room, with Scott McTominay a doubt for this match.
Anthony Martial is back from injury and scored from the subs bench in midweek. He may be given another short runout with Wout Weghorst starting again. Jadon Sancho appeared vs Nottm Forest for the first time in months and could make the bench there. Diego Dalot is close to a return but this one may come too soon.
Man Utd Motivation
United have three league fixtures in the next nine days so all attention will go on trying to take nine points in the race for UEFA Champions League football. 100% focus is on this fixture as they could cruise somewhat in their midweek semi-final.
Anything less than three points here would be seen as a very poor result.
Crystal Palace Form
Palace have hit a really tough run of form. They lost 1-0 at Nottingham Forest before the World Cup and then returned with a 3-0 home defeat to Fulham. Vieira demanded a strong response and got with a 2-0 win at Bournemouth but it’s proven a false dawn. Although the fixture list has been really tough, they’re winless now in four league matches.
A 4-0 home loss to Tottenham saw them concede all of those goals after half-time. A 1-0 loss at Chelsea followed in a match where they could have nicked a point. They then did exactly that with a 91st-minute freekick to draw 1-1 at home with Man Utd. Their last match was a 0-0 home draw with high-flying Newcastle. They played very defensively to get that point (39% possession, 0.30 xG created).
Crystal Palace Team News
Palace have a doubt over Joachim Andersen at centre back although he is close to being available again. Should this one come too soon, then USA international Chris Richards would get a third successive start. Wilfried Zaha went off with a hamstring injury in the last match. Should he fail to recover, it’ll be Jordan Ayew and Michael Olise in wide areas.
Palace moved to bolster their midfield in the January windows. Albert Sambi Lokonga joined on loan from Arsenal and will hope to go straight into the XI alongside Cheick Doucoure. Another addition was 20-year-old midfielder Naouirou Ahamada from VfB Stuttgart. He could be among the substitutes.
Crystal Palace Motivation
In recent weeks, Palace haven’t been particularly attacking or adventurous due to facing four of the “big seven” sides. In these tougher games, they often set up to defend deep and hit their fast outlets on the counter.
Patrick Vieira’s side would take a draw here and may even set up to play for one from the first whistle.
Man Utd have lost once in 18 matches at Old Trafford (Premier League)
Man Utd’s last 8 home EPL matches have seen 7 wins and 1 draw
United have 5 clean sheets in their last 6 home EPL matches
Crystal Palace have lost 4 of their last 7 league fixtures, failing to score in 5 of those
Palace have failed to score in 5 of their last 7 away EPL matches
Palace have conceded 1 or fewer goals in 6 of their last 7 away EPL matches
This looks set to be similar to the reverse fixture. Palace will be hard to break down and disciplined defensively. They don’t leak many goals on their travels but they’ve barely been scoring of late and key man Zaha is a doubt. United should win this by the odd goal, possibly 1-0.
Best Bet: Man Utd win to zero at 2.15
Value Bet: Man Utd to win by 1 goal at 3.45
Multiplier Leg: Man Utd win/draw double chance + under 3.5 goals at 1.55