Manchester United vs Crystal Palace: Premier League Preview and Prediction
Manchester United kick off their new season with a fixture against the Eagles at Old Trafford on Saturday in the Premier League.
The Red Devils had been spectacular form if the league post lockdown is considered. A superb unbeaten run helped them climb from the seventh place to the third, securing Champions League qualification.
Crystal Palace did not finish the season in a way they wanted, picking up just one point from the final eight fixtures. However, all is forgotten it seems as Palace started off very well with a victory over Southampton.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United will have to keep in mind the last time they played the Eagles at home turf, it ended in Palace’s favor, courtesy of an injury-time Patrick Van Aanholt winner.
Head to Head Stats
The sides have played 16 games between them in the recent past and it is evident that United have dominated most of it. Crystal Palace have won just twice, drawing two and losing 12.
One more interesting fact is that Manchester United have averaged 1.33 goals in their last three games against Palace while Palace have an average of 0.67.
The 20-time League champions displayed some scintillating performances after the restart, grabbing three points from Sheffield United, Brighton, Bournemouth and Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Leicester City.
United’s form dipped towards the end of the season but that was mostly due to fatigue. During these times, Manchester United also became the first-ever team in Premier League history to win four consecutive league games scoring a minimum of three goals and winning the game by that margin.
However, Manchester United’s Europa League journey was less convincing as they lost to Sevilla 2-1 despite taking up the lead first. For Palace, things were worse as they lost seven out of their last eight, scoring just three times in that disappointing run.
Palace’s win against Southampton wasn’t a convincing one but it sufficed, thanks to Wilfred Zaha’s goal. It was followed by an early League Cup exit to the relegated Bournemouth on penalties.
Manchester United have won three, lost one and drawn once in their last five games in all competitions.
On the other hand, Palace have lost three, won one and drawn once in their last five games in all competitions.
Solskjaer will be having some absentees in their first game of the season. Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones are both sidelined. Paul Pogba could be a doubt considering his match fitness since he lagged behind in training preparations, as he was infected by the coronavirus.
Dutch star Donny Van de Beek could be getting his debut game following his arrival and it is expected that he will definitely play a part in the upcoming game.
For Roy Hodgson’s squad, the defense is dismantled as Patrick Van Aanholt, James Tomkins, Gary Cahill and Nathan Ferguson are all injured, barely leaving many options.
Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham will also miss the game, while Chelsea loanee Michy Batshuayi could make his first appearance for the Eagles after his return to Selhurst Park for his second loan spell at the club.
Anthony Martial vs Scott Dann
Martial was United's best player last season in terms of numbers and he finally seemed to have settled in the number 9 position. A lot of credit goes to Bruno Fernandes as his partnership with Martial worked very well. One of their trademark moves was the first goal of the Manchester Derby that Martial scored at Old Trafford via Fernandes' set-piece flick.
The Frenchman is expected to improve on last season's numbers.
Scott Dann played only 16 league games for Palace last season. With the Eagles' injury issues in the backline, Dann is expected to start in this game.
Palace's win against Southampton was not one of his best performances but on a personal level, Dann will be full of confidence. However, this weekend's opponents are completely different and the center-back may have a tough time stopping Martial.
The battle will be an interesting one as Martial will look to kickoff the 2020-21 Premier League with a goal contribution.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka vs Wilfried Zaha
Wilfried Zaha was one of the very few wingers that troubled a solid Aaron Wan-Bissaka last season.
Wan Bissaka's addition to the United squad was a massive upgrade for the ex-Palace man as he became more influential and his tackles only looked sharper. However, no defender would want to face Zaha in their first game of the season.
The Ivorian was exceptional against Southampton last weekend and Roy Hodgson would be expecting more from him this season.
With United's vulnerability in defense at times, Zaha vs Bissaka will be the battle to watch.
Considering the Red Devils had enough rest, there’s no doubt that they are the favorites in this one.
With an entirely new season ahead for Fernandes, it is anticipated that the Portuguese will be even more influential.
The visitors have managed just six points in 22 Premier League fixtures against the Old Trafford giants, so the omens aren’t good for Hodgson’s side.
However, a flashback of their last visit could reignite the Eagles and they may hit United in the areas they struggle at times.
With the hosts fully fit and firing, they will look to exploit the few options Crystal Palace have at the back.
Predicted scoreline: Manchester United 3-0 Crystal Palace
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