Premier League: Crystal Palace v Manchester United match preview
A look ahead to this weekend's Premier League fixture at Selhurst Park
Friday 21 February 2014
In previous seasons, a trip to Selhurst Park would not have posed too many difficulties to a side of Manchester United's ilk. They would travel down the M6 full of confidence, and invariably end up going home with all three points.
This time though, it doesn't seem as simple. Crystal Palace are a changed team under Tony Pulis, and have won three of their last four Premier League matches. They have a game in hand on the teams around them, following the postponement of their away trip at Everton, but could be as high as 10th if they win the rearranged fixture.
There is no doubting it is a season of transition at Old Trafford. David Moyes has not had the start he would have hoped for, and playing Manchester United is not the near-impossible task it used to be for teams fighting in the bottom half of the division. The away side will still be the favourites, but don't be surprised if an upset is on the cards.
Palace, for the first time in over 18 months, have a fully fit squad after Glenn Murray returned from a long injury layout. Murray, top scorer in the Championship last season, played the final 20 minutes off the bench in the Eagles' 3-1 win over fellow strugglers West Brom last time out.
David Moyes will have to consider a Tuesday night Champions League trip to Olympiakos, but is expected to stick with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie leading the line. Rafael will be back in contention after recovering from a clash of heads in United's 0-0 draw at Arsenal, and Marouane Fellaini could return for his first appearance in a United shirt since December.
United currently sit 7th in the table, eight points from the Europa League and 11 from the holy grail of the Champions League. Three points on Saturday will do Moyes and co. the world of good, and everything points towards a fascinating game under the lights at Selhurst Park.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 5.30pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Manchester United 2 (van Persie, Rooney) Crystal Palace 0, Premier League, September 2013
Manchester United 1 (Macheda) Crystal Palace 2 AET (Ambrose, Murray), Carling Cup, November 2011
Crystal Palace 0 Manchester United 0, Premier League, March 2005
Palace captain Mile Jedinak has made more tackles and interceptions (169) than any other player in Europe's top five leagues this season.
David Moyes has not named the same starting XI in any two competitive games this season; this weekend's match is his 40th in charge of Manchester United.
Palace have scored 44% of their goals this season from set pieces, higher than any other team in the league.
Although the Eagles' triumphed over United in the Carling Cup two seasons ago, the Red Devils haven't lost a league meeting against the opposition in their last 11 matches, winning nine and drawing two.
Crystal Palace to win: 7.0
Manchester United to win: 1.62
TV: Live coverage on Sky Sports 1, Saturday 5.30pm. Highlights on BBC1, 10.30pm
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