Who: Crystal Palace vs Manchester United
When: Thursday, July 15th @ 3:15pam ET
Line: Crystal Palace +900 | Draw +420 | Manchester United -315
Manchester United bottled a perfect opportunity to move into the Premier League top-3 against a resurgent Southampton side, but there’s no more time to sulk on this result. The games are coming thick & fast right now and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must rally his troops to rediscover their best selves soon.
The Red Devils won 4 games on the trot after their last draw (against Spurs) & need to replicate stuff like that to end their season on a high. But after their setback, Crystal Palace won’t be sitting ideal looking to grind a result. Roy Hodgson’s side have lost all their games since the season restart. But they won’t hold back and take the fight to United, who will need to weather the storm to get their top-4 ambitions back on track.
Crystal Palace Predicted XI
Guaita, Ward, Dann, Sakho, Van Aanholt, McArthur, Milivojevic, Meyer, Townsend, Zaha, Ayew
Palace are dealing with a few injury troubles of their own, with defenders Gary Cahill, James Tomkins & Jeffrey Schlupp all ruled out for the game. Christian Benteke is suspended after picking up a red card in their last game.
Manchester United Predicted XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Dalot, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Martial, Rashford
The real headache for United is that both Luke Shaw & Brandon Williams might miss the game after getting injured against Southampton. This means Diogo Dalot might play, causing a change in the team after remaining untouched for 5 consecutive games.
Crystal Palace vs Manchester United preview
United experienced a necessary reality check against Southampton, with their attempts at grinding out a result making them fall flat on their face in the end. The Red Devils look a bit fatigued, which is understandable considering the pace at which games are going by.
However, there is no time for rest at this point. They need to dust off their cobwebs and rediscover the blistering form from a few weeks back. Thankfully for OGS, United have the easiest games (on paper) among any top-4 hopefuls in the final stretch of the season. But United took a few steps back in the draw against Southampton &now must play catch-up again.
The draw proved that United can be quite ineffective with Bruno Fernandes & Paul Pogba misfiring. Both players need to reclaim their creative swagger & lead with an iron fist for the Red Devils to dominate at Selhurst Park. With Anthony Martial & Marcus Rashford looking terrifying romping forward with their pace, United can easily cause havoc for Palace’s vulnerable backline.
Mason Greenwood also struggled against Southampton & will have extra incentive to get back among the goals at Palace. They should offer him a lot of space in attack, so he can continue his heroics in front of goal on Thursday. One thing is for sure, United’s shots on goal must be powerful enough or the brilliant Vicente Guaita will frustrate them all game long.
But the problem against Southampton was majorly United’s defensive work than their attacking one. The Red Devils are again making too many mistakes defensively, be it during playing the ball out of defence or defending against pacy oppositions. Harry Maguire & Victor Lindelof both need to fix their occasional erroneous nature to get another clean-sheet on the road. Palace know the mantra to cause them trouble – transition quickly from defence into attack & move forward in numbers.
With the likes of the brilliant Wilfried Zaha – who can run rings around any defender and will have an interesting battle with Aaron Wan-Bissaka – or the tricky Andros Townsend & clinical Jordan Ayew, Palace still have enough in their arsenal to grind out something against United. With possibly no Shaw or Williams, Dalot has a big chance to impress the boss & Wan-Bissaka needs to rediscover his ‘you shall not pass’ defensive nature that has been missing since the season restart.
As long as they don’t panic under the pressure, this should be an easy ride for United. Palace are in freefall mode and don’t look motivated enough to win games. As long as Solskjaer can rally his troops into rediscovering their menacing momentum that fuelled their 4-match winning streak, it should be another dominant win on the road.
As much as United look vulnerable (and they will probably start the game in nervous fashion), I don’t see them dropping points here. I’ll go with a hard-fought 2-1 win to keep the top-4 battle interesting.