Preview: Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace

Preview: Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace

Fresh from their EFL Cup third-round meeting on Tuesday, Manchester United and Crystal Palace renew acquaintances at Old Trafford for a Premier League fixture on Saturday afternoon.

The Red Devils secured a comprehensive 3-0 win over the Eagles last time out, and they are now seeking to end the month on a high by claiming their third successive victory in all competitions.

Following a dreadful start to September, losing three successive games and conceding 10 goals in the process, Man United have since steadied the ship with two important victories without reply against Burnley in the Premier League and Palace in the EFL Cup.

The Red Devils managed to edge past Burnley with a hard-fought 1-0 win last weekend, but they breezed to victory against a powderpuff Palace outfit, with goals from Alejandro Garnacho, Casemiro and Anthony Martial helping the EFL Cup holders book their place in the fourth round, where they will face last season’s beaten finalists Newcastle United – who knocked out Manchester City – at the end of October.

Erik ten Hag believes that his side are making progress and that there is “still a lot to come” from his players, who are now preparing for the second of four consecutive home games in all competitions, with Saturday’s clash against Palace followed by a Champions League contest with Galatasaray and a top-flight meeting with Brentford.

Man United, who currently sit ninth in the Premier League table and five points behind the top four, will be keen to rebuild a strong run of form at Old Trafford after seeing their 31-game unbeaten home run in all tournaments brought to an end by Brighton & Hove Albion two weeks ago.

The Red Devils can be confident of following up their midweek morale-boosting win over Palace with another success on Saturday, as they have won 13 of their last 16 top-flight home meetings with the Eagles.

Crystal Palace initially made a respectable start to the new season, accumulating seven points from their first four Premier League games as well as hitting four past Plymouth Argyle to progress from the EFL Cup second round.

However, Roy Hodgson’s side have since failed to win their last three games in all competitions, with a 3-1 loss at Aston Villa and a goalless draw at home to Fulham followed by their exit from the EFL Cup third round at the hands of Man United on Tuesday, a game in which they had just 31% possession and only four shots on goal, with their first coming in the 67th minute.

While many Eagles fans would have enjoyed a run into the latter stages of the EFL Cup, Hodgson and co can now focus solely on Premier League duties before they can have a crack at the FA Cup in the New Year, with five of their next eight top-flight fixtures taking place away from Selhurst Park.

Palace, who sit just one place and one point behind Man United in the Premier League table, have largely struggled to claim positive top-flight results on their travels, as they have only won three of their last 14 away games since the turn of the year, beating relegated duo Leeds United and Southampton last season before securing a slender 1-0 win at Sheffield United on the opening weekend of this campaign.

The Eagles have celebrated success at Old Trafford in recent years, though, under the tutelage of Hodgson, with a hard-fought goalless draw in November 2018 followed by a 2-1 win in August 2019 and a 3-1 victory in November 2020; Palace have since been beaten in their last two visits by one-goal scorelines including a 2-1 loss to the Red Devils in February.

Manchester United Premier League form:

Manchester United form (all competitions):

Crystal Palace Premier League form:

Crystal Palace form (all competitions):

We say: Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace
Hodgson has experience of guiding Palace to multiple positive results at Old Trafford over the years, but success on Saturday will be a tall order if they fail to rectify their recent struggles in front of goal.

The onus is on Man United to follow up Tuesday’s dominant showing with a similar performance this weekend. Anything but a victory here would feel like one step forward and two steps back for the Red Devils, but with Ten Hag expected to name a stronger side, we can see the hosts claiming all three points.

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