Man United vs. Crystal Palace
Venue: Old Trafford
Kick off: 3PM
Manchester United will look to boost their top-four hopes in the Premier League when they welcome Crystal Palace to Old Trafford today.
The two teams are separated by 15 points and eight places in the current standings, with the Red Devils sitting in fourth spot and the Eagles down in 12th position.
Man United are just 90 minutes away from potentially lifting their first trophy since 2017 after booking their place in the EFL Cup final courtesy of a 5-0 aggregate win over Nottingham Forest in the semi-finals.
After securing a comfortable 3-0 away victory in the first leg, the Red Devils eased to a 2-0 home win in the reverse fixture on Wednesday night thanks to a quickfire second-half double from Anthony Martial and Fred, and a Wembley showdown with Newcastle United on February 26 has now been pencilled into their schedule.
Erik ten Hag’s side are rightly in high spirits at present considering that they are still competing on all fronts, and their focus now shifts from the EFL Cup to the Premier League with Saturday’s clash against Palace followed by back-to-back encounters against Leeds United. Meanwhile, the small matter of a Europa League first-leg tie away at Barcelona is less than two weeks away.
Man United have excelled on home soil in recent months as they have won each of their last 12 games at Old Trafford across all competitions, including their last five home matches in the Premier League – not since between May and December 2017 (eight) have the Red Devils had a longer winning run in the top flight at the Theatre of Dreams.
Nevertheless, Ten Hag and co head into Saturday’s contest seeking to avoid a third successive Premier League game without a win, after a 1-1 draw away at Palace on January 18 was followed just four days later by a 3-2 away defeat at league leaders Arsenal in their most recent top-flight fixture.
United, who sit fourth in the table and three points clear of Tottenham Hotspur in fifth with a game in hand, have struggled to grind out results against Palace over the last few years, winning only one of their last five league meetings, and they will not take the Eagles lightly this weekend.
Crystal Palace have failed to win any of their last five Premier League matches, but Patrick Vieira will have taken plenty of positives from holding top-four hopefuls Man United and Newcastle to draws in their last two games.
A stunning Michael Olise free kick rescued a point for the Eagles in second-half stoppage time against the Red Devils, before a resilient defensive showing kept out high-flying Newcastle in a goalless stalemate two weeks ago.
More challenging fixtures are on the horizon for Palace, though, as they are scheduled to face United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Brentford, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Arsenal in their next seven Premier League games.
Vieira’s men currently sit 12th in the Premier League table, seven points clear of the relegation zone, but they may be forced to start looking over their shoulders in the coming weeks if their winless run in 2023 continues.
Goals have been hard to come by on the road for Palace, who have drawn a blank in six of their last nine away matches. However, the Eagles can head to Old Trafford with optimism as they have taken seven points from their last four Premier League away games against Man United, including a 2-1 win in August 2019 and a 3-1 victory in September 2020.
Manchester United possible XI: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Casemiro, Fred, Antony, Fernandes, Rashford, Weghorst.
Crystal Palace possible XI: Guaita, Clyne, Richards, Guehi, Mitchell, Eze, Doucoure, Schlupp, Olise, Edouard, Ayew.