Match Previews

Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United

Photo via Wikipedia

Contrasting weekends for these teams last time out (as Palace conceded late on to lose against London rivals Spurs whereas United outfought London title holders Chelsea), has meant that preparation has differed during the build-up to the game in the adverse conditions all over the country.

Both Roy Hodgson and José Mourinho are certainly experienced but have totally contrasting targets for the rest of the season. The former just needs to keep his side in the league whereas the latter’s focus is more on cup competitions.

Drama unfolded in the last version of this fixture and the Monday night match may offer some again even with the Beast from the East still looming over Britain.

Kick-off: 20:00 (GMT)

Venue: Selhurst Park

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

The Eagles


Position: 17th

Current run: LLDDL

Top scorer: Luka Milivojević [7]

Most assists: Andros Townsend [5]

One to watch: Christian Benteke

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Yohan Cabaye; groin (3 weeks)
  • Scott Dann; cruciate ligament (next season
  • Timothy Fosu-Mensah; loaned from opposition
  • Ruben Loftus-Cheek; knee (4 weeks)
  • Martin Kelly; hamstring (day to day)
  • Jason Puncheon; cruciate ligament (next season)
  • Bakary Sako; ankle (next season)
  • Mamadou Sakho; calf (day to day)
  • Jeffrey Schlupp; knee (day to day)
  • Julian Speroni; knee (next season)
  • Joel Ward; unknown (1 week)
  • Connor Wickham; cruciate ligament (next season)
  • Wilfried Zaha; knee (2 weeks)

Team news

Signed on just Friday on a free, former Liverpool goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri may start

Trio of defenders Kelly, Sakho and Schlupp will face late fitness tests

Out of favour midfielder Jordan Mutch had joined Vancouver Whitecaps on loan until December

Youngsters have filled the squad in recent weeks and versatile forward Alexander Sørloth is danger up front as he is set to start.

Style of play

The total injury crisis has stifled their progress under Hodgson but their resilient attitude in a solid 4-4-2 or counter attacking 4-3-3 has gained decent results since.

Usually, loanee Fosu-Mensah (who often carries the ball) has been at the heart of defence along with James Tomkins but Damien Delaney is expected to take his place. Full backs such as Kelly, Papa Souare, Patrick van Aanholt and youth product Aaron-Wan Bissaka are used proactively but keep tight to their men allowing for less space on the flanks.

Embed from Getty Images

By trade defender Jairo Riedewald sits in the middle of the park along with penalty taker Milivojević and most likely James McArthur to complete the tough trio which does lack some creativity and dynamism without Loftus-Cheek (who remains on loan from Chelsea).

The relatively instinctive build-up play is left to Townsend and, when fit, Zaha on the wings. Up front, the focal point of Benteke has already made United suffer in recent years for both Aston Villa and Liverpool with superb technique for such a powerful and burly unit.

Their poor form as of late is worrying so in front of a chilly yet rowdy home crowd (in which they could be back in the relegation zone), Palace will be desperate to pull of a shock result.

What the manager said:

“There is no doubt that as a group these players have made big strides forward and worked very hard to become a better football team and a harder team to beat.  I certainly feel more confident going into this game on Monday night, despite the fact that we have quite a few players I would have liked to have seen in the squad still missing, that we can give a better account of ourselves than we were able to do at Old Trafford”

Last version of fixture: 1-2 (McArthur) (Pogba, Ibrahimović)

The Red Devils

Talking points

New contract extensions for Daley Blind, Sam Johnstone and Ashley Young have been speculated in midweek.

In his press conference, Mourinho admitted that he expects Zlatan Ibrahimović to leave in the summer and does not know whether Marouane Fellaini will sign a new contract with the club.

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Daley Blind; ankle (1 week)
  • Marouane Fellaini; meniscus (3 weeks)
  • Ander Herrera; hamstring (2 weeks)
  • Phil Jones; illness (day to day)
  • Marcos Rojo; head (back in training)

Team news

Back in the starting line-up alongside Chris Smalling, defender Victor Lindelöf has stated that playing at United has already improved him and is happy to help out the team whenever he can despite itching to nail down a place week-in, week-out.

The squad have trained indoors following their few days off at the beginning of the week but should be fine travelling to London by Sunday morning.

Young star Scott McTominay is the subject a slight International tug of war as he is set to chose either England (where he was raised) or Scotland (where his family are from) but is staying rounded according to his manager.

Embed from Getty Images

Jesse Lingard once again proved worthy in a big game last time out so he should get a chance in this one by starting the encounter.

Ibrahimović will return to contention whenever he wants according to Mourinho.

What the manager said:

“Of course, the top four is very difficult and, at the moment, that’s the main target for us. But, if you can finish third, we are not going to finish fourth. If you can finish second, we are not going to finish third.”

Reverse fixture: 4-0 (Mata, Fellaini 2x, Lukaku)

Match facts

  • Palace have won 0 of their 17 Premier League meetings with Manchester United (D£ L14) – the most a team has played another without a single victory in the competition
  • United are unbeaten in 19 top-flight games against Crystal Palace (W16 D3), since a 0-3 loss at Selhurst Park in May 1991 courtesy of goals from Ian Wright and John Salako (2)
  • This will be Palace’s first Premier League game on a Monday since beating Arsenal 3-0 in April last season – they’ve got a better win rate on this day of the week than they have any other in the Premier League (35% – won 8/23)
  • United boast the best record of all top-flight teams on Monday games, winning 42 of 61 games (69%)
  • Palace have lost all 8 of their Premier League games this season that have not featured Zaha, scoring just once in them
  • Manchester United haven’t lost three consecutive Premier League away games since January 1996, whilst Mourinho has only 3 straight away league games once in his managerial career (August 2006 with Chelsea)
  • Paul Pogba has scored in both of his Premier League games against Crystal Palace – they’re currently the only team he’s scored both home and away against.
  • Anthony Martial has had a hand in more goals as a substitute than any other player in the Premier League this season (4 goals 2 assists).

UK television channel: Sky Sports Main Event/Premier League

Enjoy the match!

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top