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Manchester United Start Their League Campaign Against Palace

Last updated: September 17, 2020 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Saturday, 17:30
Venue: Old Trafford
Coverage: Sky Sports
Home Form: DWWWL
Away Form: WLDWD
Last Meeting: Palace 0 – 2 Man United
Competition: Premier League

The Red Devils kick-off their Premier League campaign against The Eagles at the Old Trafford. Man United will be looking to continue where they left off last season currently on an unbeaten run of 14 games, will be facing a Crystal Palace side that has already won their first game.

Manchester United finishing third was a big achievement, for long periods of the season it looked like the twenty-times winners of the league would miss out on Champions League qualification. Despite the top three finish, they never seriously challenged last season and are still below the club’s standards as they have not won the league since 2013. United are in a state of flux, with an impatient fan-base and you really feel this season will be make or break for the Norwegian manager.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has Shaw back fit, which is great news for United as a positive outlet from the left. United had been linked to Real Madrid’s Sergio Reguilón to reduce some minutes from the England international, but with Madrid insisting on a buy-back clause, the 23-year-old seems more likely to be joining Tottenham, alongside Gareth Bale who has been continuously linked with making a move to Old Trafford since before Jose Mourinho was at the club.

Jordan Sancho is the player most fans want to see at Old Trafford; the young Englishman has been in sensational form for Borussia Dortmund. Last season, the 20-year-old started 25 league games and scored 17 goals and made 16 assists. The Three Lions forward would fill a gap on the right-wing, but United are refusing to meet Dortmund’s £107m asking price. Much to the annoyance of supporters who have watched Chelsea, who they finished level on points with, spend £72m on Kai Havertz, £44.7m on Timo Werner, £45.18m on Ben Chilwell and £36m on Hakim Ziyech with more spending likely.

United have made just one signing this window; they paid £35.10m to sign Donny Van de Beek, a central midfielder from Ajax. Van de Beek’s signing should ease the over-reliance on Bruno Fernandes and offer more tactical options. The signing of Fernandes is arguably the reason United were successful in their late surge for Europe. Since he put pen to paper at Old Trafford, he has scored eight goals and made seven assists in 14 appearances. Anthony Martial also had a good season; the French international had a season-high tally of 23 goals in 48 games last campaign.

United have been awarded more penalties than any other team in the Premier League in each of the last two seasons. Last season they won 14 penalties converting ten, including one on the opening day.

The side has endured a difficult close season after Harry Maguire and Mason Greenwood were embroiled in controversies while Paul Pogba tested positive for COVID-19. Aaron Wan-Bissaka had to quarantine for 14-days after a holiday in Dubai.

Solskjear will be looking to continue with the impressive form that they ended last season with on a run of 14 games unbeaten that secured UEFA Champions League qualification. They have won each of the last five opening day fixtures, including a rather lucky (despite the score line) 4 – 0 win against Chelsea last season. They have won three of the last five opening games without conceding. They had the third-best defensive record last season (36) behind Man City (35) and Liverpool (33).

Palace already has three points in the bag after a home win against Southampton. They were, however, lucky to get maximum points with the keeper, Vincente Guaita making a series of top saves to keep the Eagles in the lead. The Eagles will be looking to build upon the hard-fought 1 – 0 win, Zaha scored the only goal in the match with a well-placed volley for three precious points.

Wilfred Zaha’s future seems to be at Selhurst Park with his desire to move to a top side, to play European football, proving futile in yet another window. Zaha was Sir Alex Ferguson’s last signing, joining Manchester United in a £10.58m deal in January 2013. He ended up playing just four times for Man United as he spent much of his two years out on loan. However, the Ivorian has thrived at Palace since rejoining the club in 2015.

Spurs showed interest in 2018 in Zaha before he signed a five-year contract to stay at Palace. Twelve months later, his dream team, Arsenal, came calling. Zaha even meeting Unai Emery to seal a £40 million move to the Emirates, but they opted to bring in his fellow countryman Nicholas Pepe for twice the amount. Everton offered £50m, but the chairman, Steve Parish, held firm. The player recently changed his agent to try force a move, tired of being a big fish in a small pond. Zaha is a maverick player with huge talent and is marvellous to watch; his only downside is he doesn’t score enough goals.

Crystal Palace was bundled out of the Carabao Cup, after a goalless draw at the Vitality Stadium, they lost the penalty shootout 11– 10 to last season’s relegated side Bournemouth. In fairness to Palace, it was a much-rotated squad with just Jeffrey Schlupp retaining his starting spot. One of the only positives of the game was the return of Mamadou Sakho’s after being sidelined for two months with a hamstring tear. Captain Luka Milivojevic made a cameo as he returns to fitness after a delayed pre-season.

Jordan Ayew was Crystal Palace’s best player by far last season as their top scorer winning the player of the year and the players player of the year. Ayew is the son of the African legend Abedi Pele Ayew, although he may not reach the heights of his father, who won the Champions League with Marseille in 1993.


Team News

Martial had a season-high tally of 23 goals in 48 games and is surrounded by top talent all around him to improve his tally this season.

Last season United won the highest number of penalties, fourteen converting ten, including one on opening day.

Ayew won the team player of the season as well as the Players Player of the season as the Eagles top goal scorer last campaign.

Zaha’s future appears to be at Palace. Palace rejected an offer on transfer deadline day in January.


Expected Line-Ups:

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Manchester United (4-3-3): De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindeloef, Maguire, Shaw, Beek, Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial, Greenwood
Subs: Romero, Tuanzebe, Fred, Rojo, Mata, Lingard, Bailly, Dalot, McTominay, Matic, James
Injured:
Doubtful:
Not available:
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Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Guaita, Ward, Kouyate, Dann Mitchell, McArthur, Milivojevic, McCarthy, Ayew, Townsend, Zaha
Subs: Hennessey, Meyer, Bathshuayi, Kelly, Woods, Eze, Schlupp
Injured: Sakho, Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Cahill, Benteke
Doubtful:
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
Man United This Season Palace This Season
12th League Position 7th
0 (0) Wins (away) 1 (0)
Biggest Win 1 – 0 v Southampton
0 (0) Draws (away) 0 (0)
Biggest Defeat
Top Goal Scorer Zaha (1)
Y0, R0 Discipline Y2, R0
0 Failures to Score 0
100% Clean Sheets 100%
0% Both Teams to Score Games 0%
0% Over 2.5 Goals 0%
100% Under 2.5 Goals 100%
  • The Eagles have played against The Red Devils 19 times, United dominating the proceedings with 14 wins against just two wins with three draws between them.
  • Zaha is the only player to score a goal this season, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win against Southampton.
  • Palace won the last time the two sides met at Old Trafford and will be hoping the United players lack match sharpness in their first game.
  • Palace has five of their players out injured, prompting Kouyate to play as an auxiliary central defender in their opening game.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
16/07/2020 EPL Palace 0 – 2 United Rashford 45’
24/08/2019 EPL United 1 – 2 Palace Ayew 32’
27/02/2019 EPL Palace 1 – 3 United Lukaku 33′
24/11/2018 EPL United 0 – 0 Palace
05/03/2018 EPL Palace 2 – 3 United Townsend 11’

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Manchester United fans will be hoping that the momentum that the club built up towards the end of last season will continue, with the team on a 14-match unbeaten run in the league. The supporters will be hoping the team will be refreshed, two semi-final defeats (FA Cup and Europa League) could be attributed to tiredness, with the manager not seeming to trust his squad players.

Palace has already played a league game, a 1-0 win over Southampton at the weekend and a Carabao Cup defeat at Bournemouth so should have better levels of match fitness. Palace won on their last visit to Old Trafford, ending a 30-year drought at the theatre of dreams.

We think this is going to be a tight affair at Old Trafford; both teams will score with United just edging it. A 2-1 Manchester United win is priced @ 8/1 at Betway. A good side bet is Bruno Fernandes to score a penalty @ 7/2.