Saturday, October 21, 2017

Prediction: Crystal Palace vs Manchester United


Verdict: Away win

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: William Hill

Buoyed by two very good results, Crystal Palace will attempt to further improve their survival hopes by defeating in-form Manchester United. The Red Devils appear to be slowly returning to the right track and they arrive at Selhurst Park in good spirits on the back of victories over Zorya Lugansk and Tottenham Hotspur.

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace have been terribly inconsistent over the last year or so and while it is clear they’ve got too much quality to go down, manager Allan Pardew is not exactly doing a great job of getting the most out of his team. The very good start to the new campaign was effectively neutralised by the shocking run of six straight Premier League defeats, where last three of those were recorded by a single goal margin. The Eagles finally managed to achieve the long-awaited triumph as they hammered Southampton 3-0 some ten days ago, thus easing the pressure ahead of the hectic festive schedule. The new-found confidence helped Palace hold Hull City to a 3-3 draw last time out as they scored a last-gasp equaliser, although they had also had the lead going into the final twenty minutes. The record of 15 goals scored in last six appearances is enough to suggest the Eagles have absolutely no problems up front, but the shaky back line is definitely a cause for concern. Palace conceded no fewer than 17 goals in said period and it goes without saying the defence will have their work cut out for them when facing the likes of Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Martial, among others.

Team News

James Tomkins is unlikely to be risked as he is not in the best physical condition, meaning that Martin Kelly should start at right-back.

Key midfielder Jason Puncheon misses out through suspension, whereas Pape Souare, Connor Wickham and Jonathan Benteke are out injured.

Manchester United

Similar to their next opponents, Manchester United have been punching below their weight, but they appear to be on the road to recovery. Occupying sixth position in the overall standings, 13 points behind leaders Chelsea and 6 adrift of top 4 positions, the Red Devils need to continue improving if they are to stand any chance of turning the season into a success. Jose Mourinho’s charges have raised their game of late, recording four wins and three draws in last seven fixtures on all fronts, with weekend’s triumph over top 4 rivals Tottenham Hotspur another testament of this uptrend in fortunes. Summer recruit Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been the key reason behind some very good performances, having grabbed his chance with both hands, scoring in back to back wins over Zorya and Spurs, but he unfortunately picked up an injury at the weekend and is now set for a short spell on the sidelines. Michael Carrick is another footballer who had been overlooked in the early exchanges, but has now become a regular starter, and while Mourinho had clearly been wrong not to play the duo from the start, at least he did well to correct his own mistakes. Manchester United will not have an easy task against revived Crystal Palace, but they might just be able to sneak a win on Wednesday evening.

Team News

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is certain to miss out through injury, while full-back Antonio Valencia is unavailable through suspension.

Jose Mourinho faces an anxious wait over Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw, but Eric Bailly should be recalled to the starting line-up.

Key Factors to Consider

  • A total of 36 goals were scored in Palace’s last 5 matches
  • Man Utd won three of last four matches at Selhurst Park
  • Man Utd won 16 of last 21 meetings with the Eagles (D4 L1)
  • Both teams scored in six of Crystal Palace’s last seven games
  • Man Utd are unbeaten in last seven (W4 D3)

Conclusion

Crystal Palace have shown some improvement of late, but they still largely struggle at the back and will have problems compensating for the absence of Jason Puncheon. Man Utd, on the other hand, are doing pretty well at the moment and having impressed in past meetings with Palace, we are backing them to win at Selhurst Park.

Verdict: Away win

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: William Hill

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