Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Prediction: Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

Verdict: Anthony Martial to score anytime

Best Odds: 6/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

Two sides who are enduring a sluggish start to the new season, Manchester United will welcome Crystal Palace to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

Manchester United

Starting with the hosts, while their 2-1 fightback in Turin may have shown brief signs of a resurge under Jose Mourinho, Manchester United’s 3-1 hammering away at the Etihad prior to the International break has epitomised their poor start to the season. Sat way down in eighth, it will undoubtably be their defensive record giving the former Chelsea boss the biggest headache. With the fourth worst defensive record in the Premier League, United have now managed to record just one clean sheet in their opening 12 games. Desperate to close the gap on the top four, the Red Devils will, however, be boosted by their recent record against Saturday’s visitors. Winning their last six meetings against the Eagles, Mourinho will also be looking for France international Anthony Martial to carry on his recent run of form. With the misfiring Romelu Lukaku failing to find the net in his last 10 matches, the winger has six in his last five Premier League appearances and he could become just the fourth player to score in six successive Premier League matches for United, emulating Eric Cantona, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Team News

Manchester United are assessing the fitness of Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Victor Lindelof.

Full-back Luke Shaw is suspended after accumulating five bookings this season.

Crystal Palace

As for the visitors, while Roy Hodgson may have guided Palace away from the drop zone last season, the Eagles have shown some cause for concern at the start of the new campaign. Coming off the back of a 1-0 loss at home to Tottenham prior to the international break, they are now without a win in their last seven and only their goal difference sees them sat outside of the bottom three. Losing six of those seven matches, including crashing out of the EFL Cup at the hands of Championship outfit Middlesbrough, it will be their form in the final third that is the biggest concern for the former England boss. With talisman Wilfred Zaha failing to find the net in his last six, Palace have now failed to score in 50% of their Premier League matches this season. With some believing that Hodgson could be the next manager to face the chop, the 71-year-old will know that he must also improve on their record away from Selhurst Park. The Eagles have now lost their last four matches on the road, conceding eight goals.

Team News

Crystal Palace trio Wilfried Zaha, James Tomkins and Aaron Wan-Bissaka all returned to training this week following injury and could be involved.

However, Mamadou Sakho is a major doubt after suffering a back injury playing for France in midweek.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Manchester United are on a six-match winning streak against Palace.
  • The Red Devils are unbeaten in 20 league meetings since a 3-0 away loss in May 1991 (W17, D3).
  • Palace are winless in seven matches in all competitions, drawing one and losing six.
  • They have failed to score in a joint league-high six matches.
  • Anthony martial now has five in his last five Premier League matches.

Conclusion

On paper, Jose Mourinho should see this as a golden opportunity to get his Manchester United tenure back on track. Given Palace’s recent struggles, particularly on the road Anthony Martial will also see this as the perfect chance to carry on his recent record. With Palace conceding eight in their last four matches on the road, we’re backing the United winger to extend his Premier League run on Saturday.

Verdict: Antony Martial to score anytime

Best Odds: 6/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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