Manchester United will be looking to strengthen their grip on their place in the top four when they travel to face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Wednesday night.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could be third in the league by the time they kick-off at Selhurst Park and will be looking to make up for lost time following their goalless draw with Chelsea last weekend.
United haven’t lost in their 11 Premier League away games against Crystal Palace, the most one side has played at another without ever losing in the competition (W8 D3). However, the Eagles did win on the opening day at Old Trafford and are looking to complete their first ever league double over United.
In terms of early team news, Edinson Cavani is part of the squad which has travelled down to London ahead of the match.
Stick with us for updates LIVE from Selhurst Park.
Palace vs United betting action
One hit wonder?
Donny van de Beek scored just 13 minutes off the bench in his United debut in the reverse fixture against Crystal Palace this season.
Since then (including the final 10 minutes of that match), the Dutchman hasn’t scored any more goals in 1045 minutes of action in all competitions for the club.
‘Leaked’ team news hints at three starters for United
It looks like we could see plenty of change tonight with Edinson Cavani back.
The odd stat which might worry Bruno Fernandes tonight
Bruno Fernandes has 40 goal involvements in his 40 Premier League appearances so far (23 goals, 17 assists).
However, three of the last four matches in which the Portuguese has failed to register a goal or assist have been in London (vs Chelsea, Arsenal and Fulham).
Why Cavani could be crucial tonight
Solskjaer will be pleased to see Edinson Cavani back in the side having seen United fire blanks against Real Sociedad and Chelsea. Before the weekend the Norwegian said Cavani liked a training session at full pelt before he returned to starting matches, so we wait and see whether the 34-year-old feels fit enough to start at Selhurst Park, but United could certainly do with his eye for goal.
For all Mason Greenwood’s recent all-round improvement he has scored just one goal in his last 21 appearances, while Anthony Martial has scored twice in his last 15 games, both of them coming late on against a demoralised Southampton side. Marcus Rashford has fared better but United haven’t been clinical recently and they could do with Cavani tonight.
Solskjaer’s pre-match press conference
A reminder of what the United manager has said ahead of tonight’s match.
Solskjaer sends players a warning ahead of Crystal Palace fixture
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned that United must have patience and quality to break down Crystal Palace.
“We need to get back to winning ways. We want three points,” he told United’s in-house media.
“We know it’s going to be a battle. We’ve got to be really precise and show high quality in the last third because they’re not going to give you both, you have to earn them and we’ve got to defend well against their set-plays and counterattacks.
“You could say patience but also you need the quality because he does have a great record of organising his teams. They have some very experienced players that know the game. We felt that early on in the first game of the season of course. They counterattacked a few times against us and scored. So we’ve got a score to settle to be honest.”
MUTV reporter Stewart Gardner is already at Selhurst Park.
How United should line up vs Crystal Palace
Palace have a physical figurehead in Christian Benteke and that alone is an incentive to recall Eric Bailly. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has gone off the boil and Axel Tuanzebe is an athletic alternative at right-back. Dean Henderson needs an outing to prepare for the AC Milan tie on Thursday week.
Scott McTominay might be feeling fresher after he stayed on too long against Chelsea on Sunday and there is a four-day gap between the Palace and City fixtures. Mason Greenwood needs to go back to the right, with Cavani at the tip of the arrow.
Not much learned from last time
Solskjaer described his United squad as having a “score to settle” against Crystal Palace tonight but it feels like that league game at Old Trafford is all but irrelevant now. United went into their first competitive game of the season severely undercooked thanks to a limited pre-season and Palace were clearly sharper. The result wasn’t a major surprise. Since then United have lost just three of their next 25 Premier League games.
It was a false dawn for Palace as well. They remain comfortably clear of the drop zone but it’s another grind of a season, with just 29 goals in 26 games. Wilfried Zaha caused much of the damage at Old Trafford, but he’s been out injured recently and only returned to training at the start of this week. So much of Palace’s attacking threat depends on him.
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Roy Hodgson warns Palace about three United players
Roy Hodgson says things will not be made any easier for his Crystal Palace side even if Edinson Cavani is unable to play tonight, pointing to the likes of Anthony Martial,Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood as examples of the strength Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can call upon in attack.
“Well unfortunately if it’s not him it’s Martial,” Hodgson said when asked about Cavani’s availability. “If it’s not him it’s Greenwood. If it’s not him it’s Rashford.
“So it’s really take your pick up there, isn’t it? One world star after another.
“Fantastic group of players. We have to be ready for everything they’re going to throw at us, and they’re going to throw a lot at us because as you rightly say they have so many good quality players at their disposal.
“That’s why they score so many goals. They don’t need that many chances either to score the goals, because people chip in with goals from all sorts of angles and distances.”
United hopeful on Paul Pogba injury comeback
United are hopeful Paul Pogba will recover from injury before the March international fortnight.
Pogba, 27, has missed the last six games with a thigh injury and is not expected to be available for the Manchester derby at City on Sunday.
United host AC Milan in the first leg of their Europa League round-of-16 tie next week, with the visit of West Ham sandwiched between the European legs prior to an FA Cup quarter-final at Leicester on March 21.
The Leicester tie is United’s last fixture in March and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Pogba’s rehabilitation is focused on him hitting the ground running for when he does return.
“I hope we will, definitely,” Solskjaer said. “And he’s very positive. He’s working really hard. He knows when he gets back we haven’t got two or three games to play him into form, so he’s working hard on his fitness.
“And when you’ve got the quality of Paul fitness is the main thing. Mentality wise, you know when the sun is out in Manchester there’s nothing to complain about!”
Player of the month
Luke Shaw has been named United’s player of the month.
United squad vs Crystal Palace
Edinson Cavani has travelled with the Manchester United squad to London for their Premier League fixture with Crystal Palace.
Cavani, 34, has missed the last four games with a muscular injury but is in contention to return at Selhurst Park on Wednesday night.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on his pre-match Zoom call Cavani trained with the first-team on Tuesday morning and hoped the Uruguayan would travel.
You can read the early team news here.
How it stands
United could be third by the time tonight’s match kicks-off at 8PM GMT with Leicester taking on Burnley earlier.
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