After a disappointing result last week Palace will face a tough test to rebound against the Red Devils.
It was not the trip to Bramall Lane that the Red and Blue faithful expected last week with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Blades making for an unhappy trip home. Even more worrying than the defeat is the lack of bite that is apparent in the Eagle’s attack, as evidenced by the zero goals scored this season. With this uninspiring start to the season a trip to Old Trafford is not what fans would want to see to get the team back on track. Palace enter this game in fourteenth place, however the standings mean little this early in the season.
Manchester United have experienced a mixed bag to start the season with an opening day stomping of rivals Chelsea followed by an draw against Wolves in which they threw away the three points. Despite being one of the biggest clubs in the world the cloud of questions that always seems to surround Manchester United have not subsided with Paul Pogba’s future seemingly always in doubt and the jury still being out on Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s managerial quality. The Red Devils enter this match sitting in fourth and will look to keep pace with the top of the table with three points against the visiting Eagles.
Despite the underwhelming performance from the side last week odds are Roy Hodgson will name a relatively unchanged line-up for the trip to Old Trafford. The only players who are unavailable due to injury are first choice centre-backs James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho. This means that Scott Dann and Martin Kelly will likely continue in the heart of defense; however, Gary Cahill could make his first Premier League appearance in the Red and Blue should the manger go for a shakeup. The biggest changes could come in midfield where last week’s debutant James McCarthy, summer signing Victor Camarasa, and Cheikhou Kouyaté are all likely itching to make their first start of the season. Despite often cutting a frustrated figure last weekend expect Wilfried Zaha to remain up top as the key attacking threat with Christian Benteke there to support him. Benteke could be extra motivated to get himself on the scoresheet this week amid reports of the start of contract negotiations between him and the club as a strong run of form certainly would give him more leverage.
As in the case in most of the games he plays Paul Pogba will be the center of attention for this match. The midfielder, consistently considered among the best in the world, missed a crucial penalty in the second half last week that would have given Manchester Untied the lead, and most likely the victory. Eyes will also be on big summer signing Harry Maguire from Leicester City for a record breaking fee for a defender. The Englishman combines with other summer signing, and familiar face to Palace fans, Aaron Wan-Bissaka in a defensive shakeup that could change the Red Devil’s backline from a weakness to a strength.
This will be Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s first match against Palace following his big money move over the summer. The right-back has earned rave reviews from pundits and fans alike through pre-season, a fact that will not come as a surprise to the fans who saw him dominate week-in and week-out last season. Despite fans being distressed to see the best Palace Academy prospect since Wilfried Zaha depart the club there is no doubt that the fanbase will continue to root for his success, unless it is against the Eagles. Supporters of both clubs will be hoping that his stint in the red side of Manchester goes better than that of former teammate Zaha.
It is looking like it could be another slow start in the Premier League this season for Palace with a trip to Old Trafford not what the doctor ordered to get the team out of a slump. Although The Eagles have done their fair share of giant slaying in recent seasons this will be a tough patch with Palace’s form and Manchester United’s determination to right the ship after a disappointing result last weekend. Palace’s record against the Red Devils also does not inspire confidence as they have not managed better than a draw since their return to the top flight.