Preview: Solskjaer to make changes to keep the team fresh with FA Cup semi-final on the horizon; Palace to face a heavy defeat?

Preview: Solskjaer to make changes to keep the team fresh with FA Cup semi-final on the horizon; Palace to face a heavy defeat?

Crystal Palace -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Selhurst Park, London

Thursday 16 July 2020, KO 20:15 BST

Referee: Graham Scott Assistants: Harry Lennard, Derek Eaton 

Fourth Official: Keith Stroud Replacement Official: Garry Maskell

VAR: Simon Hooper Assistant VAR: Andy Garratt

Manchester United are back on the road on Thursday evening as they face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the Premier League. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be looking to bounce back from that devastating draw against Southampton at Old Trafford on Monday evening. Roy Hodgson’s side will be looking to recover from losing their last five matches in the league, which will be hard for them.

United could have leapfrogged both Leicester City and Chelsea to rise into third in the Premier League table on Monday evening, but will now be waiting to see what Chelsea can do against already relegated Norwich City on Tuesday evening. Leicester will face Sheffield United before United kick a ball on Thursday, so the Blades could do them another favour in their own chase for European football next season.

Form: United are unbeaten in 18 matches now, which is great for this stage of the season but that late draw against Southampton was disappointing. Palace have lost five out of their last six matches and could be set for another defeat this season.

Manchester United: DWWWWW

Southampton 2-2 D, Aston Villa 3-0 W, Bournemouth 5-2 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 W, Norwich City 2-1 W, Sheffield United 3-0 W

Crystal Palace: LLLLLW

Aston Villa 2-0 L, Chelsea 3-2 L, Leicester City 3-0 L, Burnley 1-0 L, Liverpool 4-0 L, Bournemouth 2-0 W

Top Scorers: Crystal Palace have scored 28 goals this season, which is not great, especially with United scoring 102 goals in all competitions, which will leave Palace wondering if another defeat is coming their way.

Manchester United Goals: 21 – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, 16 – Mason Greenwood, 8 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Odion Ighalo, Scott McTominay, 4 – Daniel James, 3 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, 2 – Fred, Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United are unbeaten in 18 matches, scoring 48 goals, conceding eight times, keeping 12 clean sheets and stuttering in their bid to break into the top four of the Premier League after both Chelsea and Leicester City lost this weekend. United will have another chance to break into the top four this weekend but both Chelsea and Leicester will have the chance to break away from United too.

Crystal Palace Goals: 9 – Jordan Ayew, 4 – Wilfried Zaha, 3 – Luka Milivojevic, Patrick van Aanholt, 2 – Christian Benteke, Jeffrey Schlupp, 1 – Cheikhou Kouyaté, James Tomkins, Cenk Tosun, Andros Townsend, Connor Wickham

It would be fair to say that Crystal Palace have a few problems this season. They sit 14th in the Premier League table and will be safe this season, sitting 11 points clear of the relegation places but could get dragged further down the table after losing their last five matches in the league. They might have beaten United at Old Trafford this season but after the Southampton draw, United will need to hit back and hard.

Team News: United could be missing four players with two having a 50% chance of facing Palace; whereas Palace have four players out; three injured and one suspended for the remainder of the season.

Solskjaer will remain without both Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones and could be sweating on the fitness of both Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams who suffered an ankle and a head injury respectively against Southampton on Monday evening. Both players are being assessed are are 50/50 chances to be involved. As Williams suffered a head injury, he could be made to sit out of Thursday’s match.

Hodgson will be without four players for the visit of United with Jeffrey Schlupp, James Tomkins and Gary Cahill all ruled out through injury. Christian Benteke will also miss the match after being sent off in the 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday which will see him miss the remaining three fixtures of the season, sending him on an early end of season break, not that it will be a big loss considering he’s scored just twice this season.

Predicted Starting XI: Solskjaer forced to make changes offer rest to some but opportunities to others?

Solskjaer will need to make changes to keep United driving forwards at this stage of the season. I think Luke Shaw will recover in time to face Crystal Palace on Thursday but with Brandon Williams’ head injury, he might not have medical clearance to be part of the squad which travels to London. However, Solskjaer will explain what is happening in his pre-match press conference ahead of this match.

Match Prediction: United have the best form between the two sides with 16 wins, four draws and one defeat in 21 Premier League matches. However, that defeat earlier this season will leave United wondering if it will happen again.

United and Palace have played 21 times in the Premier League with United winning 16, drawing four and losing once. United have scored 41 goals conceding 10. United have kept 14 clean sheets with Palace keeping three. United have won four penalties, scoring three, with Palace winning none. In total, United have 29 yellow cards Palace have 35 with United having one red card to Palace’s two.

Earlier this season at Old Trafford, United fell to a 2-1 defeat after Jordan Ayew opened the scoring in the 32nd minute of the match with Daniel James scoring the equaliser in the 89th minute. In stoppage time, Patrick van Aanholt scored the winner for Palace. A gutting defeat for United who were not at the best of their game. Last season in this fixture, United won 3-1 with a brace from Romelu Lukaku and a goal from Ashley Young.

Crystal Palace 0-3 Manchester United

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