Manchester United will need to get back in the win column Thursday evening, as the chase for Champions League spots continues. They’ll be heading to south London to take on a pesky Crystal Palace side, but one that has struggled of late without anything meaningful to play for.
Roy Hodgson’s side seem quite content to just play out their fixtures and return to their homes safely. They’ve been anemic offensively, and sit 14th in the table at the moment. They lost easily their last time out against lowly Aston Villa, and though they’d love to defeat Man United for the second time this season, a lot needs to change for that to occur.
For United, they suffered a tough blow earlier this week when they let a crucial result slip away against Southampton. Their defense was aloof, and allowed the Saints to tie the match in the final few minutes. A critical blow for their Champions League hopes. The pressure for United to squeak into the top-4 remains immense, as many experts believe that will decide whether or not they bring in star forward Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.
With all that is on the line, and with the clock ticking fast on these restarted campaigns, United need to take care of business and secure a full three points. That said, Palace has proven to be a frustrating opponent for many sides, and has already beaten the Red Devils this season. Can lightning strike twice? Read on below for a detailed match preview, tactical analysis, and betting prediction for Palace vs. Man United on Thursday.
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United Betting Odds:
Crystal Palace (+725)
Man United (-286)
Over 2.5 (-150)
Under 2.5 (+130)
Man United -1.5 (-101)
Crystal Palace +1.5 (-119)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United Pick:
It will be interesting to see what type of side Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson names for this clash against Manchester United. While the match is meaningless to the Eagles, you can bet many would like to see Man United not get into the top-4, and Palace can all but assure that if they steal victory on Thursday.
It won’t be easy for Crystal Palace though as striker Christian Benteke is suspended. That’s a tough blow to an already stagnant offense, especially with Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha in prolonged goal-scoring droughts of their own.
Palace can expect to play much of this match without the ball, and it’s believed Roy Hodgson will likely try to stack and clog up the midfield as a result. This will be designed to limit the time and space United’s creators have in the middle of the pitch, and prevent them from providing high-quality service. A 4-5-1 formation should be what Palace goes with vs. United.
Will that be effective though against such blazing speed and skill? Likely not, as United will enter a top-notch lineup, one that continues to score at will. Though they suffered a bit of a bump against Southampton, they remain in elite goal-scoring form.
Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, and Marcus Rashford are all in exceptional form. Mason Greenwood’s speed remains a huge issue along the right flank, and runs from former Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be problematic. In the midfield, Paul Pogba has rediscovered his world-class game, and is winning balls and distributing like never before.
Man U’s 4-2-3-1 formation allows for a lot of flexibility. They’ll take chances going forward in an attempt to break down Palace, and though their defense remains somewhat questionable – you cannot deny their elite scoring ability right now.
While United should win comfortably, the value just isn’t there, especially with the way in which their defense has been playing of late. Instead, with little on the line for Palace, expect them to partake in a fairly offensive outing, much like we saw last week when they hosted Chelsea. Palace will take chances forward, but also concede. Expect goals at Selhurst Park on Thursday afternoon.
Pick: Man U 3-2