Manchester United will aim to get back to winning ways in the Premier League when they welcome Crystal Palace to Old Trafford on Saturday.

The games continue to come thick and fast across Europe. And Gameweek 22 of the 2022/23 Premier League season begins on Friday with the game between Chelsea and Fulham. Manchester United will be in action on Saturday, with the Red Devils facing Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

Manchester United started the 2022/23 season with back-to-back defeats in the Premier League. But they have lost only three top-flight games since then, although the latest came in their most recent outing. That fixture was two weeks ago, and the Red Devils have played three matches since then. The most recent was the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest, which sent them to the Carabao Cup final.

On the other hand, inconsistency has been the name of the game for Crystal Palace thus far this term. The Eagles have won just six of their 20 games thus far, a disappointing return, considering their squad potential. And Patrick Vieira’s men are currently on a four-game winless run in the Premier League, dropping to 12th in the standings.

The reverse fixture saw Crystal Palace come from a goal down to hold Manchester United to a 1-1 draw. Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring in the first half before Michael Olise struck in injury time. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester United

Erik ten Hag does not have any new injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Crystal Palace on Saturday, the Manchester United manager will be bereft of the services of five first-team players.

Christian Eriksen is a long-term absentee due to an ankle injury. In addition, Diogo Dalot (thigh), Scott McTominay (muscle injury), and Donny van de Beek (knee) are on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Jack Butland cannot face his parent club due to the terms of his loan deal.

But David de Gea is the first-choice goalkeeper for Manchester United anyway. And the Spaniard will take his usual spot between the sticks on Saturday. The Red Devils will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of de Gea.

Raphael Varane, fresh off announcing his international retirement, and Lisandro Martinez should form the central defensive partnership. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will continue as the right-back in Dalot’s absence. And Luke Shaw is an automatic pick on the left flank.

Marcel Sabitzer joined Manchester United on loan from Bayern Munich on deadline day in the January transfer window. And signing the Austrian midfielder might be a masterstroke for the Red Devils, even though he is a panic buy. But Sabitzer might not start on Saturday, considering ten Hag tends to ease the new arrivals into the thick of the action.

So Casemiro and Fred will pair up in the double pivot in the middle of the park. But Sabitzer will make his debut off the bench this weekend. Meanwhile, Bruno Fernandes will reprise the no. 10 role. As for the offensive unit, Marcus Rashford, Anthony, and Wout Weghorst pick themselves, with Anthony Martial still building up his fitness.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst

Crystal Palace

Unlike his counterpart in the Manchester United dugout, Patrick Vieira has greeted a positive update ahead of the trip to Selhurst Park. The Crystal Palace manager will be without three first-team players on Saturday.

Joachim Andersen might be fit enough to return to the matchday squad. But the Danish defender might not have regained enough fitness to start against Manchester United. So Chris Richards will likely continue to pair up with Marc Guehi at the heart of the defence.

Wilfried Zaha remains on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for three more weeks. James McArthur (groin) and Nathan Ferguson (foot) are the other absentees for Crystal Palace.

Eberechi Eze should start on the left flank in Zaha’s absence, with Jordan Ayew featuring on the right wing. Odsonne Edouard will get an opportunity to make his mark, spearheading the Crystal Palace attack against Manchester United.

Albert Sambi Lokonga will hope to make his debut this weekend. But Jeffrey Schlupp will likely get the nod ahead of the Arsenal loanee in the middle of the park. Schlupp should join Michael Olise and Cheick Doucoure in the midfield trifecta for the visitors.

Tyrick Mitchell and Nathaniel Clyne pick themselves as the two full-backs. Patrick Vieira wanted Manchester United defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka back at Crystal Palace in the January transfer window. But with a deal not materialising, Clyne and Joel Ward remain his right-back options. Finally, Vicente Guaita should feature between the sticks for the visitors.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Guaita; Clyne, Richards, Guehi, Mitchell; Olise, Doucoure, Schlupp; Ayew, Edouard, Eze

Key Stats

  • Manchester United have won just one of their last five Premier League games against Crystal Palace (D2 L2) and are winless in their last two. They have not gone three top-flight matches without a win against the Eagles since October 1970.
  • Manchester United have won their last five Premier League home games, last having a longer run at Old Trafford between May and December 2017 (8).
  • Crystal Palace have won just one of their last seven Premier League games (D2 L4), with that win coming at Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve. This is their third consecutive Premier League game against the team in fourth place, following draws with Manchester United (1-1) and Newcastle United (0-0) last month.
  • Manchester United have dropped points while leading in their last two Premier League games, having not done so in any of their previous 32 matches. Only once have they failed to win three consecutive Premier League matches despite leading each time, doing so in December 1998 (draws with Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea).
  • No Premier League player has had more successful take-ons this season than Crystal Palace duo Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze (32 each). But Zaha’s tally has come from 97 attempted (33% success rate) compared to 64 for Eze (50% success).

Player to Watch

Marcus Rashford

Rashford has been a player reborn in the 2022/23 season. And he has been one of the most in-form players in the Premier League since the World Cup break ended. The English international comes into this game on the back of winning the Premier League Player of the Month for January. And he will be eager to continue his fine run.

Rashford has been involved in six goals in his six Premier League appearances since the resumption of the competition following the World Cup (5 goals, 1 assist). Only Erling Haaland (7) has been involved in more in that time. And one cannot bet against the in-form Englishman right now.


Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace and Manchester United have engaged in an even battle in the last few years. And the Eagles seem to have the Red Devils’ number. The visitors also frustrated Manchester United in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago, as the two teams shared the spoils.

But the Red Devils have been indomitable at home, with their recent winning run illustrating their quality. And with Wilfried Zaha unavailable, Manchester United will have more than enough gulf in quality to get back to winning ways in the Premier League. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 win for Erik ten Hag’s charges.

Comments 1

  1. Manchester United 3
    Crystal palace 0
    Rashford ⚽⚽
    Wout weghos ⚽
    Casemiro Man of the match and

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