Crystal Palace vs Manchester United: Preview and Prediction

Manchester United will aim to return to winning ways when they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday.

Gameweek 36 of the 2023/24 Premier League season will conclude with a Monday night fixture in London. The latest round of matches will end at Selhurst Park, where a buoyant Crystal Palace will host an inconsistent Manchester United.

The fortunes have spectacularly turned for Crystal Palace in the last few weeks. Oliver Glasner replaced Roy Hodgson amid a campaign that threatened to turn into a relegation dogfight. However, the Austrian manager has overseen a positive transformation at Selhurst Park, with the Eagles going four games without a defeat in recent outings.

As for Manchester United, they continue to blow hot and cold, with an injury crisis not helping their case either. The Red Devils cannot clinch a top-four finish, and qualifying for the UEFA Europa League is the best they can do. Meanwhile, Erik ten Hag’s charges will end 2023/24 without a trophy if they fail to beat Manchester City in a second successive FA Cup final.

The reverse fixture ended in a 1-0 win for Crystal Palace, while Manchester United clinched a 3-0 win in the EFL Cup third round. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the third and final meeting of the 2023/24 season between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Crystal Palace

Oliver Glasner has greeted positive updates on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Manchester United on Monday, the Crystal Palace manager will be bereft of the services of five first-team players.

Glasner will greet the returns of Eberechi Eze and Marc Guehi, with the duo recovering from their respective knee injuries. However, Sam Johnstone (elbow), Rob Holding (hamstring), Matheus Franca (groin), Jefferson Lerma (thigh), and Cheick Doucoure (Achilles) remain on the sidelines.

Guehi will unlikely feature in the starting eleven, considering the Eagles do not have much to play for this season. However, he should appear off the bench, with Nathaniel Clyne, Joachim Andersen, and Chris Richards forming the central defensive unit. Dean Henderson will take his spot between the sticks, with Crystal Palace lining up in a 3-4-3 formation in front of him.

As for the midfield unit, Adam Wharton and Will Hughes should pair up in the middle of the park. Daniel Munoz and Tyrick Mitchell will be the two wing-backs, aiming to provide the width in the final third. Finally, Jean-Philippe Mateta will spearhead the Crystal Palace attack against Manchester United, with Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise completing the numbers in the attack.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Henderson; Clyne, Andersen, Richards; Munoz, Wharton, Hughes, Mitchell; Olise, Mateta, Eze

Manchester United

Unlike his counterpart in the Crystal Palace dugout, Erik ten Hag has new issues hampering his preparations ahead of the trip to Selhurst Park. The Manchester United manager might be without as many as 12 first-team players.

Harry Maguire is the latest absentee, with the former Manchester United captain picking up a muscle injury in training. The English international has joined Luke Shaw (hamstring), Lisandro Martinez (calf), Tyrell Malacia (knee), Raphael Varane (muscle injury), Victor Lindelof (thigh), and Willy Kambwala (knock) on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Erik ten Hag is sweating over the fitness of Jonny Evans, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial. Bruno Fernandes, McTominay, and Evans might be fit enough to start, while Rashford and Martial might find themselves in the matchday squad.

Andre Onana will take his usual spot between the sticks, with Manchester United lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him against Crystal Palace. The backline should feature Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Casemiro, Evans, and Diogo Dalot.

As for the midfield unit, McTominay should pair up with Kobbie Mainoo in the double pivot in the middle of the park. Bruno Fernandes will reprise his usual no. 10 role, with Antony and Alejandro Garnacho being the two wide attackers. Finally, Rasmus Hojlund will spearhead the attack for the away side.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Casemiro, Evans, Dalot; McTominay, Mainoo; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Garnacho; Hojlund

Key Stats

  • Crystal Palace can complete the league double over Manchester United for the first time. The Red Devils have scored just one goal in their last three visits to Selhurst Park.
  • Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their four most recent league matches (W3 D1), their longest run without a defeat this season. The Eagles can win a third consecutive home game in the top flight for the first time since October 2022.
  • Manchester United have won just one of their last six Premier League games (D4 L1). The Red Devils have conceded 77 goals in 47 games in league and cup this season, their most since 1977/78.
  • Jean-Phillipe Mateta has scored in each of his five home Premier League appearances under Oliver Glasner (seven goals in total).
  • Bruno Fernandes has found the back of the net seven times in his last six appearances in all competitions.

Player to Watch

Rasmus Hojlund

Embed from Getty Images

Amid concerns surrounding the availability of Bruno Fernandes, the onus is on Rasmus Hojlund to step up and deliver the goods in the final third. The young striker has not been at his best since returning from a near-month-long layoff with a muscle injury.

With the FA Cup final looming, Erik ten Hag will hope his team’s star striker can get back to his best. Otherwise, Manchester United might be sitting ducks against Manchester City without much firepower to trouble Pep Guardiola’s men. So, the game against Crystal Palace is crucial for the Dane to build some momentum.


Crystal Palace 1-1 Manchester United

With the injury crisis worsening for Manchester United, Crystal Palace will have the impetus to take the game to the away side and even dominate the proceedings for large periods. That should be the case on Monday, with Jean-Philippe Mateta continuing his excellent run of form at Selhurst Park.

However, Rasmus Hojlund should make his mark on the game and start building momentum to end a decent debut season at Manchester United on a high. Expect both teams to trade blows for large parts of the game before they share the spoils. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw between Crystal Palace and Manchester United.

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