ENGLAND: Premier League
Time: 3:00 PM
Venue: Old Trafford (Manchester)
Incoming Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s first live viewing of his new club would’ve produced mixed emotions, as controversial VAR decisions encompassed a back-and-forth game that eventually resulted in a thrilling 3-2 win over Arsenal in midweek. The German seemed hawk-eyed in his analysis, taking plenty of notes throughout, as he starts a process that United fans hope will see them reclaim their place at the pinnacle of the English game.
Goals won’t be at the forefront of the new boss’ mind, as the ‘Red Devils’ have perennial goal scorers all over the park, but rather their troubles are in defence. It’s been 12 consecutive home Premier League (PL) matches without a clean sheet for United, and with opponents Crystal Palace leaving Old Trafford with the full complement of points during the last two seasons, the hosts will need to address their frailties at the back.
Palace have already come to Manchester and won this PL season, beating United’s rivals Manchester City 2-0 at the Etihad. However, the ‘Eagles’ wings have since been clipped, as going winless in their last three (D1, L2) has stemmed the tide of losing only one of the 11 PL fixtures prior (W3, D7).
The visitors have stood up to the plate when being paired up with United lately, having only suffered two defeats in their last six PL H2H fixtures (W2, D2). Manager Patrick Viera will need to work on his team’s ability to close out tight games though, seeing as Palace have dropped five points already this season from goals conceded in stoppage time.
Players to watch: United star Cristiano Ronaldo will be brimming with confidence, having scored his 800th and 801st career goals against Arsenal, while Wilfried Zaha scored twice in this fixture last season, and has seen all his PL goals this season act as match openers.
- Manchester Utd’s form in last 5 matches: WDWLL.
- Crystal Palace’s form in last 5 matches: LLDWW.
PREDICTION: Home Win