Depleted Manchester United hope to avoid upset minded Crystal Palace


As Crystal Palace meet Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, they go into this match with history clearly against them.  In their entire history in the Premier League, Palace has never beaten United. With the Red Devils currently sitting in eight place and in desperate need of points if they hope to compete for a top four spot, they have all of the motivation in the world to go out and take three points from Palace.

If Crystal Palace have any hopes of changing their history with United this weekend, the inspiration will most likely have to come from the the foot of Wilfred Zaha.  

The former Manchester United forward will look to try and impress against his former club and continue to power the anemic Palace attack. In twelve fixtures this season, Palace has only amassed eight goals, tied for second worst in the Premier League with Southampton.  

Of those eight goals, Zaha has scored three and assisted in one. Palace desperately needs to find some form of support for Zaha. The Eagles will hope that Andros Townsend will be able to find his touch against the United and be able to take a bit of the pressure off of Zaha to be the sole focal point of the attack.  

Another player hopefully to put a ball in the back of the net will be Jordan Ayew, the Ghanaian forward on loan from Swansea. While he has yet to score in ten appearances for Palace, Ayew is coming off of a week of international duty where he was able to net two goals in Ghana’s African Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia.  Palace will hope he can bring this same touch to Old Trafford this Saturday and provide some of the production that the Eagles were hoping for when they brought Ayew in on loan.

United comes into this match after a very strong October, with the Red Devils coming into the Manchester Derby undefeated during the month and with a morale boosting victory over Juventus in the Champions League.  

United were smacked right back down to earth in the Manchester Derby by Manchester City but they should hope to continue their October success into November. After a dreadful start to the season, the resurgence for United have come through the much maligned duo of Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw.  

Martial has been one of the best goal scorers in the Premier League for the past month and a half. Martial has netted five goals since the start of October and his recovery from a slow start to the season has given the Manchester United attack the boost it has needed to move the team up the Premier League table.

Luke Shaw has also been a key factor in how well United has played the past few weeks. Manchester United Jose Mourinho has strongly criticized Shaw in his time as manager at Old Trafford and it seems like Shaw has taken these rebukes personally and has responded brilliantly so far this season. He has performed well as a defender all season long and has even scored his first goal of his professional career.

United face a difficult prospect against Crystal Palace this weekend, as their roster has been decimated with injuries at each level throughout the roster because of various international commitments.  At the time of writing, United could be without six or seven key players at each level of the pitch. Defensively, Luke Shaw will definitely not be available, as he is serving a suspension for picking up his fifth booking of the season. Shaw’s absence will especially hurt, as it is compounded by Victor Lindelof not being fully fit from illness.

The midfield is also struggling with injuries to both Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, picked up during the International break. United are optimistic that Pogba may be available by Saturday but may not be fully fit.

Up top, Mourinho will have to figure how to get their attack going with the possibility that they will be missing both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial not fully fit.

In most cases, Palace would have a difficult time matching up against United at Old Trafford but with the injury woes that the Red Devils are dealing with throughout the pitch, they have a fighting chance against United. If Palace are able to score early and play pragmatic football, there could in interesting result in Manchester.


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based in Frederick, MD, USA. Multi-sport correspondent for Prost International and Prost Amerika focusing mainly on Soccer/Football and American Football

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