Crystal Palace vs Manchester United Preview



Desperation makes strange allies, and among the strangest are currently Man United and Manchester City supporters.  With the top 4 race in full swing, United fans have to be thinking about qualifying for UEFA Champions league and at the best possible seeding which would be most likely, a second place finish in the premiership this season.

After Liverpool predictably defeated Newcastle at home, United got a good result from its noisy neighbors when City beat Chelsea on matchday 29.

City also did United a favor when it beat Arsenal last week.  Arsenal's struggled continued when the Gunners lost to Brighton and Hove this week.

This sets United up for a Monday night football showdown with Crystal Palace needing a draw to pull into a point-total tie with Liverpool for 2nd, or a win to reclaim second place for next week.

Arsenal's and Chelsea's bad run of form has put the two squads well off the top 4 at the moment, and the Red Devils currently sit a point ahead of Tottenham for 4th in the table.

Crystal Palace enter the match sitting in the relegation zone at 18th, and haven't won a match since January.

Palace is coming off a home loss to Tottenham and a loss at Everton, both by multiple goals.

United has had its struggles on the road this season, including losses at Burnley, Huddersfield and most recently, Newcastle so it is no sure thing winning at Palace.

Crystal Palace is led by midfielder Luka Milivojelic who has 7 goals on the season.  Its attack is also keyed by former United man Wilfred Zaha although he is nursing a knee injury and should not be available for selection for manager Roy Hodgson.

In order for United to garner all three points, very simply, it will need to bury its chances.  When United gets in trouble it is when it is wasteful in attack often building up effectively, but then lacking ideas and quality in the box.  The attack should be bolstered by the re-emergence of the scoring touch of Romelu Lukaku who has started to find the net for the Devils.  Lukaku has scored in 2 of the last three matches, and in the 0-0 draw at Sevilla found the net, but the play was ruled offside.

Predicted XI:  formation 4-3-3

Goalkeeper: David de Gea

Backline: Young-Bailley-Lindelof-Valencia

Midfield: McTominay-Matic-Pogba

Attacking 3: Alexis-Lukaku-Rashford

Why this lineup?

I think Young hasn't done anything to lose his spots and the manager will want to utilize his leadership at the back with a young centre-back pairing.  I think he will select Rashford over Martial to take advantage of Rashford's pace early to run at defenders and wear them down for Martial to come in and possibly nick a game-winner.

Although nominally a 4-3-3, I think it will morph into something like a 2-2-1-4-1 when in attack.
Lukaku will cherry pick a bit in the front and provide a target while Alexis will have free range to move forward and sideline to sideline and drop back in defense.

Predicted result: Palace 0, United 2

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