The Premier League weekend concludes with the Monday Night Football which is likely to have implications at both ends of the table when Crystal Palace play host to Manchester United at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace have dropped into the bottom three in the table after the results earlier in the round of matches so they will be desperate to pick something up here while Liverpool have overtaken Man Utd in the race for second and this is the Red Devils’ chance to respond.
It has been and up and down season for Crystal Palace. At the beginning of it they couldn’t get anything going but then Roy Hodgson came in and turned their fortunes around to the extent most assumed they would cruise to safety. Then came a horrendous injury list which has contributed heavily to them plummeting down the table.
Palace have now gone five matches without a win and having moved up to the middle of the table at one stage their poor form has seen them drop into the bottom three again. The table is so tight at the bottom though that if they win here they will move up five places so their motivation certainly shouldn’t be lacking.
It hasn’t always been pretty or convincing for Manchester United this season but if they win this match they will go back in front in the league behind their rivals Manchester City. Given how poor they have been perceived to be they should at least be given credit for their consistency if not their style of play.
One thing United have done in the main this season is put the weaker sides to the sword. They’ve had their bad days as most in the league have but in the main they have seen off those lower down the table. The challenge has been laid down to them now and it will be interesting to see how they respond. They replied well against Chelsea last week in the same situation and will want a repeat here.
Crystal Palace are still missing a whole host of players although Jeffrey Schlupp and Martin Kelly have come off the injured list and could play here. Wilfried Zaha is making good progress but is nowhere near returning for this one. Timothy Fosu-Mensah is ineligible.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera are among a growing set of injured players for Manchester United while Anthony Martial has not travelled. Marcus Rashford could be involved.
Given all the injuries that they have got it is hard to think Crystal Palace can get anything out of this match but we saw last weekend when they played host to Tottenham that they can still be difficult to beat at home.
With that in mind I don’t think Manchester United will win this by a landslide but I do expect them to win and I fancy they will do it without conceding too. United have won to nil in six of the last nine league meetings between these two and kept another clean sheet in one other. There is no Wilfried Zaha to worry about here and the United defence should be able to deal with Benteke comfortably enough. It may take a while in coming but eventually I think the visitors will find a breakthrough and when they do it will be enough to secure all three points.
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