By Ollie Cranham-Young
- United will look to bounce back to winning ways following their Capital One Cup exit
- A win at Selhurst Park would see United maintain the pressure on league-leaders Manchester City
Following a disappointing defeat in midweek against Middlesbrough, United will be looking to maintain the pressure on City after the Manchester Derby draw last weekend.
United recently crashed out of the Capital One Cup after 120 minutes of stalemate and a poor penalty shootout despite being the better side and having more chances.
United will be looking to return to winning ways in London on Saturday afternoon and face an interesting tie at Selhurst Park. Palace have proven that they are difficult opponents for any side and they have a fantastic home record.
A win would see United maintain their spot in the top four and they would also have the chance to climb higher in the standings providing West Ham suffer a bad result away to Watford who also play on Saturday.
United will be hoping to recapture their form and play like they did in their last away game in the league. Which was against Everton where United convincingly thrashed the Merseysiders.
There have also been question marks about United’s goal tally this campaign, so the players will be wanting to dismiss this claim by scoring plenty of goals against Alan Pardew’s side on Saturday.
A win would also see United return to winning ways after going three games not emerging victorious and scoring only once in over 300 minutes.
Palace are currently 7th in the league and have had some very discouraging results recently in both the league and Capital One Cup. They have suffered three defeats from their last three games, to West Ham, Leicester and Man City in the league cup respectively.
Prior to this poor run of form, the Eagles had won three on the bounce including a 4-1 thrashing of Charlton Athletic in the Capital One Cup.
They will be looking to defeat United for the first time ever at Selhurst Park which would see them climb dramatically up the table and prevent United from sustaining pressure on Arsenal and Manchester City.
United achieved a double over the Londoners last season, after 1-0 victory at home in November thanks to a Juan Mata strike and a 2-1 victory away at the back end of last season. Which turned out to be a key victory in United’s battle to return to the Champions League this season.
Finally, Manchester City host Norwich also on Saturday and because United are only two points off the top, a win for United and a defeat for City would see United return to the top of the Barclays Premier League.
Antonio Valencia will not be available due to the foot injury he received in the Manchester Derby, and James Wilson and Memphis Depay both picked up injuries in midweek against Middlesbrough.
The Reds will also have to do without Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw, who despite his long-term injury, is making progress. United have no other injuries to contend with but manager Van Gaal is likely to reshuffle his pack following a poor performance from certain players in midweek.
As for Palace, they will be without their £10 million summer signing Yohan Cabaye, who most notably netted in injury time on his debut for the Eagles away to Norwich earlier this season.
Jason Puncheon will also miss out because of illness and strikers Connor Wickham and Marouane Chamakh are both set not to feature.
With the likely absence of star player Cabaye, United will have to watch out for danger man Yannick Bolasie who has been a key player so far this season for Palace and has been highly regarded by manager Alan Pardew. Bolasie has been nominated for African Player of the Year after contributing to his national side Congo’s two recent victories by providing two assists.
Subsequent to this, he also featured on the scoresheet for Palace when they defeated West Brom in the league a while back, being praised for his performance and also being named as the man of the match by many.
A win for United could see them climb to the top of the table, providing some other results go their way. However if this fails to happen it would certainly see them keep their accolade by being named title rivals as they would be near the top of the league as we enter November.
It would also no doubt boost the confidence in Louis Van Gaal’s side following an insufficient run of games recently. Clinching a vital three points on Saturday would see United steer clear of teams such as Leicester and Tottenham who are both very close to United in the table.