By John Ryan
- Pogba a long-term absentee
- Carrick, Fellaini and Jones all major doubts
In 1968 the film ‘Where Eagles Dare’ was released to great acclaim. Crystal Palace will have good reason on Saturday to think that they are starring in a remake.
After six Premier League games they haven’t won a point nor have they scored a goal. They travel to Old Trafford on Saturday to face a team that has taken sixteen points from the eighteen available and scored seventeen goals.
In every way this is a home banker in football pools terms. But in English football bigger upsets have been seen in the past.
With Manchester City travelling to face Chelsea later in the evening. This is a chance for United to steal ahead and add to the Blues’ pressure at the summit of the table.
Carrick, Fellaini and Jones join Pogba On Injury List
Jose Mourinho has suggested that Michael Carrick, Phil Jones and Marouane Fellaini have little chance of playing in this game . Mystery surrounds Paul Pogba’s injury.
Jose Mourinho spoke about him in the same terms as Marcus Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Friday.
Pogba’s absence allows Ander Herrera another chance to stake a claim for a regular place in midfield. With Nemanja Matic he offers United the defensive cover that is needed in the Premier League.
What rival teams are finding to their cost is that both of these players are not just content to stay in their own half of the field.
A key change that Mourinho has added this season is the ability to get to the edge of the opposition box with lightning speed.
United have been able to turn defence into attack using a variety of methods. Mourinho is bringing back a lot of that oomph factor that the United treble winning team of 1999 had. Albeit in a different style.
Romelu Lukaku’s start to life at Old Trafford has been phenomenal.
His ability to find the net has spearheaded the charge domestically and in the Champions League. The manner in which he bullied the CSKA defence on Wednesday night is something that had been lost since Robin Van Persie’s debut season at the Theatre of Dreams.
With Crystal Palace having conceded thirteen league goals to date. Lukaku will be favourite to find the net again and add to Palace’s misery. If he battles it out with Sakho we can expect a tussle of strength and resilience.
Palace Missing Several Key Men
Crystal Palace have lost Christian Benteke to injury for the next couple of months. And without a backup striker in their squad their chances of scoring look bleak.
Wilfried Zaha may return to the Palace lineup after injury. While Timothy Fosu Mensah is ruled out of this game due to Premier League loan rules.
On Friday bookmakers had Palace at odds of 14-1 to win this game. Roy Hodgson could have taken his toughest ever assignment in club football and must be praying for the January transfer window.
This one looks very straightforward but Manchester United often take the road less traveled.
Crystal Palace have a reasonably impressive lineup on paper and once this fixture is out of the way they will start picking up points. Crystal Palace will score but fall to Lukaku’s power.
Verdict: Manchester United 3-1 Crystal Palace