Manchester United are looking to get back on track against Crystal Palace on Thursday night.
After only managing a draw against Southampton on Monday at Old Trafford, United desperately need all three points.
Fortunately, we may be playing the right team at the right time. There is not too much about Palace at the moment to scare United.
While United’s draw felt like a defeat on Monday because of the late goal, it shouldn’t distract from the fact it was the continuation of the team’s unbeaten run. This run stretches 18 games, going back to January.
Crystal Palace’s form could not be more different. They have lost their last five Premier League matches in a row.
They will not even have their normally raucous home crowd behind them to pick the team up at Selhurst Park, with the game once again being played behind closed doors.
Palace are 14th and have nothing to play for, as they are safe from relegation. United should be the last team Roy Hodgson’s men want to be going up against.
Palace’s weak attack
There will be question marks for United’s defence after a poor late goal conceded against Southampton.
So it is convenient that Christian Benteke is suspended for this game. Benteke wins an average of six aerial duels per game and had the potential to cause problems for United’s defence, even though his record in front of goal is poor.
Palace as a whole have struggled to score goals. They have scored just two goals in this last five matches, and failed to net in four of their last five games.
If United are a little patched up or rotated at the back, there could hardly be a better attack to play against right now than a poor Palace side lacking their regular striker.
Palace’s defence should hardly trouble United either. They have conceded 13 goals in their last five matches and are without veteran Gary Cahill, who suffered a hamstring injury at the weekend.
Playing for Wembley places
United’s motivation should not be in question for this match. It is essential to keep the pressure up on Chelsea and Leicester in the battle for Champions League places.
The players are also competing to earn starting roles at Wembley on Sunday for the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears to know his best team, but he has rotated in cup games this season and could spring a surprise or two against Chelsea.
If any fringe players like Fred, Eric Bailly, Odion Ighalo, or Diogo Dalot at full-back get a chance to play in this game, they will be determined to push on and stake a claim to start on Sunday.
This added motivation and internal competition can only help United push on and win in style at Selhurst Park.
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