Manchester United face a Crystal Palace side in terrible form on Thursday night.
The Eagles have lost five games in a row, but with former United winger Wilfried Zaha in their ranks, they possess a dangerman capable of turning games single-handedly.
So it is not ideal preparation for United to be entering this fixture deprived of either Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, or potentially both options at left-back, with each of them leaving the pitch against Palace with injuries.
Zaha is an opponent who will provide a test for United defensively. And he could really target whoever United start at left-back.
Fortunately United have the ideal player to try and nullify the Palace winger, via his former teammate Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Wherever Zaha lines up, on the left or right, expect Wan-Bissaka to be assigned to directly combat him.
He knows him well
Zaha praised Wan-Bissaka last year after the defender’s £50 million move to Old Trafford last summer.
He was quoted by the MEN: “I was kind of shocked by how good he was when I played against him.
“I’ve played against a few decent right-backs, to be honest, and he’s one of them. You may go past him but he always manages to get a last-ditch tackle in.”
So while Zaha may relish the chance to test himself against Wan-Bissaka on Thursday, the chances are he will not enjoy it much.
Wan-Bissaka needs to be at his best
If United can stop Zaha, the chances are that we will be able to stop Palace.
Even in Palace’s defeat to Aston Villa at the weekend, Zaha managed to create three goalscoring chances, and had six successful dribbles.
United will need to do a better job of keeping him quiet. His long range goal against Chelsea was an illustration of what he can do if given space.
Palace also have striker Christian Benteke suspended, which puts even more pressure on Zaha to produce.
Wan-Bissaka then has extra responsibility to shut down the threat posed by his former Palace teammate. If he can win this battle, then the chances are, United will win the game.
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