Manchester United have several decisions to make this Thursday against Crystal Palace.

United are under added pressure to get all three points after only drawing against Southampton on Monday night.

Changes will be needed though, with the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea on Sunday quickly following.

There is a growing case for United to shift formation for the Palace game, from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred 4-2-3-1, to a 3-4-1-2.

Here is a look at why a change could work…

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Left-back dilemma becomes easier

United enter this game with a problem at left-back. Luke Shaw has to overcome a scan on his ankle, while Brandon Williams will have to pass concussion tests.

If both players are ruled out for this one, United can ease the pressure on a replacement by playing them in a wing-back role.

This could be Diogo Dalot, Dan James, or even youngster Ethan Laird. Playing as a wing-back will give them greater license to go forward and express themselves.

Pressure eased on centre-backs

Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof had a tough game on Monday night when they were put under constant pressure. Eventually Southampton got their reward.


So Solskjaer can make it a little easier for them both by picking Eric Bailly alongside them against Palace.

Palace are also without striker Christian Benteke, who is suspended. A strong back three should provide a platform for success at Selhurst Park.

Rest Rashford and Greenwood

Switching to 3-4-1-2 has attacking implications too. It will allow United to play with two strikers, and potentially give one or both of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood a rest.

United could start Odion Ighalo up front alongside Anthony Martial, who could have more of a free role.

(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Proven in away games

United have had proven success with this 3-4-1-2 formation in away fixtures this season.

The away win over Chelsea in February was one game United will have in mind. This was also Eric Bailly’s last league start.

United have shown an ability to seamlessly switch between formations this season, and this may be the right setup for the right moment, before a switch back to 4-2-3-1 for the semi-final this weekend.

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