Manchester United vs Crystal Palace
Saturday, November 8. Kick-off: 1500
Louis van Gaal has yet another selection crisis on his hands with no less than five defenders unavailable to the Manchester United for the visit of Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Marcos Rojo, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones are all out through injury, with the former potentially missing for a number of months having suffered a dislocated shoulder in last weekend’s defeat to Manchester City.
Chris Smalling, who was sent off in the same game, is suspended as is Rafael, which means Van Gaal will have to somewhat inventive with his choice of central defenders for this encounter with Neil Warnock’s side.
United at least have history on their side, with Palace’s last league victory having come shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that has just been marked with 25 year anniversary celebrations.
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It will take an inspired performance for Palace to produce their own moment to savour, having lost three of their last four matches, which means they sit outside of the Premier League’s relegation zone courtesy only of goals scored.
Their task will be made no easier with Wilfried Zaha ineligible to play against his parent club, as per the stipulations of his loan agreement, and Manchester United are clear favourites to record a much needed win.
Three points could take United as high as sixth were all other results to go in their favour, and it will be just the tonic having succumbed to defeat in the derby six days ago at the Etihad Stadium.
There were, however, encouraging signs for Van Gaal against City as his side so nearly clinched a late leveller with some inspired attacking play, despite having been down to 10-men for the majority of the game.
United have not won since the first week of October, a 2-1 victory over Everton at Old Trafford, and overcoming Palace will be exactly what is required ahead of the international break.
But, if they are unable to do so, questions will once again be asked.
De Gea, Valencia, McNair, Blind, Shaw, Fellaini, Carrick, Januzaj, Rooney, Di Maria, Van Persie.
Subs: Lindegaard, Vermijl, Blackett, Fletcher, Herrera, Mata, Wilson.
Speroni, Mariappa, Delaney, Dann, Ward, Puncheon, Ledley, McArthur, Bolasie, Chamakh, Campbell.
Subs: Hennessey, Kelly, Fryers, McCarthy, Bannan, Doyle, Gayle.