Crystal Palace vs Manchester United preview

(C) The Republik of Mancunia

Manchester United travel to Selhurst Park to take on Premier League stragglers Crystal Palace, needing a win to move back into second place.

Chelsea’s loss to Manchester City on Sunday has eased some pressure on Jose Mourinho’s side, who could move nine points clear of the reigning champions with a win on Monday night.

The Red Devils were victorious over Chelsea at Old Trafford last Sunday, helping to boost morale after two defeats in the previous three league games on the road.

Four of United’s five defeats this season have come away from the Theatre of Dreams, and two of which were against sides in the bottom half in Huddersfield and Newcastle.

Victory in South London could be key in building momentum ahead of a huge clash with top four rivals Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime.

Defenders Phil Jones, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo are out, with Ander Herrera and Zlatan Ibrahimovic also still on the sidelines.

Marcus Rashford returned to the squad against Chelsea, but was an unused substitute, and hasn’t started a game since the 2-2 draw with Burnley on Boxing Day.

Opposition

The Reds have an outstanding record against Roy Hodgson’s side; who haven’t beaten United in 17 previous attempts in the Premier League era.

The reverse fixture in September saw United continue their unbeaten start to the season, with a dominant 4-0 win over the Eagles, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku were on the score-sheet, and Marouane Fellaini netted twice to secure the three points.

Palace sit in 18th place, one point from safety. They’re without a win in their last five games, and haven’t won a single point all season when Wilfried Zaha hasn’t been in the team.

The squad is currently plagued by injuries, with star man Zaha and plenty of others missing. Tim Fosu-Mensah is on-loan from United, so ineligible to play against his parent club.

Key first-team players Scott Dann, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mamadou Sakho and Jason Puncheon remain unavailable for the clash with United.

Young winger Aaron Win-Bissaka was forced to play at right-back for the defeat against Spurs, with Martin Kelly and Jeffrey Schlupp returning to training this week.

Ones to watch

While Palace are without their main danger man in former United winger Zaha, they still have players who can cause United headaches on Monday night. Midfielder Luka Milivojevic is the club’s top scorer with seven, and former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke is no stranger to scoring against United, notching a memorable overhead kick in a 3-1 Liverpool defeat in 2015.

New recruit Alexander Sorloth was a persistent threat against Tottenham last week, while former Spurs man Andros Townsend has the quality to hurt the Red Devils on the wing.