Manchester United have not taken field in the Premier League since losing to Arsenal in one of the games of the season. They have had successes elsewhere, beating Nottingham Forest comprehensively in the Carabao Cup semifinals across both legs, also registering a convincing victory over Reading in the FA Cup. Erik Ten Hag seems to be turning things around for the good, but his side will not forget the late surge from Crystal Palace, their next opponent, in the reverse fixture.
Bruno Fernandes scored early on in the match, but they conceded a late goal which sealed their fate for just one point. As it stands, they’re eight points behind Arsenal, but have played one game extra. A defeat at the Emirates proved to be a killer point in their bleak title hopes, which left them 11 points behind and with a game played extra. However, there is plenty left to play for the season and it does not seem like Ten Hag will be happy without a piece of silverware this season.
Manchester United’s most recent fixture was against Nottingham Forest at the Old Trafford in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final. There was no pressure heading into this fixture, having already won the first leg 3-0, but the Dutch manager went full throttle and that may have emerged as a masterstroke. Nottingham came out all guns blazing, to the best of their abilities, and nearly troubled the authoritative center-back pairing of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.
They were caught dry and tidy in the first half, which turned out to be goalless. But after the break, goals from Anthony Martial and Fred sealed the deal on the day for United. It was not one of the most destructive performances from the club, but they were clinical when the chances came and defensively, they managed to keep out a good few chances for Nottingham.
Manchester United are set to play eight matches in the month of February, averaging nearly one game every three days. The spree started with the second leg against Forest, leaving them seven more fixtures, a few of them quite tricky in their own right. After Palace at home, they play Leeds United home and away, respectively, in consecutive matches. United’s away fixture against Leeds was supposed to take place in October but got postponed due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
But the ones that will grab all attention are the Europa League round of 32 ties against Barcelona, both home and away taking place in a span of week. In their final match of the month, United will be bracing for the challenge of Newcastle United at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final. Without doubt, that fixture against the Magpies will be the biggest of Erik Ten Hag’s reign so far, and United players would be desperate to end their six year trophy drought that day.
A stunning Michael Olise free kick rescued a point for the Eagles in second-half stoppage time against the Red Devils, before a resilient defensive showing kept out high-flying Newcastle in a goalless stalemate two weeks ago. However, there are loopholes which have been active, and a forward line that has found it very difficult to fire despite Vieira trying to implement an attractive style of football.
They too have some tricky fixtures around the corner and will face United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Brentford, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Arsenal in their next seven Premier League games. Vieira’s men currently sit 12th in the Premier League table, seven points clear of the relegation zone, but they may be forced to start looking over their shoulders in the coming weeks if their winless run in 2023 continues.
Goals have been hard to come by on the road for Palace, who have drawn a blank in six of their last nine away matches. However, the Eagles can head to Old Trafford with optimism as they have taken seven points from their last four Premier League away games against Man United, including a 2-1 win in August 2019 and a 3-1 victory in September 2020.
MUN vs CRY, Premier League 2022/23
Date: February 5, 2023
Time: 8:30 PM IST
Venue: Emirates Stadium, London
Manchester United Premier League form:
Manchester United form (all competitions):
Crystal Palace Premier League form:
Crystal Palace form (all competitions):
Manchester United form (all competitions):
Manchester United wins: 39
Crystal Palace wins: 10
Manchester United team news:
Man United will have to cope without Christian Eriksen until April due to an ankle injury, while Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay are also ruled out with respective knee and muscle problems.
Diogo Dalot is still nursing a hamstring injury and remains doubtful, so Aaron Wan-Bissaka is set to continue at right-back, joining Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw in the back four.
David de Gea and Marcus Rashford are both expected to return to the starting lineup after beginning on the substitutes’ bench in midweek, with Tom Heaton and Alejandro Garnacho set to make way.
Jadon Sancho made his first appearance since October as a substitute against Forest and will be in contention to feature again on Saturday, while Marcel Sabitzer could make his Red Devils debut following his deadline-day loan move from Bayern Munich.
Crystal Palace team news:
Former Man United winger Wilfried Zaha is facing up to six weeks out with a hamstring injury, and he joins James McArthur (groin) and Nathan Ferguson (foot) in the treatment room.
Joachim Andersen could be in a position to return to the matchday squad after missing the last two games with a calf problem, although the Dane is unlikely to be thrown straight back into the first XI, so Chris Richards and Marc Guehi are set to continue at centre-back.
Either Olise, Jeffery Schlupp of Eberechi Eze could start in the front three in the absence of Zaha, while deadline-day signings Naouirou Ahamada and Albert Sambi Lokonga will be in contention to make their debut in centre-midfield.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst
Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Clyne, Richards, Guehi, Mitchell; Eze, Doucoure, Schlupp; Olise, Edouard, Ayew
Manchester United have been a dominant force at the Old Trafford this season and beating them at their backyard has been a near impossible task. Only Brighton and Real Sociedad have walked away with a victory at the Old Trafford this season, with Newcastle United earning a 0-0 draw. As for Patrick Vieira, he will definitely take that 0-0 draw.
For Erik Ten Hag, the gap is closing down at a rapid pace in the points table. Brighton, if they win their game in hand, can be five points away from a top four spot and Tottenham Hotspur are just three points away from United having played a game extra. This is where the teams stand, with different ambitions, but one has to consider United the firm favourites here.
The hosts will dominate the ball, and create the better chances. Besides the return of Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial, they also have a new midfielder to unleash in the form of Marcel Sabitzer, who has been a major talking point since his late loan move to United in the January window.
Our prediction is for United to win 3-0.