On the face of it, Manchester United’s Monday evening game at Crystal Palace looks innocent enough, with the team third from top facing off against the team third from bottom of the Premier League table – but we feel this is a huge game for Manchester United and one they cannot afford to lose. Here, we list our three main reasons why.
TOP FOUR SECURITY
Whilst local neighbours City continue to run riot and away with the Premier League title, the battle for the three remaining places below them intensifies, with United fighting hard with Liverpool and Spurs for second place and to ensure Champions League qualification, with Chelsea not yet out of the picture, although their poor recent form makes the picture a little easier for the afore-mentioned teams. But with just 9 Premier League games remaining, and United still to face three of the current top six in those games, they can ill afford any slip ups and will want to make it a Manchester 1-2 for sure.
VITAL MOMENTUM FOR LIVERPOOL CLASH
Recent form for Manchester United has been patchy at best – a scrappy home win over Chelsea joined comfortable enough wins over Huddersfield and Burnley. But in between those three wins were two hugely disappointing losses to Tottenham and Newcastle – and in those five Premier League games, United have scored just a goal a game on average – and conceded about the same. Liverpool, by contrast, have won four and drawn one in their last five games and have scored 13 goals in those five games – which include three of the same teams that United have faced in the same period of Premer League games (Spurs, Newcastle and Huddersfield). United will want to beat Crystal Palace first and foremost – but also make a serious statement to their deadly rivals that their upcoming clash at Old Trafford next Saturday will be one they will be looking to put the Reds back in their place and they have the attacking prowess to outscore Liverpool if needs be.
REDISCOVER AWAY FORM
Manchester United are usually extremely effective away from Old Trafford and have the capacity to suffocate passionate home teams before swooping for the break away goals that enable them to take three points back with them to Old Trafford. However, their last two sorties away from their home fortress have meant they have come back empty handed and without a goal to show for their efforts, as lackadaisical as they have been, and before that they allowed Leicester to snatch a point at the King Power before more usual away day wins at Burnley and Everton. Selhurst Park has held few fears for the Red Devils in recent visits, and they are unbeaten there in all competitions since Palace’s 3-0 victory in 1991.
It is not going to be easy for Manchester United to win tonight – Palace are in a poor run of form (2D, 3L in last 5 games) but are notoriously difficult to beat at home….last time out, Spurs needed a very late Harry Kane goal to snatch the three points, and before that Palace were unbeaten in three, including THAT 0-0 draw against Manchester City where they missed a last gasp penalty to win the game. But Manchester United will be very aware of the weekend successes of Spurs and Liverpool and will know the importance of tonights game. We think they will come to the party and really set up a mouth-watering clash with Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime.
FORECAST : Crystal Palace 0 – 2 Manchester United
DO YOU AGREE? GIVE US YOUR SCORELINE PREDICTIONS BELOW!