Manchester United host Crystal Palace today with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s new-look side heavy favourites to claim a second home win of the season.
The optimism which flowed following United’s 4-0 win over Chelsea eased slightly after a 1-1 draw at Wolves on Monday night, but the Red Devils are still three points better off than from those corresponding fixtures last season.
But Solskjaer’s side face a new kind of task today, and will have to show that they can break down sides who deploy a defensive gameplan – as Palace did in last season’s Old Trafford stalemate.
Palace started the new season with a promising Selhurst Park draw against Everton, though a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United suggests it could be another long campaign for Roy Hodgson’s Eagles.
Solskjaer dropped Andreas Pereira in favour of Daniel James for the draw at Wolves, though could be tempted to bring back the Brazilian after his strong showing at Old Trafford against Chelsea.
With Palace likely to sit deep, Solskjaer may opt for Juan Mata’s eye for a pass rather than the all-out pace of James on the flank. Other than that, the midfield and defence should stay much the same.
Eric Bailly is out until the New Year with a knee injury, while Diogo Dalot and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are also sidelined.
As for Palace, Hodgson’s only two absentees are centre-backs James Tomkins (groin) and Mamadou Sakho (knee), with Gary Cahill potentially set for a debut appearance.
The veteran manager may opt for a tactical reshuffle following the defeat at Bramall Lane, though his plans are likely to weigh heavily on the pace of Wilfried Zaha on the counter.
Man Utd XI: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw, Pereira, McTominay, Pogba, Mata, Martial, Rashford
Palace XI: Guaita, Ward, Kelly, Cahill, Van Aanholt, McArthur, Milivojevic, Schlupp, Townsend, Benteke, Zaha.
Source: Evening Standard