The Premier League returns this Saturday after the international break, and Manchester United will be the first team into action when Crystal Palace visit Old Trafford for the early kick off.
It would be fair to say that David Moyes has not had the best start to his United tenure, signing just two players in the form of Guillermo Varela and (thought to be over-priced) Marouane Fellaini. The biggest worry for United fans however will be that their new manager has only managed four points out of a possible nine for the Reds.
To be fair, two of United’s opening three games came against Chelsea and current league leaders, Liverpool, so it is perhaps unfair to pile pressure on Moyes. Nevertheless, you would have to see them as favourites in this game.
Crystal Palace have beat Sunderland and lost narrowly at home to Tottenham, and then away to Stoke. However, this will be an altogether different proposition for Ian Holloway’s side, made all the more difficult with the manager’s touchline ban.
Pinnacle Sports, along with many others, clearly agree with this view as they have United as favourites to win at odds of 1.222.
Wayne Rooney may not yet be fit for this match, after suffering a nasty head injury in a collision with Michael Carrick in training before the Liverpool game. Shinji Kagawa may find himself on Moyes’ bad side, after publicly questioning the manager’s decision not to play him so far this season.
Crystal Palace are missing Jack Hunt, Jonny Williams, Paddy McCarthy, Jonny Parr, Glenn Murray (not in 25 man squad), Yannick Bolasie, Jerome Thomas and Jimmy Kebe for this game any further absentees will be announced in Holloway’s pre-match press conference (Thanks to @TheEaglesBeak for Palace team news).
Eurosport have some statistics for this fixture:
- Manchester United have failed to score in two successive games for the first time since August 2007.
- Middlesbrough were the last promoted side to win in the league at Old Trafford, back in the 1998-99 season.
- Crystal Palace have gained just 25 points from their last 24 away games in the league.
- The London side last won at Old Trafford in 2011, when they knocked United out of the league cup.
Manchester United – Michael Carrick
United have suffered problems in midfield for a few seasons now but one player who has consistently played well in the centre of the pitch is Michael Carrick. The player has been a fundamental part of United’s play and it’s hard to see how the team would perform without him. So far this season, Carrick has attempted 203 passes, completing 174 of them. This gives him a passing accuracy of 86%, with 30% of his completed passes going forward compared to just 12% going back. Carrick is clearly an important part of United’s attack and if Palace can stop him from playing, in the way that Liverpool partially achieved, then the Reds may need a plan B.
Crystal Palace – Mile Jedinak
Similar to Carrick, Jedinak and his passing ability are an integral part of the Crystal Palace team in midfield, and this was especially effective against Sunderland. The midfielder has attempted 174 passes, completing 135 of them. This gives him an accuracy of 78% and it is worthwhile noting, again like Carrick, 49% of these completed passes are forward passes. This is most likely due to the attacking football Holloway likes his teams to play, and could be extremely effective against United should their midfield be as weak as they were against Liverpool.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been on target with my predictions so far this season, but I firmly believe David Moyes will get his first win at Old Trafford on Saturday, along with a clean sheet, as United’s defence will be too strong for Palace’s attack in my opinion. The game will finish 2-0.
If you are looking to bet on the match, then Pinnacle Sports have United as favourites to win at odds of 1.22 on a 1×2 bet. Crystal Palace are significantly less favoured to win, at odds of 17.00, with a draw coming in at 7.00.