Manchester United V Crystal Palace, Premier League, Old Trafford, 30th September 2017
Manchester United host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday with the visitors finding themselves pointless and without a goal in their six league matches to date. The Eagles are also fresh off the back of a 5-0 defeat on the other side of town at the Etihad, so a trip to the team currently sitting in second, and one boasting the joint-meanest defence in the division, is surely not what Roy Hodgson would have wanted for only his third league match in charge.
You would think by the law of averages Palace would need to break their duck soon, be it in securing that first elusive point, or equally elusive first goal, but will it come at Old Trafford on Saturday? Doubtful. United have been in scintillating form so far this season and in Romelu Lukaku, boast the league’s joint-top scorer. Five consecutive wins across all competitions, and an undefeated season so far are all good omens for José Mourinho’s side leading into a game in which the result surely cannot be doubt if form and resources are to be believed.
The only good news for Palace is that United are coming off the back of a long midweek trip to Moscow in the Champions League (albeit one in which they secured a resounding 4-1 victory), and possess injuries concerns surrounding a couple of key personnel. Paul Pogba will definitely miss out with a hamstring complaint which will see the Frenchman miss a couple more weeks at least, while both Phil Jones and Marouane Fellaini are doubts after picking up knocks during the narrow 1-0 defeat of Southampton.
For Palace, their two most potent attacking threats, Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha will both be unavailable through injury, so expect Palace’s barren run in front of goal to continue.
Clutching at straws slightly, at least Palace managed to keep the score respectable until half-time against City; two late goals put the gloss on a 5-0 win yet had the Eagles held on till the break, the result may not have been anywhere near as comprehensive.
Moving onto the betting, it is United’s weariness after that long trip to Moscow on Wednesday night that should play a more significant factor than any potential Palace resurgence. United will win but will surely not be at peak physical condition, so selecting a draw at half-time and United to win at full-time is a wise choice at 4.25 with Unibet, 32Red and 888sport
United struggled somewhat to break Southampton down at St Mary’s last week, and defensive improvement should be on the agenda for Palace now Mamadou Sakho is being integrated back into the team. Under 2.5 goals looks good at 2.49 with Marathonbet
Finally, it’s not rocket science, but United to win to nil is really the only option at 1.62 with bet365. Selecting ‘no’ on both teams to score is also a no-brainer, but offers even less value.
Palace’s woes are set to continue in Manchester at the weekend with the Eagles set to move closer to Portsmouth’s unwanted record of seven consecutive losses at the start of a new season. With Chelsea to follow, things could still get a lot worse for Hodgson and his men, and they can expect few crumbs of comfort to be scattered their way at Old Trafford on Saturday.