Wayne Rooney will play his 350th EPL match for Manchester United at Palace tomorrow and England’s all-time leading goal scorer could well mark the milestone by moving closer to United’s record.
Captain Rooney has scored 236 in all competitions for the club – score tomorrow and he will draw level with Denis Law and get to within 12 of Bobby Charlton’s record.
His recent performances may suggest otherwise as the increasingly disparaged striker seems to have become a figurehead for his team’s performances.
United legend Paul Scholes is the latest to criticise the team for lacking creativity but boss Louis Van Gaal has hit back, saying before tomorrow’s match: “I think Manchester United is always entertaining but when I read the papers I see that it is boring.
“You have a saying in England that sticks and stones can break my bones but names [words] can never hurt me.”
Given Crystal Palace’s record of late, online football tipsters will be tempted to conclude that the Eagles won’t hurt too much either.
Big Match Stats
Palace may sit seventh in the EPL after ten games but none of the 12 goals they have scored have come from their strikers.
Their recent form is equally concerning given Palace have lost four of their last six EPL outings. The Eagles have only managed four goals in those last six and three of them have come from the penalty spot.
The hosts will be looking for a different result as they go up against a team from Manchester for the second time this week after their defeat at Manchester City in the League Cup on Wednesday.
That competition was the last time Palace have beaten United, way back in 2011, and football bettors will note that Palace have failed to win in their last 14 league games against United – and have lost 12 of those. The Eagles last beat the Red Devils in the league in 24 years ago but their home form doesn’t suggest a repeat of that 3-0 win is likely this time out.
Only Aston Villa have a worse home record this calendar year – Palace have lost six of their last nine EPL games and managed only two clean sheets in their last at Selhurst Park.
Tipsters and anyone betting on football will also be swayed by a 23 game run since Palace last drew combined with United’s record of managing six clean sheets and only eight goals conceded so far this campaign – the best in the EPL.
Players in and out
Ashley Young’s return to fitness could provide some options for Van Gaal on the wing in light of Memphis Depay’s absence. Young striker James Wilson is also ruled out, along with Antonio Valencia and Paddy McNair.
Crystal Palace have their own injury woes to contend with and may have to do without the impressive Yohan Cabaye who missed the defeat at City and remains doubtful for the match against United. Pape Souare and Joel Ward may also be missing whilst Marouane Chamakh and Conor Wickham are definitely out. Better news for boss Alan Pardew is the recovery from injury of Jason Puncheon.
By: Joe Cahal