Match Preview: Crystal Palace vs Manchester United

From a possible second place finish and much enthusiasm about next season, United find themselves in a position to fend of Liverpool’s aspirations for Champions League qualification, and go into this one with a much-needed three points at stake.

After beating Liverpool at Anfield a couple of months ago, no one would have questioned whether the Red Devils will grab the decisive final spot for Europe’s premier competition. However three straight losses have allowed the Merseyside club to close the gap to only four points. We’re three games before the end and both teams travel to London. Van Gaal and his men face Crystal Palace, whereas Liverpool head to Chelsea.

Since his arrival in January, Pardew has certainly steadied the Eagles, who have nothing to play for until the end of the season. Fine form by Bolasie, Zaha and company have steered them to a mid-table finish. However the Eagles have not won since early April and much like United are on a three game losing streak. However in their last game against Chelsea, they caused them problems at times and with United coming to town, they will be motivated to do the same.

The signing of Memphis Depay has overshadowed the poor run by United. The early transfer business brings a lot of promise for the next campaign, but as Van Gaal reiterated the job in this one is yet to be finished.

A lot can be said about how much possession the team had during last three games , but not much has been created in terms of chances and with no goals scored either. However should Louis van Gaal’s side win at Selhurst Park and Liverpool lose at Chelsea on Sunday their top four place will be confirmed with two games to spare.

Injury News

Fraizer Campbell and Marouane Chamakh are both available again after recovering from hamstring injuries.

Wilfried Zaha is set to face United for the first time since he left Old Trafford to re-join Palace permanently in the January transfer window.

Manager Louis van Gaal said “a lot” of players were suffering from a virus, but would not go into specifics.

Defenders Luke Shaw (groin), Marcos Rojo (adductor), Jonny Evans (nerve) and Phil Jones (ankle) have overcome their respective injury worries, but right-back Rafael (rib) and midfielder Michael Carrick (calf) are out for the season.

 Predicted Line-ups:

Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1) – Speroni; Ward, Delaney, Dann, Souare; McArthur, Ledley; Zaha, Bolasie, Puncheon; Murray

Man. United (4-5-1) – DDG, Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Shaw; Feillani, Herrera, Blind, Mata, Young; Rooney

Last Meeting: Manchester United- Crystal Palace 1:0

The last time the two sides met was 8th November.  A game that lacked any kind of spark was settled with a second half goal by Mata. It was far from a memorable spectacle but three points and a clean sheet proved satisfying for Van Gaal, especially given the defensive problems back then.

The Iron Tulip will certainly be pleased with another win of any kind.

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