MX23RW : Monday, April 22 03:23:20| >> :600:4735978:4735978:
Feb 27, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Selhurst Park
Attendance: 25,754
Crystal Palace
Man UtdManchester United
Ward (66')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Lukaku (33', 52'), Young (83')

Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Premier League clash between Crystal Palace and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Manchester United travel to Selhurst Park on Wednesday night hoping to regain their place in the top four of the Premier League table.

Sunday's goalless draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford saw the Red Devils drop out of the Champions League places, and they take on a Crystal Palace team on an upward trajectory away from trouble.

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson cracks a smile on December 1, 2018© Reuters

Age is but a number, and Roy Hodgson proved that in some style at the weekend.

On the day he became the oldest manager to take charge of a Premier League game, the 71-year-old masterminded a 4-1 away win over Leicester City - a resulted which ultimately brought an end to counterpart Claude Puel's reign at the Foxes.

While that sacking had an air of inevitability around it for some time, Hodgson appears able to do no wrong in charge of Palace at the moment having steered them away from trouble.

A six-game unbeaten streak across all competitions has seen them make it into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and lifted them up to 13th in the Premier League table - now just four points off the top half.

Considering that their best-ever Premier League finish is 10th place, it is a relatively cosy position for the Eagles to find themselves in, particularly compared to last season when they were five points worse off at the same stage.

Hodgson is long enough in the tooth to know that his side cannot afford to take their foot off the pedal yet, though; despite their recent improvement Palace are still only six points off the relegation zone and many of the teams below them have shown that they are capable of going on improved runs already this season.

Five of Palace's remaining 11 league games come against some of those teams below them in the standings, and considering that they may only need three more wins during the closing months of the campaign, survival is very much in their own hands.

For now they must focus on trying to inflict a first domestic defeat on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United, though, and for that they may take encouragement from the fact that they have already beaten the likes of Manchester City and Spurs this term.

However, in general Palace have fared much better away from home this season than they have at Selhurst Park. Indeed, if only home form counted then Palace would currently be sat in the relegation zone and only Huddersfield Town would have scored fewer goals.

Matters have improved on that front in recent months, with only two defeats in their last seven home league games, but it an issue Hodgson may need all of his experience to solve before the end of the campaign.

Recent Premier League form: LLDWDW
Recent form (all competitions): WDWDWW

Man Utd

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watches on during his side's Premier League clash with Fulham on February 9, 2019© Reuters

With each passing week, Solskjaer appears to pass another test which boosts his chances of getting the United job on a permanent basis.

A growing list of current and former players have backed the Norwegian, while even Sir Alex Ferguson himself is understood to have urged the club to act sooner rather than later in making what looks more and more like an easy decision.

The challenge Solskjaer faced when coming into the job should not be forgotten; he arrived with very limited managerial experience at the top level, took over from one of the most successful managers of all time and inherited a team devoid of confidence, belief and ambition.

That the improvement was instant suggests that it was more than simply his arrival which helped to turn things around, but after 14 games in interim charge he has lost just once and won 11 times - including against the likes of Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Sunday's showdown with Liverpool posed a test few if any of his predecessors would have faced as he was forced to make all three of his substitutions before half time due to a spate of hamstring injuries, but still he managed to adapt as United held their old title-chasing enemies to a draw, becoming the first team to prevent them from scoring on the road this season in the process.

The result also saw Solskjaer break an incredible record as he became the most successful manager from his first 10 games in charge of a Premier League club, picking up his 26th point from the 30 that have been on offer so far.

Such personal landmarks help to outline what a remarkable job Solskjaer has done so far, but the more important - and perhaps even more impressive - fact of the matter is that he has been able to drag his side back into Champions League contention.

United sat 11 points adrift of the top four when Jose Mourinho was sacked, but now that deficit is just one point after Arsenal leapfrogged them back into the top four with victory over Southampton at the same time as United were drawing with Liverpool.

The Red Devils would need Arsenal to slip up at home to Bournemouth if they are to regain their top-four spot this midweek, and they may instead be more hopeful of moving further clear of sixth-placed Chelsea, who take on Tottenham Hotspur just three days after playing extra time and penalties in the EFL Cup final.

For all of their recent improvement, United are still relying on those favours from others to achieve their goals this season, although their form under Solskjaer has been closer to title-winning than top-four chasing and if they are able to maintain that until the end of the campaign then it would take a big improvement from those around them to keep up.

That is particularly true away from home, where United have won all seven of their matches since Solskjaer took charge, keeping clean sheets in five of those with only two goals conceded.

Recent Premier League form: WWDWWD
Recent form (all competitions): DWWLWD

Team News

Manchester United's Juan Mata is substituted for Jesse Lingard in the Premier League match against Liverpool on February 24, 2019.© Reuters

The major concern for United heading into this match will be that their midfield has been decimated by injuries over the past week or so.

Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard - himself on as a sub for Mata - all limped off with hamstring injuries in the first half against Liverpool and will miss this match against Palace as a result.

It further weakened a midfield already without Nemanja Matic - who also misses Wednesday's game - and interestingly Solskjaer trusted both Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira ahead of Fred against Liverpool.

Things could have been even worse for United had Marcus Rashford not battled through the pain at Old Trafford, although the England international is considered a major doubt to recover from his ankle problem during the three-day break.

Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez are therefore expected to start in the front three, but there could be better news alongside them with Anthony Martial pushing for a recall.

Crystal Palace will assess Mamadou Sakho after he suffered a recurrence of a knee problem during the win over Leicester, but there are no other new injury concerns for Hodgson.

Defenders Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Martin Kelly and Pape Souare remain sidelined, along with striker Connor Wickham and goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

Hodgson must also decide whether to stick with Michy Batshuayi leading the line or give Christian Benteke another chance to end his goal drought.

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Ward, Tomkins, Dann, Van Aanholt; McArthur, Milivojevic, Schlupp; Townsend, Batshuayi, Zaha

Man Utd possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Pereira, McTominay, Pogba; Sanchez, Lukaku, Martial

Head To Head

Crystal Palace have a miserable record against Man Utd, failing to win any of their last 21 league meetings stretching back to May 1991.

The Red Devils have won 17 of those too, although they could only manage a goalless draw in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford in November - a match which saw both teams have goals disallowed.

In all competitions Palace have won just one of their last 26 games against United, while their most recent home victory came in a 3-0 triumph 28 years ago.

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We say: Crystal Palace 1-1 Man Utd

Crystal Palace are a team on the up at the moment, and they even look to be turning their home form around too. United should be full of confidence themselves, but their lengthy injury list may begin to take its toll with two games in such quick succession.

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Who will win Wednesday's Premier League clash between Crystal Palace and Man Utd?

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Manchester United's Juan Mata is substituted for Jesse Lingard in the Premier League match against Liverpool on February 24, 2019.
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