May 21, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​Old Trafford
Attendance: 75,254
Man UtdManchester United
Crystal Palace
Harrop (15'), Pogba (19')
McTominay (48'), Carrick (74')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Preview: Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace

Sports Mole previews the Premier League encounter between Manchester United and Crystal Palace.

Manchester United play host to Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon with Jose Mourinho having already acknowledged that he will field a second-string team for the game at Old Trafford.

Palace make the trip to the North-West with the pressure finally off after securing their place in the top flight for another 12 months, but Sam Allardyce will want to finish as high up the standings as possible to cap a successful period for the club.

Manchester United

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on the touchline ahead of the Premier League match against Sunderland on April 9, 2017© SilverHub

After an energy-sapping campaign, Mourinho will be delighted to see the back of the Premier League for a few months, as well as being involved in a contest which carries no rewards ahead of Wednesday's Europa League final with Ajax.

However, that is not to say that the Portuguese will be unable to take anything from the match in the North-West as he contemplates the make-up of his squad ahead of what needs to be an improved pursuit of the league title next season.

Mourinho has already acknowledged that he will include some of his younger players, with goalkeeper Joel Pereira making his first league start and both Demetri Mitchell and Scott McTominay both expected to feature alongside Axel Tuanzebe in defensive and midfield areas.

While their development is important to both Mourinho and the club, he is likely to have eyes on the sharpness of the likes of Juan Mata and Anthony Martial, who both may have parts to play in the high-stakes encounter in Stockholm.

Despite what Mourinho will tell reporters, he will also want to end a turbulent period at Old Trafford with three points. Ending the campaign with 11 draws from 19 matches will be considered unacceptable.

Mourinho has already called for leeway ahead of this match and with the issues he has needed to deal with this season, he deserves to be forgiven for placing no importance on this match. However, if his stance on this fixture does not lead to glory against Ajax, he will face questions over whether his players were under-cooked ahead of what will be a defining match for their immediate future.

Recent form: WDDLLD
Recent form (all competitions): DWLDLD

Crystal Palace

Sam Allardyce watches on during the Premier League game between Crystal Palace and Leicester City on April 15, 2017© SilverHub

When Allardyce arrived at Selhurst Park, he was given the instructions to keep Palace in the Premier League by any means necessary and while their survival act has not been pretty, it matters little after they avoided relegation with a 4-0 win over Hull City.

It marked another turn in fortunes for Allardyce, who has endured separate periods of two wins from 11 and six victories from eight since he was appointed as Alan Pardew's replacement in December, but celebrations will be kept to a minimum as he turns his attention to making improvements in the summer.

Allardyce has preserved his record of never being relegated from the Premier League, but he will see huge potential in Palace and he knows that they must keep hold of both Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke if they are to mount a bid for the top 10 next season.

Zaha was once strongly linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur but Palace supporters will be encouraged after reports of negotiations over a new contract, while only offers in excess of £30m will be entertained for Benteke after he took his league tally for the season to 15 last weekend.

As far as Sunday is concerned, Allardyce has indicated that there will be no let-up from his side ahead of the trip to Old Trafford, and that should not come as a surprise as 11th position is still possible should they get the better of their weakened hosts.

They also head into the game with the eighth-best away record in the division and after recently beating both Chelsea and Liverpool on their travels, do not be surprised if they add United to that list.

Recent form: DWLLLW

Team News

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba in action during the EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley on February 26, 2017© SilverHub

Mourinho has revealed that Paul Pogba will play some part of the game after missing the last two matches because of family reasons.

However, Chris Smalling and Marouane Fellaini are likely absentees, while Wayne Rooney is unlikely to be involved in the starting lineup after beginning the last two fixtures.

After taking part in training, Timothy Fosu-Mensah is likely to feature after recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in last month's Manchester derby.

Allardyce has revealed that Palace winger Andros Townsend will miss out on Sunday after sustaining an Achilles injury last week, while Yohan Cabaye is also an injury doubt.

However, defender James Tomkins is likely to start after making his return to the centre of defence against Hull.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
Pereira, Tuanzebe, Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Mitchell, Carrick, McTominay, Pogba, Harrop, Mata, Martial,

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Hennessey; Ward, Van Aanholt, Kelly, Tomkins; Milivojevic, McArthur; Puncheon, Schlupp, Zaha; Benteke

Head To Head

Sunday's fixture will represent the 51st time in which these two teams have faced each other in a competitive contest, with United winning 33 times in comparison to seven victories for the Eagles.

United have claimed seven wins from the last eight matches between the two teams, with Palace not recording a victory in this fixture since 2011 when they prevailed in the League Cup.

Palace have not defeated United in a league encounter since 1991, before the formation of the Premier League.

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We say: Manchester United 1-1 Crystal Palace

Given the number of draws that United have recorded at home this season, we will not be going for any other result on the final day. Palace are probably favourites for this contest but with some of United's fringe players keen to impress, we think that they will be able to earn a share of the spoils.

Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Manchester United and Crystal Palace?

Manchester United
Crystal Palace
Manchester United
Crystal Palace
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba warms up ahead of the Europa League match against Celta Vigo on May 11, 2017
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