Crystal Palace vs Manchester United preview
Manchester is red. United beat City in the derby amid a rapturous Old Trafford atmosphere to ensure as much. And with that victory, the chances of red ribbons adorning the Premier League trophy in May grew even likelier.
Are Manchester United actually in the title race? That’s the question on many fans’ lips right now, and perhaps their visit to Crystal Palace on Wednesday night will give a good indication of the answer.
The bookmakers still clearly need some convincing when it comes to Erik ten Hag’s side. Most are offering 12/1 for United to break their 10-year title drought in the Dutchman’s first season, but those odds will shorten if United win both their games this week. After Palace comes a crucial visit to league leaders Arsenal.
United’s squad suggests they will falter at some stage. They’ve won nine on the bounce now and they’re unbeaten since the World Cup hiatus, although many argued they got a slice of luck with Bruno Fernandes’ equaliser against City on Saturday afternoon.
Still, nobody is in better goalscoring form than Marcus Rashford, who bagged the derby winner to clinch his ninth consecutive Old Trafford goal. His recent away record isn’t bad either; Rashford netted the winner away at Wolves on New Year’s Eve and scored three in Qatar on World Cup duty with England.
A bet on Rashford to open the scoring at Palace this week is tantalisingly priced at 6/1 and therefore worth a flutter. United’s goals aren’t coming from too many alternative sources. Both Antony and his namesake Anthony Martial are concerns up front for some fans, while Bruno Fernandes’ strike versus City was his first United goal since November 10th – and just his fourth all season.
Palace are safely ensconced in mid-table, although their recent form is patchy. Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira would love to take points off his old foes and further boost the Gunners’ title hopes. But his team have won one from their past seven games, scoring just three goals in the process.
Wilfried Zaha is the most likely Palace player to find the net, and how he’d enjoy scoring against his former team. But 8/1 for Zaha to break the deadlock isn’t a very appealing price, given his teammates’ struggles to create goalscoring opportunities.
All the indications are that United will make it 10 on the bounce and continue to chase down Arsenal. But Selhurst Park under the Wednesday night lights and a vociferous Eagles’ support might just give Ten Hag’s men a tricky test.
It will be close. But United are an unstoppable machine right now, with fans justifiability excited about the sleeping giant finally awakening. A United win is odds on at 11/13 and that’s where the safe money is for this one.
Our tip: United to win to nil (5/2)