The final game of the season is upon us and Manchester United travel south London to take on Crystal Palace.
A fixture with umpteen storylines, none more compelling than Erik ten Hag being present, hoping for his tenure can begin with Europa League football secured.
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Selhurst Park
Kick-Off: 16:00 UK Time
Channel: *Not on UK TV
How do Manchester United look?Embed from Getty Images
The two weeks break following United’s Brighton battering would’ve come as a welcome one to fans. The fortnight off for the players has been a break from impending embarrassment for the players. The interval has also paved the way for Ten Hag to close his chapter in Amsterdam and immediately get to work on United.
The Dutchman is also set to be in attendance at Selhurst Park to watch his future side take on Patrick Vieira Eagle’s. United must pick up all three points in order to qualify for next season’s Europa League. Anything less than maximum points and a West Ham victory at the Amex will see United plummet into 7th, and ensure the club plays Conference League football.
In a bid to avoid further embarrassment, Rangnick would’ve hoped for a much stronger squad for the Reds’ trip down south. However, according to reports, Cristiano Ronaldo will miss the tie due to a recurring hip-flexor issue.Embed from Getty Images
Ronaldo has scored eight of United’s last nine goals in all competitions so his absence will come as an obviously huge blow. Luke Shaw could also set to miss the game despite returning to training this week following the birth of his second child. However, both Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho are both in contention following their respective illnesses.
Opposition: Crystal PalaceEmbed from Getty Images
Palace will be chomping at the bit to end their season on a high after they lost their two-goal lead in midweek to secure Everton’s Premier League safety. Tempers flared at full time as Vieira could be seen lashing out at an Everton fan as toffees took to the pitch to celebrate their momentous comeback. Fresh with that frustration, we can expect an aggressive Palace performance.
The south London club have exceeded expectations this season as despite Vieira being an unknown quantity he has come in and built an extremely likeable side. The combination of youth and experience has made for exciting viewing at Selhurst with the likes of Connor Gallagher, Ebere Eze and Michael Olise able to cause problems at any time.
Key StatsEmbed from Getty Images
Palace have never won in 12 Premier League home games against United (D4 L8), the most one team has faced another at home without ever winning in the competition.
The Eagles have never lost when playing their final game of a top-flight season at home, winning six and drawing three of their nine games dating back to 1969-70.
No side has won their final game of a Premier League season more often than Manchester United (20, level with Arsenal), while the Red Devils are unbeaten in their last 11 when ending the season away from home (W8 D3 since a 3-1 loss at Spurs in 2000-01).
Whatever the result, Manchester United will finish the season with their lowest points tally in Premier League history.
Ronaldo’s absence is huge. Without him in the team, even despite his critics, United are extremely underwhelming. Palace have shown this season how when they smell blood, they are more than capable of causing an upset, no matter what the opposition team are chasing. For that reason, it’s difficult to see past a draw. One can only hope that West Ham don’t pick up three points vs Brighton.
Crystal Palace 2-2 Manchester United