Manchester United vs Crystal Palace | Premier League | 17:30 (UK) | Sky Sports
Following their ‘extended’ summer break of just 34 days, Manchester United return to Premier League action, facing Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reds finished third last season, clinching a UEFA Champions League place with a 2-0 victory over Leicester City on the final day of the season, and will be hopeful of progressing further during the 2020/21 season.Embed from Getty Images
However, United’s recruitment this summer has been sub-par. The signing of Donny van de Beek was an astute and efficient piece of business, yet there was an air of greater expectation from fans that the club would have made more additions over the break, namely that of Jadon Sancho.
For months, the only roadblock in the pursuit of Sancho has been the club’s refusal to pay Borussia Dortmund’s £108 million asking price for the winger. This refusal once again signifies the club’s hierarchy’s acceptance of mediocrity. They appear happy to simply qualify for the Champions League, due to the financial reward for doing so, rather than pushing on to win silverware.
Other Premier League clubs have invested well, and if United are to see any form of success this season, they must follow suit and improve the side.
How do Manchester United look?
As mentioned, The Reds have made just one signing this summer, and the potential competitive debut of Van de Beek will bring with it the greatest amount of anticipation for fans ahead of Saturday evening’s clash.Embed from Getty Images
Speaking about the Dutchman, Solskjaer said “He played well against Aston Villa so you’re likely to see him”, refusing to confirm whether he would be part of the starting eleven or not.
In terms of injury, it appears that only Axel Tuanzebe is unavailable for selection, with the boss confirming that “Luke [Shaw] and Paul [Pogba] are available for selection for how long we need them”.
Alongside this, Solskjaer explained that Mason Greenwood will be available for selection, having completed his period of isolation, following the incident he was involved in whilst on England duty.
The question of who will be United’s number one for the upcoming season is one of which has been asked many times throughout the past year. Giving no indication on his first choice for the season, the boss expressed his delight to have the choice of a number of top goalkeepers to choose from.Embed from Getty Images
He said “They’re working well together at the moment. Sergio [Romero] hasn’t come back yet because he was given some extra time with his family. [It would be nice for you] to write about not just starting to make problems between the two of them. But they’ve worked really well together”.
It will be interesting to see the eleven that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fields against Crystal Palace on Saturday evening, and whether we will see any tactic changes for the upcoming season.
Opposition: Crystal Palace
Last season’s fourteenth placed side, Crystal Palace ended in abysmal fashion, losing four of their final five league outings.Embed from Getty Images
During the summer, The Eagles have signed exciting prospect Eberechi Eze from QPR for £16 million, as well as Chelsea forward Michy Bastshuayi on a season long loan, who will offer some much-needed attacking threat, and will likely take some of the pressure off star-man Wilfried Zaha.
Roy Hodgson’s men opened their league campaign last weekend with a 1-0 victory over Southampton, with Zaha unsurprisingly scoring the only goal of the game.
Crystal Palace are a poor side, and if United want to seriously compete for silverware this season, they must sweep them aside with a dominant and definitive victory at Old Trafford on Saturday evening.
Manchester United usually start the season on the front foot, and have won 19 of their previous 28 opening fixtures, more than any other club in the top flight of English football.
Manchester United have lost just once against Crystal Palace in the Premier League (last season), and have won 38 of the 57 fixtures between the sides.
United are unbeaten in the league since Burnley beat them on 22nd January 2020, prior to the arrival of Bruno Fernandes.
Manchester United 4-0 Crystal Palace. Goals from Anthony Martial (2), Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford.