Crystal Palace vs Man Utd - Red Devils look to continue fine form as Palace hope to end barren run at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace host Manchester United on Wednesday night at Selhurst Park.

By Callum Rice-Coates Published: 17 January 2023 - 5.02pm

High-flying Manchester United travel to struggling Crystal Palace in a battle between two teams at opposite ends of the form table.

The visitors are on a formidable run of nine straight wins in all competitions and confidence is flowing after Saturday’s 2-1 victory over rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford.

Palace, meanwhile, have lost their last three games and fell to a 1-0 loss at Chelsea last time out.

Will United continue their relentless march towards the summit of the Premier League table? Or can the unfancied hosts pull off an upset?

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Can Palace end worrying goal drought?

Patrick Vieira’s side have not scored a Premier League goal at Selhurst Park since a 1-0 win over Southampton in late October.

That will be a major concern for the Eagles, particularly with Manchester United next up and Newcastle making the trip to south London on Saturday.

With just one win and three defeats since domestic football’s return after the World Cup, it’s beginning to look like Palace are in a slump that quickly needs to be arrested.

A seven-point gap to the bottom three means the Eagles are fairly comfortable for now, but if the goals don’t start flowing and results continue to go badly, a relegation battle certainly isn’t out of the question.

Finding a way to get his side going as an attacking force will be key for Vieira. Wilfried Zaha is this season’s top scorer with six goals, one more than Odsonne Edouard, who has mostly been a substitute in recent weeks.

They face a United side that have conceded just two goals in seven games, so the wait might continue a little longer.

Patrick Vieira and Wilfried Zaha

Could United cement title credentials with victory?

United will go second if they beat Palace, climbing above Man City and moving to within six points of leaders Arsenal, albeit having played a game more than both.

A win at Selhurst Park would also make it six successive Premier League victories for Erik ten Hag’s side, a run of form that can’t be ignored.

The feeling around the club has been one of cautious optimism.

There is a reluctance to get carried away after plenty of false dawns since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. But it feels like something is building under Ten Hag, particularly after the Manchester derby win.

Erik ten Hag

Beating Palace would back up last weekend’s result and, by virtue of league position alone, leave Arsenal looking over their shoulders.

“The fans may dream but we’re not,” said Ten Hag after the City game. “We have to keep our feet on the ground and then face that our game has a lot to improve.”

If the winning run continues, the dream may soon become a realistic possibility.

Will rotation be necessary at Selhurst Park?

Both sides have had busy schedules of late in a uniquely truncated Premier League season.

The World Cup and the Christmas period has meant an almost constant fixture list of midweek games, particularly for United.

The Red Devils were in Carabao Cup action last week and have a trip to league leaders Arsenal looming on the horizon.

With the visit to the Emirates likely to be on Ten Hag’s mind, he could well make changes to his team against Palace.

Wout Weghorst

New signing Wout Weghorst, brought in to bolster United’s options up front, could feature in what is likely to be a real test of their squad depth.

If a title challenge is the aspiration for United this season, keeping players fresh for the biggest games and still remaining consistent will be key.