Manchester United entertain Crystal Palace in Saturday’s Premier League encounter at Old Trafford. The Red Devils made a strong start to the season with a 4-0 drubbing of Chelsea at home, but they could not replicate the performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers, where they settled for a 1-1 draw. Paul Pogba may have changed the complexion of the game in the 70th minute but that was not the case after his missed penalty. Irrespective of this, four points from two matches is a good outcome for the Red Devils, who are currently fourth in the standings.
Palace, on the other side, go into the game following a draw and a defeat to Everton and Sheffield United respectively. The south London outfit have remained defensively stable in both the meetings but there are concerns where the goalscoring threat will come from. So far, Wilfried Zaha has not looked the same player since being denied a big-money move away from Selhurst Park. With this in mind, we look at two key battles which could be interesting to watch during the weekend clash between the sides.
Two key battles to watch out for:
Aaron Wan-Bissaka vs Wilfried Zaha: Both Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have impressed since making their debuts in the United backline but the latter may have the bigger challenge at hand against Palace. While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will have the great amount of possession with the quality in their ranks, they will need to be wary of the threat from Zaha, who is undoubtedly the best means of Palace finding the net. Wan-Bissaka made a sublime nine successful tackles (whoscored) during the recent draw at Wolves and the right-back’s performance may determine the impact of Zaha on his Old Trafford return.
United’s response against a defensive-minded Palace: United had a tough contest in the west Midlands on Monday night where the Wolves generally sat back and absorbed the pressure. A lot more of the same should be witnessed with Roy Hodgson’s side, who will surely guard against offering United with a counter-attacking chance where they are at their very best. As such, the hosts will need to make the use of some quick intrinsic passing to outsmart the Palace defence and that could even play into the hands of the visitors, who may seek to beat United at their own game by launching a counter-attack upfield with the pace of Zaha.
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