As we look ahead to Manchester United’s third game of the 2019/20 Premier League season we’ve picked out some talking points for Crystal Palace’s visit to Old Trafford.
The Red Devils are clear favourites to get their second win of the season after being held to a 1-1 draw at Molineux.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s biggest test to come against former club?
All eyes will be on new signing Wan-Bissaka up against Palace where he spent 10-years coming through the academy and into the first-team. His big money move to Old Trafford this summer was warranted on the back of a terrific breakthrough campaign for the Eagles and he’s hardly put a foot wrong yet at right-back.
Former team-mate and United player, Wilfried Zaha, will be eager to get one over AWB on Saturday. His time in Manchester didn’t go to plan but our very own Spiderman already looks set to stamp his authority on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Zaha made his intention to leave Palace clear in the summer but it never happened. Their fans will hope he can put that behind him and trouble AWB given he’s usually a nightmare for most full-backs.
Who’s on pens?
After Monday night’s controversy, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still banging the drum that he has two designated penalty takers in the squad. Marcus Rashford opened the scoring against Chelsea two weeks ago with a dazzling penalty, but Paul Pogba decided to step up to the spot against Wolves and missed.
The Frenchman’s attempts to be this week’s hero backfired and it consequently resulted in two points dropped and a chance to build some momentum at the beginning of the season.
Solskjaer said this in his post-match press conference, as quoted by Eurosport: “The two of them are the designated penalty shooters. It’s up to the in that moment.”
He repeated those sentiments in his pre-match briefing for Saturday’s game versus Palace and I can’t help but feel he’s being irresponsible about the situation. Those responsibilities should now be given to Rashford and he needs goals to give him a boost in confidence.
Time for Angel Gomes to step in?
There’s been a lack of quality in United’s midfield for years. It wasn’t strengthened this summer and we’re not relying on some youthful prospects to provide a spark. Risky but it wouldn’t the first time United have invested faith in academy graduates and it’s what makes us special as a football club.
Jesse Lingard has been playing in the hole so far this season and, for all the criticism he gets, is a useful cog in Solskjaer’s high pressing system. Unfortunately that doesn’t cover up his lack of quality on the ball and that’s shouldn’t be the case for any Manchester United no.10…
Some pundits still claim he’s a young player but Lingard is 26-years-old and he should now be in his prime – delivering goal contributions – so maybe it’s time for something a little different.
Speaking of little (yes, I’m sure he’s smaller than Lingard), there’s an 18-year-old Angel Gomes waiting patiently on the fringes of the team.
He’s one of the most highly-rated youngsters the Reds have produced in recent times after impressing in pre-season during which he netted a brilliant individual goal against Tottenham Hotspur.
Gomes can operate centrally but also drift wide into areas of space, so it would be interesting to see how he’d work with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in the final third.
Of course, Solskjaer has Juan Mata available too which may suit given Palace are likely to sit back and park the bus. His experience could be key but Gomes’ chance must be coming soon.