Manchester United will host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford for the opening game of their 2020-21 Premier League campaign on Saturday. United start their season a week late because of the team’s exploits in the final stages of the 2019-20 Europa League. Palace, on the other hand, are already up and running after a somewhat fortuitous victory over Southampton, at Selhurst Park, in the opening game week.
United ended the 2019-20 season in third position, this was largely achieved with a 14-game unbeaten run that saw the side achieve a place in this season’s Champions League. United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær will be hoping that the team can extend this unbeaten run, set an early benchmark and start the process in attempting to close the gap on their two fierce rivals, Man City and Liverpool.
When considering the possible outcome of Saturday’s match, history looks favourably upon United. The Reds have won each of their last five opening day fixtures: including an impressive 4-0 victory against Chelsea at the start of the 2019-20 campaign. As well as this, United hold an extremely impressive record against the Londoners.
In 22 games played against Palace, United have taken all three points on 17 occasions (77% win rate). However, Palace’s sole victory came in this exact fixture last season: a 93rd minute winner from Patrick van Aanholt sealed a famous 2-1 victory for the Eagles.
Palace travel to Manchester on the back of a Wilfried Zaha inspired victory last weekend. It is true that they were extremely lucky to prevail: a series of several saves keeping Danny Ings, and co, at bay.
Regardless, Zaha has the individual brilliance to devastate any team and must be controlled from the offset. It’s worthwhile noting that Palace have started their own campaign with an extensive list of injuries – with five first team players absent from the aforementioned victory.
It’s no secret that the arrival of Bruno Fernandes has inspired this United side. The Portuguese international was involved in a scintillating 15 goal contributions in 14 top-flight appearances.
As well as this, the youth and speed of United’s front three will have Palace working double time. The game also presents an opportunity for new-signing Donny van de Beek to make his competitive debut in a United shirt. Paul Pogba was also back to training today and is in line to feature on Saturday.
What the bookmakers say?
United are odds-on at 1:4 favourites, with Palace coming in at 9:1 and the draw is 1:4
Last 5 games
July 16, 2020
Palace 0-2 United
August 24, 2019
United 1-2 Palace
February 27, 2019
Palace 1-3 United
November 24, 2018
United 0-0 Palace
March 5, 2018
Palace 2-3 United
One to watch from each
Bruno Fernandes (United) and Wilfried Zaha (Palace).
United have goals from the midfield up. The pace, energy and creativity on show will stretch an injury plagued Palace and prove too much.
Palace will sit deep and attempt to counter through the dangerous Zaha. United have improved defensively and, in conceding 18 less goals last season, will have more than enough to give keeper David De Gea a quiet evening. Vicente Guaita needed to be at his very best against Southampton and I can’t see lightning strike twice. United will have too much.
United 3-0 Palace