By 90Min
March 04, 2018

This Monday night sees Jose Mourinho's Manchester United travel down to south London to face struggling Crystal Palace under the lights at Selhurst Park, with both sides desperate for points as they battle for the top four and Premier League survival respectively. 

Roy Hodgson's side are without a win since their 1-0 win triumph over Burnley back in mid January, and as the sides around them continue to pick up points, the pressure is on for the Eagles to start picking up results of their own and stop relying on their rivals to drop points. 

In United's case, Chelsea and Arsenal's dismal form of late has left them breathing easier in the race for the top four, and it seems that the battle for automatic qualification for the Champions League is the main focus for the Red Devils now in the league at least. 

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Monday's clash...


Classic Encounter 

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This Monday's encounter will see a repeat of the 2016 FA Cup final, a match in which Louis van Gaal's United just edged Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace in extra time after Jason Puncheon had given the south Londoners a late lead in normal time. 

Agonisingly for the Eagles, Juan Mata responded to Puncheon's opener in just a matter of minutes to level the scores, and despite Chris Smalling's red card in extra time, substitute Jesse Lingard smashed in a fine strike in what turned out to be the winning goal for the Red Devils. 

The match turned out to be van Gaal's last in charge of United, whilst the loss for Pardew was to be the beginning of the end as he received his marching orders just seven months later. 


Key Battle

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Alexis Sanchez vs Patrick van Aanholt

If Manchester United's diminutive Chilean is to line up on the right hand side of attack once again, Palace left-back Patrick van Aanholt will need to step his game up, especially given his recent performances. 

The Dutchman displays spells of attacking quality but is prone to lapses of concentration defensively, and after Alexis Sanchez tore the Eagles' backline apart in December with two goals in four minutes whilst wearing an Arsenal shirt, van Aanholt needs to switch on. 

Sanchez has had a slow start at Old Trafford, notching just one goal for his new club, but Hodgson and co don't need reminding of his star quality.


Team News

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It is no secret that Palace are in a bit of an injury rut to say the very least. As it stands, the Eagles' have 13 - yes, 13 - first team players carrying an injury, leaving Roy Hodgson down to the bare bones in terms of team selection. 

Yohan Cabaye, Joel Ward, Mamadou Sakho, Wilfried Zaha, Julian Speroni, Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon, Connor Wickham, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Bakary Sako, Jeffrey Schlupp, James Tomkins and Martin Kelly all occupy the Selhurst Park treatment room, although the latter three may be fit for the visit of United. 

The Red Devils have a few injury issues of their own as six players sit out the trip to south London. Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Marouane Fellaini, Daley Blind and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all currently out injured, but Mourinho still possesses a wealth of options. 

Timothy Fosu-Mensah will sit out the game for Palace due to the terms of his loan deal. 

Potential Crystal Palace Starting XI: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Kelly, van Aanholt, Milivojevic, Riedewald, McArthur, Sorloth, Benteke, Townsend.


Potential Manchester United Starting XI: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Young, McTominay, Matic, Pogba, Alexis, Lukaku, Martial.


Prediction

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When the odds are heavily stacked up against them, Crystal Palace are in their element. The Eagles' always perform better when less is expected of them, and whilst they may run United close as they did with Spurs last time out, Mourinho's men just simply have too much quality. 

Palace will sit in and look to frustrate United, but a United win looks likely. A tight game should be expected, and don't be surprised if there is only one goal to separate the two sides. 

Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United

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