Match preview: Crystal Palace v United
Manchester United return to Premier League action on Monday night when making the long trip south to face Crystal Palace. Here's everything you need to know...
SETTING THE SCENE… The Reds are back on the road for the fourth time in the last five games on Monday night, making the long trip to the capital to face a Crystal Palace side fighting for Premier League survival. Coming off the back of an impressive win over Chelsea at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho’s men will be keen to build momentum against the struggling Eagles ahead of a crucial run of challenging home games. A win would take the Reds beyond the 60-point mark, while boosting our chances of finishing second in the table.
HOW CAN I FOLLOW IT? Monday night’s match kicks off at 20:00 GMT and will be broadcast live in the UK on Sky Sports. MUTV subscribers on Sky or Virgin Media, the MUTV app, or online at MUTV.com can enjoy match build-up from 18:00 GMT on the Match Day show and listen to radio commentary of the game before watching it in full at midnight. You can keep up with all the action as it happens via ManUtd.com's live match blog and by following the official Twitter account @ManUtd.
WHAT’S THE TEAM NEWS? The trip to Selhurst Park is likely to come too soon for Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini to recover from respective hamstring and knee injuries. It remains to be seen whether Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be fit enough to return. The boss could give an update on his squad in his press conference on Friday. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace will be without defender Tim Fosu-Mensah, who is on loan from United and therefore ineligible to face his parent club. Former Reds winger Wilfried Zaha is also among a lengthy list of injury absentees, which includes Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho, Jason Puncheon and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Boss Roy Hodgson told the media on Thursday that Martin Kelly and Jeffrey Schlupp are the only two players likely to return from injury on Monday.
HOW ARE CRYSTAL PALACE DOING? A dreadful start to the season saw the Eagles break a 129-year Football League record, losing their first seven league matches without scoring a single goal. After taking over from Frank de Boer, who lasted just four games in charge, former England manager Hodgson has managed to steer Palace away from the bottom three. The Eagles were as high as 12th in mid-January but have slipped down the table again on the back of a five-match winless run. The south-London outfit currently sit 17th, with only goal difference keeping them above the relegation zone, but they could fall into it if results elsewhere over the weekend go against them.
HOW HAVE WE FARED AGAINST PALACE IN THE PAST? The Reds have a commanding record against Monday’s opponents, having won 35 and drawn 10 of the 52 matches between the sides. United have never lost to Palace in 17 previous games in the Premier League era, while the last of the Eagles’ seven victories over the Reds in all competitions coming in a 2-1 triumph at Old Trafford in the League Cup in November 2011. United fans will fondly remember beating Crystal Palace in the 2016 FA Cup final – as the Reds came from behind to win 2-1 at Wembley, thanks to Jesse Lingard’s stunning strike in extra time, and lift the famous trophy for the first time since 2004.
WHAT HAPPENED EARLIER IN THE SEASON? United welcomed Palace to the Theatre of Dreams at the end of September and eased past the beleaguered Eagles, who were struggling at the foot of the table. The Reds arguably produced one of our best performances of the season so far as Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini (2) and Romelu Lukaku got on the scoresheet in a convincing 4-0 victory.
Goals: United 4 Crystal Palace 0Video
WHAT’S OUR RECORD AGAINST ROY HODGSON? The Reds have come up against sides managed by the experienced 70-year-old on 13 previous occasions, spanning 20 years, and boast an impressive record. As manager of Fulham, Hodgson came out on top in two of his three encounters with United at Craven Cottage between 2008 and 2010. But, since then, he’s failed to avoid defeat against the Reds at all three of the Premier League clubs he’s managed since – Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace respectively.
ONE TO WATCH: Serbian international midfielder Luka Milivojevic has become a favourite among Palace fans since arriving in January 2017 and was voted the club's Player of the Month for February on Thursday. He is Palace’s current leading scorer with seven goals to his name this season, popping up with several important strikes – particularly from the penalty spot. Before the visit of Tottenham last time out, the 26-year-old had scored in four of the previous six games and, if they are to threaten on Monday night, Palace will need their own ‘Beast from the East’ to perform at his best.
WHO’S THE REFEREE? Neil Swarbrick will take charge of his third United game this season, having already officiated the Reds’ 2-2 draw at Stoke City in September and the 1-0 win over Brighton at Old Trafford in November. The experienced whistler from Preston will be supported by assistant referees Scott Ledger and Richard West, while Lee Mason takes on the role of fourth official.
RIVALS WATCH: There’s the usual packed Premier League programme to look forward to this weekend, including a big game for leaders Manchester City on Sunday. Here’s the full fixture list…
Saturday 3 March (15:00 GMT unless stated)
Burnley v Everton (12:30 GMT)
Leicester v AFC Bournemouth
Southampton v Stoke City
Swansea City v West Ham United
Tottenham Hotspur v Huddersfield Town
Watford v West Bromwich Albion
Liverpool v Newcastle (17:30 GMT)
Sunday 4 March
Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal (13:30 GMT)
Manchester City v Chelsea (16:00 GMT)
Monday 5 March
Crystal Palace v Manchester United (20:00 GMT)