Six talking points before Crystal Palace v United
Manchester United begin a busy month by returning to Premier League action on Monday against Crystal Palace in the first game in March.
The Reds will make the trip to Selhurst Park in buoyant mood after coming from behind to beat top-four rivals Chelsea last time out. There is plenty to discuss before the game and we've picked out six key points for you to mull over…
WHO COULD PLAY FOR UNITED?
With eight days in between our superb comeback victory over the Blues last Sunday and the meeting with Palace, Jose Mourinho and his players have had the luxury of a free week to rest up and prepare for the game. As midfielders Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini continue their respective recoveries from injury, it remains to be seen whether Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be back to full fitness in time to be involved on Monday. Scott McTominay hopes to keep his place in midfield after an impressive February, and Eric Bailly is pushing for his first start since November in defence. The boss could give a further update on his plans and the squad in his pre-match press conference at the Aon Training Complex on Friday.
FOSU-MENSAH IS INELIGIBLE
After signing a new deal at United last season, Tim Fosu-Mensah joined Palace on a season-long loan in search of regular first-team football to further enhance his education. In the absence of the injured Joel Ward, the Dutchman has established himself as the Eagles’ first-choice right-back this season and has been one of their most consistent performers in their resurgent campaign. He played at centre-back in the 1-0 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in their last league outing, but is ineligible to face United due to the terms of his loan deal – which is undoubtedly a blow for Palace.
NO REUNION WITH ZAHA
Another player with United connections – Wilfried Zaha – is also set to miss out for the Eagles. The speedy winger became the final player to join United under Sir Alex Ferguson's stewardship in January 2013 but remained on loan at Palace for the rest of the 2012/13 campaign. After struggling to make an impact the following season during David Moyes' reign at Old Trafford, he returned to Selhurst Park in the summer of 2014 - initially on loan. The 25-year-old is one of a number of first-team players currently unavailable to Palace boss Roy Hodgson, who has had to contend with something of an injury crisis of late.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
It promises to be a long weekend for United fans as the Reds are last on stage for the next round of Premier League fixtures. It's the third time this season we will play on a Monday, after victories over Everton (on New Year’s Day) and Stoke City last month. In fact, United boast the best Premier League record on this particular day of the week – winning 41 of our 60 previous Monday matches in the top flight.
LONG TRIP FOR REDS FAITHFUL
The scheduling of this game won't have gone down well with many supporters as the Reds make the near 500-mile round trip to south-east London on a Monday evening, which may result in a late night for most. Although travelling to and from the capital is likely to be problematic, particularly in the snowy conditions which have hit the country, the timing of the match should at least make for a cracking atmosphere under the lights at Selhurst Park – aided by the loyal support of the travelling Red Army who follow the club all over the world.
25 YEARS ON FROM A LANDMARK WIN
This season marks a quarter of a century since the 2-0 victory away at Palace – secured by a spectacular volley from Mark Hughes and a Paul Ince effort – on 21 April 1993 took the Reds to the brink of a first league title in 26 years. The mood in the away end at Selhurst Park became even more celebratory as United fans learned that title-race rivals Aston Villa were on course for a costly 3-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers. Eleven days later, Villa lost 1-0 at home to relegation-battling Oldham Athletic - and United were crowned champions without having to kick another ball. The season ended with us 10 points clear at the top.