Manchester United begin their 2020-21 Premier League season with a tough test as they welcome Crystal Palace to Old Trafford.
Having had a first weekend bye due to their Europa League commitments in post-season, this match will be the Red Devils’ first of 2020-21 season whereas Palace are looking to go top with just their second Premier League away win over Man Utd.
Paul Pogba is expected to be available for Man Utd despite missing a few training sessions due to self-isolation after testing positive for Coronavirus.
Axel Tuanzebe is absent with an unspecified injury whilst Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo aren’t expected to feature, with all three defenders expected to depart before the transfer window shuts next month.
Palace could have Jairo Riedewald available despite the defender missing last weekend’s win over Southampton with a muscle strain.
Mamadou Sakho (groin), Patrick van Anholt (shoulder), Christian Benteke (foot) and Connor Wickham (unspecified) are closing in on returns, although the quartet aren’t expected to be risked here.
Gary Cahill (hamstring), James Tomkins (thigh) and Nathan Ferguson (knee) are all ruled out indefinitely with no return dates set by the club.
- Man Utd are unbeaten in four of their last five meetings against Crystal Palace (W3, D1, L1).
- Last season’s win at Old Trafford marked Palace’s only away win in 11 previous away Premier League trips to Man Utd (W1, D1, L9).
- Palace are yet to be awarded a penalty against Man Utd in 22 previous Premier League meetings.
- Man Utd have won all of their last five first home games within a new league season (W5), whilst scoring 13 goals and conceding just once across those five such matches in total.
- Palace have avoided defeat in two of their last five first away matches of a new season (W2, L3).
After such a strong end to last season domestically with exception of their FA Cup semi-final defeat, I can see Man Utd pushing on this season but their defensive home record is still likely to be of concern after conceding in three of their four post-lockdown home league matches.
Palace meanwhile were excellent against Southampton in terms of pace and unleashing attacks via Wifried Zaha and Andros Townsend as well as overall defending and if they can continue that progress here, I can see this being a tough opener for Utd if they aren’t careful at the back.
Saying that, United do have a great opening home game record but I can see Palace just having enough to deny them victory.
Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Crystal Palace
Result: Manchester United 1-3 Crystal Palace