Crystal Palace vs Manchester United Preview: Reds look to get back to winning ways 
Anthony Martial's shot about to find the net against Southampton | Photo by Peter Powell/Getty Images

Despite dropping two points to Southampton in their last game, Manchester United know that a Champions League place is still in their own hands if they can win their remaining three matches against Crystal Palace, West Ham and Leicester.

Two quickfire goals in the first half from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial cancelled out Stuart Armstrong's opener for Southampton, but Michael Obafemi struck in second-half injury time to salvage a point for The Saints.

The result meant Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side failed to capitalise on the opportunity to move into third with Chelsea and Leicester both dropping points against Sheffield United and AFC Bournemouth.

And with The Court of Arbitration for Sport overturning Manchester City's European ban on 13 July, Man Utd now know that they will need to finish inside the top four to secure a lucrative Champions League place.

The Red Devils travel to Selhurst Park looking to get back to winning ways against Roy Hodgson's Palace side, who have lost their last five matches and consequently sit bottom of the form table alongside already relegated Norwich City.

After recording a 2-0 win away at Bournemouth in their first match since the restart, Roy Hodgson's side has failed to find any form.

The Eagles have conceded 13 goals since the hiatus and more worryingly perhaps scored just four goals, two of which came in their narrow 3-2 defeat to Chelsea at Selhurst Park.

When Mamadou Sahko's goal was disallowed for handball at 0-0 in their last match against relegation-threatened Aston Villa, Hodgson's side ended up wilting to a disappointing 2-0 defeat. 

Hodgson will expect his team to put in a much-improved performance against Solsjkaer's inform United, but with Premier League safety already assured and with very little other than bottom half positional places to play for, United could well condemn Palace to another defeat.

Team News

Crystal Palace

Hodgson will be without Christian Benteke for the rest of the season after the striker was shown a red card by Martin Atkinson for kicking Ezri Konza once the final whistle had sounded.

Long term absentee Jeffrey Schlupp is fit enough to return the team but is not expected to be in the starting XI, whilst James Tomkins has also returned to training.

The ex-England manager also gave the press at Crystal Palace an update on Martin Kelly, who was an unused substitute in the defeat to Villa, saying he could use the versatile defender if needed but he would prefer to give him more time.

Gary Cahill remains sidelined after pulling his hamstring against his ex-employers Chelsea.

Manchester United

Solskjaer named an unchanged lineup for the fifth consecutive Premier League game running and with the Emirates FA Cup Semi-Final against Chelsea looming just three days later, the Manchester United boss could choose to rotate his squad.

Left-backs Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams are doubts after they were both forced off in the 2-2 draw with Southampton.

Shaw twisted his ankle after driving into the box to collect Rashford's pass and Williams sustained a gash to his head following an aerial collision with Kyle Walker-Peters.

Solskjaer told the press at MUTV that the pair haven't trained since the game, but they will both be given a chance to prove their fitness prior to Thursday's trip to south London.

If unavailable, Diogo Dalot or youngster Ethan Laird could fill in on the left-hand side of the defence.

Mason Greenwood is also a doubt after his ankle felt the full force of Oriel Romeu's shocking challenge, which went unpunished by the match officials.

Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe remain unavailable for selection.

Predicted Lineups

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Van Aanholt, Sakho, Dann, Ward, Milivojevic, Kouyate, McArthur, Townsend, Ayew, Zaha (4-3-3).

Manchester United: De Gea, Williams, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Fred, McTominay, Pogba, James, Martial, Ighalo (4-2-3-1).

Ones to Watch

Wilfried Zaha

Zaha's move to Manchester United in 2013 did not work out and the 27-year-old winger spent his two years at the club on loan to Cardiff and his original club Palace before the Eagles eventually bought him back.

The Ivory Coast international has had a poor season by his standards having contributed just four goals and three assists for the team, but his trickery on the ball and overall contribution to the team should never be underestimated. 

Anthony Martial

Martial notched his 50th league goal for the Red Devils with his fine strike against Southampton and in doing so joined an elite group of Manchester United goalscorers. 

The 24-year-old forward joins fellow compatriot Eric Cantona, as well as other star-studded names such as David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andy Cole, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and the Manchester United boss himself.

Upon finding the net, he also becomes only the 10th different player to score 50 Premier League goals for Man Utd - no other team has had more different players reach the milestone for them in the competition. 

Previous Meeting(s)

In what was a highly entertaining game, Crystal Palace travelled back to the capital on 24 August with all three points against Manchester United for the first time since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.

Daniel James appeared to have earned Manchester United a point with his curling shot which found the top corner in the 89th minute after Jordan Ayew had given the visitors a first-half lead, but David De Gea was unable to keep out Patrick Van Aanholt's drive at his near post in second-half stoppage time.  

The result left Solskjaer's side with one win in nine matches across all competitions, scoring just eight goals in the process while conceding 16.

These two sides have met 21 times since 1992, of which United have won 16, drawn four and lost just once, which came in their last meeting.

The Red Devils' have never been beaten at Selhurst Park in that time, having recorded seven wins and three draws.

Where to watch

The match kicks off at 20:15 (BST) on 16 July. Football fans in the UK will be able to watch the match live on BT Sport. Those in the United States will be able to watch the game live on NBC Sports Network.

Manager's quotes

Crystal Palace

Hodgson is fully aware that his team will need to be at their very best to pick up a result against Solskjaer's in-form Manchester United side.

"We’ve got another team of great quality coming to Selhurst," he said whilst speaking to the press at Crystal Palace. 

"We are aware that a similar performance [than vs. Chelsea] will be required to get the result."

"I can only hope that things improve and fans can slowly start returning to the stadiums."

Manchester United

Solskjaer insisted to MUTV that any possible changes he makes to the starting XI will be based upon the match with Crystal Palace and not the Emirates FA Cup Semi-Final on Sunday.

"The team selection for Thursday is based on Thursday, not on Sunday. Sunday is irrelevant, it doesn't come into my head at all. It's just Thursday, so we'll see."

The former United centre-forward also reckons the competition to be the club's top goalscorer this season is a healthy one, with Martial and Rashford both tied on 21 goals scored in all competitions and with Greenwood lingering close behind with 16. 

"It's great when you're a striker, scoring goals and feeling on top of your game. Both of them [Martial and Rashford] are fit and strong.

"Mason as well, he's coming into the frame. He's not looked back since the restart and it's been fantastic to see them in the training ground as well. And the way they look for each other. It's like, is he in the better position or am I going to finish? They're all team players and it's been very positive.”

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