Crystal Palace vs Manchester United - Prediction, Betting Odds & Picks
- Manchester United remains well positioned to finish in the top four despite Monday’s slip-up
- Palace is in dismal form and could be set for a season of struggle in 2020/21
- Back United to return to winning ways at Selhurst Park on Thursday
|What||Crystal Palace vs Manchester United|
|Where||Selhurst Park, London, England|
|When||Thursday, 16 July 2020, 3.15 PM EST|
|How to watch||NBC Sports|
Monday was not a great day for Manchester United’s Champions League ambitions. First, United found out that fifth place would not be sufficient for a place at Europe’s top table next term as the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned Manchester City’s two-season ban from continental competition. With City safely in second, there were suddenly only two rather than three spaces in the tournament up for grabs.
Later that day, United took to the field for its latest Premier League fixture. Southampton was the opposition at Old Trafford, and it was the visitor that struck first via Stuart Armstrong. But United hit back through Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, and for a long period its 2-1 lead looked sufficient for a fifth victory on the bounce.
However, Michael Obafemi struck deep into second-half stoppage time to earn Southampton a point. It was no less than it deserved after an excellent display against one of the division’s in-form teams, and it left United outside the top four with three rounds of games left to go. A visit to Leicester City on the final day means the Red Devils still have their fate in their own hands, but a slip-up against Crystal Palace on Thursday would put another dent in their Champions League chances.
Fortunately for United, Palace is not in the type of form that suggests it is about to take a point or three from this game. It is now five defeats in a row for Roy Hodgson’s side, whose season is ending with a whimper. This should be a comfortable night for United ahead of its FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at the weekend.
Crystal Palace vs Manchester United Odds
|Win to nil||Odds|
Odds taken from DraftKings
Palace has failed to score in four of its last five matches, continuing a trend that has seen its attack rank as one of the Premier League’s most feeble throughout the campaign. Only relegated Norwich City has scored fewer goals this term, and no team in the division has a worse record than its 14 strikes at home.
All of which suggests a clean sheet should be well within United’s grasp on Thursday. Back a win to nil for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side at Selhurst Park.
Southampton Draw a Wake-Up Call After Four-Game Winning Streak
United was tremendous in three-goal victories over Sheffield United, Brighton and Hove Albion, Bournemouth and Aston Villa. Its defense was largely solid save for a few moments of sloppiness against the Cherries, while an attacking unit featuring Rashford, Martial and Mason Greenwood in advance of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes looked hugely exciting.
Yet talk that United could be ready for a Premier League title challenge next term always looked premature, and Monday’s draw with Southampton served as a reminder that this team is not yet in the class of Liverpool or Manchester City. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side caused it problems, pressing from the front and looking to disrupt its build-up play. In the end a draw was a fair reflection of how the game played out.
United has undoubtedly made significant progress since January, with the acquisition of Fernandes and the emergence of Greenwood leading to an improvement in the strongest XI available to Solskjaer. But United remains some way off the division’s top two teams, and it should only be thinking about a top-four finish right now. Discussions over it winning its first title of the post-Alex Ferguson era are best left to one side for the time being.
Palace Is in Dire Form and Could Be Set for a Relegation Battle Next Term
Some Palace fans were daring to dream of a place in the Europa League after a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth on matchday 30 kept Roy Hodgson’s side in ninth place. It has all been downhill since then, and those same supporters are starting to grow worried about a potential relegation battle next term.
As things stand it does look like a possibility. Palace does not score enough goals and has very little creativity in the ranks beyond Wilfried Zaha. Hodgson is a good manager at this level, but there are doubts over whether the soon-to-be 73-year-old would have the stomach for a sustained battle against the drop.
Palace could clear the clouds of gloom with a strong end to the season, but the fixture list is not the kindest: after this meeting with United it will conclude the campaign against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur.
This Is the Ideal Fixture for United After Monday’s Blow at Old Trafford
Only Norwich has lost more games on the bounce than Palace, which makes the London team a favorable opponent for United this midweek. Hodgson’s side will attempt to keep things tight at the back and deny the visitor space in the attacking third, but the fact that Villa breached its backline twice on Sunday suggests that United should have little trouble finding a way beyond the Palace rearguard.
As well as its superior quality, United has the motivation that Palace is lacking. For that reason, anything other than a comfortable away win would come as a shock.
Back Manchester United to win to nil – Palace’s attack has been blunt all season and Solskjaer’s side should register a clean sheet here.