With the adrenaline still pumping from their pulsating derby day victory over rivals City, Manchester United head to South London this evening for another stiff Premier League test against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The Eagles may have lost four of their five assignments since the campaign’s resumption; however, they rarely make life easy for Man Utd, and having taken points off the Red Devils in three of the teams’ last four encounters, Palace will be aiming to upset the odds again.
You can sink your teeth into my stats pack for this evening’s crucial contest below, which is crammed with info on shots, xG, cards, corners and more from the clubs’ Premier League campaigns to date. Use the data along with my Stats Pack Guide to construct smarter bet builders later on.
James McArthur and Nathan Ferguson are both sidelined for Crystal Palace at present, while there are doubts about the availability of key defender Joachim Andersen after the Dane came off injured against Chelsea at the weekend.
James Tomkins replaced Andersen at Stamford Bridge and should slot into the Palace backline today. Wilfried Zaha will be keen to do some damage against his former employers if he is deployed as the further forward member of the Eagles’ frontline.
Donny van de Beek will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, while Axel Tuanzeba and Jadon Sancho are still out of contention. Diogo Dalot isn’t expected to return from a hamstring issue, so former Palace defender Aaron Wan Bissaka should continue at right back.
Anthony Martial came off at half time against Man City on Saturday and is a doubt, while Marcus Rashford is a slight worry after suffering a knock in the same game. Loan signing Wout Weghorst is expected to start life with United on the bench.
Crystal Palace are the fifth-lowest scoring outfit in the Premier League this season, though their xG per 90 figure suggests their 17-goal haul after 18 games should have been weightier.
The Eagles matched Chelsea for shots on target (5-5) in their 1-0 reverse to the Blues at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, highlighting just much of a threat they can be when they click.
Palace are one of just five Premier League clubs (alongside United) to have collected 40 or more bookings this season. Over 3.5 cards is nicely priced at 4/7 this evening.
United’s baby steps have become big strides under Erik ten Hag in recent weeks and their 2-1 comeback win over rivals City on Saturday felt like a significant moment.
The majority of United’s stats are on the up, though their improved defensive work has been particularly impressive. In their last five Premier League fixtures, United conceded a combined xG against of only 2.49.
United are still collecting too many cards, however, and three of their players were cautioned against City. The one-game bans could start to mount up soon if they don’t clean up their act.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Seven different Crystal Palace players managed to muster an attempt on goal against Chelsea last weekend, and five of those Eagles notched a shot on target.
Former Man Utd winger Wilfried Zaha was among those to test Kepa Arrizabalaga at Stamford Bridge and the dangerous Ivorian attacker seems best placed to threaten United this evening. The 30-year-old carries odds of 4/6 to hit at least one shot on target later on.
Jordan Ayew also catches the eye at 7/5 in the same market. The 31-year-old racked up two accurate attempts in Palace’s last Premier League home game against Tottenham on January 4th.
Marcus Rashford accounted for three of Man Utd’s five shots on target against City in the Manchester derby at the weekend and the forward, who is in the midst of a lengthy purple patch, looks very backable at 8/5 to land two accurate blows against Palace today.
Bruno Fernandes meanwhile, managed ten shots in his last four Premier League appearances combined, and hit the target with at least one effort against Man City, Bournemouth and Wolves. The 28-year-old could be a savvy coupon filler at 1/2 to make Eagles stopper Vincent Guaita work at least once again later on.
Player Goals and Assists
Wilfried Zaha is Crystal Palace’s leading goalscorer (six) in the Premier League this season by a decent margin, though he hasn’t found the net in five top-flight appearances and his haul of just two goals in 13 runouts in the division is a poor return for a player of his quality.
The 30-year-old does seem to relish rubbing United’s noses in it when he faces his former club however, and Zaha scored the only goal when Palace beat United in the corresponding fixture at Selhurst Park last season. Zaha also bagged a brace when the Eagles beat United 3-1 at Old Trafford in September 2020 and the Ivory Coast international is a compelling price at 6/4 to either score or assist this evening.
Marcus Rashford became the first Man Utd player since Dennis Viollet in 1959 to score in nine consecutive home matches when he notched against City, and the 25-year-old has been on the scoresheet in 100% of his appearances for United since the domestic campaign’s resumption last month.
Rashford has also laid on goals for two teammates since Christmas and the red-hot wide attacker is priced at even money to lodge another goal or assist at Selhurst Park. Bruno Fernandes could be one to watch at the same price in the same market. The midfielder has lodged a goal contribution in three of his last four starts.
Crystal Palace rank in the Premier League’s bottom third for average possession held per game this season, though Eagles boss Patrick Vieira will probably be comfortable with his team having less of the ball again today.
In terms of workable Palace options for your bet builder, centre-half Marc Guehi seems to be a consistent performer. The 22-year-old has played 50 or more passes in six of his eight Premier League appearances at Selhurst Park this term.
As one of United’s chief playmakers in midfield, Bruno Fernandes likes to get on the ball as often as possible and the Portuguese maestro has distributed at least 50 passes in three of his last four starts in the league.
Fernandes has featured quite a bit in our stats pack guide already, though United’s current captain is an integral figure and he is a tempting price at 10/11 to play 50 or more passes again today.
Luke Shaw is a key cog in Erik ten Hag’s possession-based mechanics at United, though you have to seek out prices in the 70+ passes realm to find value for the England international and that target could be a little too high this evening. Shaw has played north of 70 passes in just two of his last eight Premier League appearances.
Crystal Palace Cards
Cheick Oumar Doucoure and Jeffrey Schlupp form a ructious duo at the base of the Crystal Palace midfield, and having amassed a bone-crunching nine yellow cautions between them already this term, they look like excellent candidates to collect cards again at 23/10 and 9/2 respectively.
Further back, Marc Guehi is the player to track in the Eagles’ defence. Only Wolves’ Ruben Neves has been booked more often than Guehi this season and the 22-year-old’s mean streak could land him in trouble again with card happy referee, Robert Jones.
With Palace fielding two hard-hitters in midfield, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes could be in for a bruising evening at Selhurst Park. Both players have already been in the wars this season and their fouled per 90 figures could climb after their encounters with Doucoure and Schlupp.
If he’s fit and available for selection, Anthony Martial should be the one deployed closest to Palace hatchet-man, Guehi, later today. If the Frenchman is having a positive impact against the Eagles, Guehi will try to rough him up.
Match-Ups to watch
Cheick Oumar Doucoure vs Casemiro
Jeffrey Schlupp vs Bruno Fernandes
Marc Guehi vs Anthony Martial
Manchester United Cards
Manchester United have been showing a better mastery of the dark arts this season with small and smart fouls a visibly bigger part of their defensive gameplan under Erik ten Hag.
Brazilian duo Casemiro (13/8) and Fred (11/4) tend to commit plenty of those, as evidenced by their high fouls per 90 counts and haul of eight bookings combined, and either midfielder would be worthy of inclusion on bet builder coupons today.
Only two United players have committed more fouls in total than Luke Shaw (13/5) this season and the converted centre-half will have to be at his best to time his tackles against the fast feet of Wilfried Zaha.
Crystal Palace average more dribbles per game than any other Premier League outfit (8.3) and with silky technicians like Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise and Wilfried Zaha in their ranks, they are also the most-fouled team in the division (13.2 per game).
Attacking midfielders Eze and Olise should relish pitting their skills against Casemiro and Fred this evening, where bookings for the latter pair look like possible by-products. Wilfried Zaha’s blend of pace and trickery could also bring out the worst in Luke Shaw.
Match-Ups to watch
Casemiro vs Eberechi Eze
Fred vs Michael Olise
Luke Shaw vs Wilfried Zaha