Manchester United V Crystal Palace: Where Will It Be Won & Lost?
Manchester United will be looking to bounce straight back from their derby day defeat last Sunday by finding their fourth win of the season. United find themselves in unfamiliar territory, sitting in tenth position in the league, 13 points behind league leaders Chelsea. The Red Devils look to have mounting defensive issues through injury and suspension and have only managed one goal in their last two matches.
At the back, United have conceded 14 goals already this season, but it could have been a whole lot more if it weren’t for the in-form David De Gea. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Spain international has already made 23 saves this season, including five saves last weekend to keep United level in the derby until the 63rd minute. He will need to remain in top form to ensure that United find their first clean sheet in seven games.
At the back, United will be without Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling through injury and suspension, but the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index illustrates that Rafael has been United’s star defender so far this season. Rafael has won 17 tackles so far this term, which is more than any other defender in the United squad. He has also made 27 clearances, 16 interceptions and two blocks. He is also not afraid to get forward, and having already created one goal this season, will be looking to add to his assists tally.
At the other end of the pitch, last weekend saw United fail to score for the second time this season, but it is clear that they possess an abundance of attacking talent. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index statistics illustrate this as Wayne Rooney has scored three times this season, with every other shot that has hit the target. Netherlands international captain Robin Van Persie has hit the target more than anybody else in the squad, testing opposition keepers 12 times, finding the net the same amount of times as Rooney. United new boy Angel Di Maria has found the back of the net three times, with a further four assists to his name, and he is 31/10 to score anytime with 888sport.com.
Crystal Palace suffered their third loss in four games to Sunderland on Monday night, which saw them slip perilously close to the danger zone; level on points and goal difference with Leicester in 18th place. Whilst scoring has not been a problem for the Eagles, they have the second worst defensive record in the league and we look to see how they can overcome this and the loss of influential leader Mile Jedinak, who is suspended for the trip north.
As mentioned, Palace are a side capable of scoring goals, especially with two electric wingers in Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha, with the latter ineligible for the weekend clash. The main man putting the ball in the net though is former United star, Frazier Campbell. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that the English striker has three goals to his name, converting over 23% of his chances. The striker has also clocked an impressive 35.13km/h this season, the fastest pace in the Palace squad, and will look to use that pace to get in behind United’s defence. He is 5/1 to score anytime against his old club with 888sport.com.
In the middle of the park, replacing Mile Jedinak is a big ask of Crystal Palace, but that responsibility will likely fall on the shoulders of Wales international Joe Ledley. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that he has won 69.23% of his tackles and racked up 15 interceptions already this campaign. He has covered 74.12km so far this season, and will need to ensure he adds to all of these statistics to win the midfield battle on Saturday.
At the back, English full back Joel Ward has started the campaign in impressive style, and has covered 101.3km of ground, completing 466 sprints, as revealed by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He has won 87.5% of his tackles, racking up 40 clearances and 19 interceptions and will need to continue his first class form this weekend, where he will line up against Manchester United record signing Angel Di Maria.
PREDICT & WIN on sportpesa.com