Scouting Manchester United’s Opponents: Crystal Palace

Manchester United are back from the international break and will play their first Premier League match in two weeks. After a comfortable 3-1 loss against Man City, the Devils will now be in need to get back to the winning ways and the match against Crystal Palace could be the ideal opportunity for that.

So, what should Man United fans expect from the next opponent? Crystal Palace currently sit in 16th place with eight points in 12 matches. Only two wins so far this season for them mean that Man United’s chances for a comfortable win are good. However, there are some things teams playing against Palace should be aware of.

Unlucky In Attack, Zaha Is A Constant Threat

One thing everyone could easily notice is that Palace are not scoring goals all that often. There is only one team in the league who have scored less than them, and that is Huddersfield (6). The Eagles are currently at eight goals scored, but their expected goals suggest they are a bit unlucky, because it stands at 12.87 xG. Although, last season was a similar story and it could partly be down to having players like Christian Benteke who are appalling in finishing and also Andros Townsend, who takes a huge number of low quality shots.

Still, when we talk about Palace, it is impossible not to talk about Wilfried Zaha. Former Man United man is their best player and could very well be the best Premier League player playing for a non-top 6 club. Zaha scored three and assisted one more this season, meaning he has been involved in precisely a half of Crystal Palace’s goals in Premier League. His 1.3 key passes per 90 are pretty good having in mind the club he is playing for and also having in mind he is now more often playing as centre forward.

On the other hand, Zaha is usually tough to contain, as his skills set is very interesting. Zaha is pacey and great with the ball and this season he is making 2.9 successful dribbles per 90. And that truly is amazing number.

A Coherent Unit

On the other hand, Crystal Palace are defensively sound. Sure, they conceded 17 goals this season, but there are eight other sides with a worse defence. The attack is what makes all the problems for them and also, let’s not forget Man United have conceded 21 goals so far. One of the players that deserves a lot of praise this season is Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the 20-year old right-back.

He has been one of the their most consistent players this campaign and a proper revelation. Crystal Palace’s 4-4-2 works quite well for him and his awareness on the pitch makes him a well-rounded modern defender.

Palace have not won a match since 15 September and since then they have played seven matches, winning just two points in the process. Their loss to Tottenham was a scrappy one, but they did earn a 2-2 draw against Arsenal, feeling even unlucky for not beating them. A match against Man United will be an incredibly important one for them and could change their season completely.

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