Manchester United had a tough weekend. Draw against Liverpool stayed in the shadow, amidst numerous injuries. Four players got injured in the space of 24 hours and now the match against Crystal Palace looks much trickier than it could have been. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke on Tuesday about the issues and how he plans to manage them, as several youngsters could get their chance on Wednesday night.
In the meantime, we will be talking about the next opponent and things worth knowing regarding Roy Hodgson’s team.
Open Play Goals At Just 61%
Crystal Palace have scored just 61 percent of all their goals from open play. That in itself does not tell as much as the fact that they scored just 19 open play goals. Things would not sound as bad if they scored dozen of set-piece goals, but instead, they rely on penalties way too much. They have seven goals scored from the spot, which puts them on top of the league alongside Man United.
Luka Milivojevic Is Their Best Goalscorer And That Is A Problem
That is why Luka Milivojevic is their best goalscorer. He scored eight goals this season (seven from the spot) and is also their best Premier League goalscorer since 31 January 2017, the day he joined Palace. Serbian midfielder has 20 goals to his name, 15 of them from penalties. Which is not a problem for him, but is an indication of Palace relying on penalties too much. It is good for them that they keep coming, but their struggles in open play are even starker when compared to the number of penalties they score. That can put them in a real problem long-term.
Wilfried Zaha Is Second Most Fouled Player For A Reason
Wilfried Zaha is the reason why Palace get so many penalties, or at least he is part of the answer. The Ivorian is pacey, a great dribbler and defences have troubles stopping him. That is also amongst the best reasons why he is the second most fouled player in the league. The only player ahead of him in this category is another pacey, great dribbler – Eden Hazard.
Zaha is a player United will be paying attention to the most, as he loves being on the left flank and cutting in.
Palace Play Without A Proper Striker
Another important thing is that Hodgson often plays in a 4-4-2 formation without a real out-and-out striker. When Zaha and Andros Townsend fill those positions, they use players with different sets of skills, but neither of them are amazing finishers. With Christian Benteke being far from the starting XI, it is easy to get a sense why Palace struggle with scoring goals from open play.
They Are In Decent Form Since Mid-December
Palace are unbeaten in their last four matches, winning two and drawing twice as well. They beat Leicester and Fulham and drew against Southampton and West Ham. It is a decent run against teams from the lower echelons of the league, but stretching back to 15 December 2018, they did not do too bad. They lost to Chelsea and Liverpool, but won against Man City, Leicester again and Wolves.