Match to be played on Saturday 22nd February 2014 at 17:30. Venue: Selhurst Park, London.
Manchester United will be well rested following the well earned point away at Arsenal, which was their last competitive fixture.
United have been away in Dubai but focus needs to switch back on quickly with a potential banana skin of a game against Crystal Palace this weekend, which is simply a must win.
David Moyes is missing some key players but he can still name a strong team. Here’s the side he may go with.
GK – David De Gea
The undoubted number one at Old Trafford. He’s going to be one of the first names down on the team sheet for as long as he’s at the club.
RB – Rafael
This is the sort of game Rafael could excel in. He’ll be up for getting stuck in defensively and he bombs forward whenever he can.
CB – Chris Smalling
Smalling needs to inject calm into the back four. He’ll have to cover for Rafael at times but he has the ability to contain Palace’s attack well.
CB – Nemanja Vidic
Vidic needs to provide the same sort of leadership he showed against Arsenal. He carries a presence and can intimidate Palace by getting on top of their key players early.
LB – Patrice Evra
Evra slots in on the left hand side of the defence. What he guarantees is experience and a reliable option on the left. Palace may try to exploit his lack of pace.
RM – Antonio Valencia
Pace, pace and more pace. He’s going to be a vital player if Palace build some pressure and United are forced to counter attack.
CM – Michael Carrick
Carrick is one of the best in the business when it comes to occupying space and cutting off the angles. He can make it very difficult for Palace to move the ball around in front of United’s back four.
CM – Juan Mata
Mata needs to play centrally because he’s wasted out on the right hand wing. He’s at his best in behind the main striker or strikers, looking to exploit pockets of space.
LM – Adnan Januzaj
One of the few United players who looks like he can produce something special at key times. Sides are finding ways to keep him quiet so it’s important he can reinvent himself.
ST – Wayne Rooney
Rooney will be the striker most likely to drop off into midfield. He’ll roam the gap in between Palace’s midfield and attack, looking to move possession on and allowing Mata to overlap him.
ST – Robin Van Persie
There’s been a lot of speculation over Van Persie’s future in recent weeks but this is a chance for him to show exactly what leading the United attack means to him.
image: © Tom Brogan