'This is a hard game for Manchester United,' said former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson, who believes the presence of a 12th man may boost Crystal Palace's playing-level while encumbering the visiting side at Selhurst Park, tomorrow, Saturday.
Palace have not once beaten United in the league, a feat that Merson believes will still be in tact after this weekend as he predicts a 1-1 draw, adding to the two tied games these two teams have previously recorded, against nine prior wins for the reigning Premier League champions.
Comparing the reception in South London to the one he experienced for a season on the south coast in 2002-03, Merson continued: 'Crystal Palace is a hard place to go and their fans have been outstanding this season. I was lucky enough to play in front of Portsmouth fans, but this lot are up there with them at the moment.'
The Sky Sports pundit, writing his preview for their website, stated that Palace have an opportunity to scalp a significant opponent. United have only won six of their 13 away trips in the league, while both clubs have accumulated a similar points haul since Tony Pulis took charge of the Eagles.
Pulis began his tenure on November 30 and have hauled in 19 points, just two shy of United's tally - 21, yet have a game in hand over the side bossed by David Moyes.
Also, there is a concern over the present fitness of Robin van Persie, as Merson doubts the Dutchman's ability to play twice in four days.
'If there's ever a chance of them beating Man United at home then this is it,' he said.
'United aren't pulling up any trees and they have a big game in Greece on Tuesday night - plus I'm not sure if Robin van Persie can play twice in four days with all the travelling. You wonder if David Moyes will play his best players and so I think this will be a draw.'
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