Manchester United could fire themselves into Premier League title contention tonight with a win at Selhurst Park against a Crystal Palace side who have struggled to build on the early promise shown following Patrick Viera’s appointment last season. The Eagles finished just outside the top-half last season and played a nice brand of football under the Gunners legend and while they look on course for a similar kind of finish this term, a return of just 6 wins from 18 league matches is a tad underwhelming.
In fact, Palace go into tonight’s game on a three game losing run in all competitions and their 1-0 defeat against Chelsea last time out was Palace’s fourth loss to nil in their last five league games. Manchester United’s current form couldn’t be more contrasting with the Red Devils seeking a TENTH straight win in all comps this evening. United’s derby day turn around at home to Manchester City at the weekend marked the first time they’ve won 9 consecutive matches since the Alex Ferguson era, all the more reason to view Saturday’s win as a real watershed moment for Erik ten Hag.
On the pitch, United look a far more cohesive unit than in the early days under the Dutchman while off the field comments by Bruno Fernandes regarding a greater team spirit seem to back that up. Perhaps ten Hag’s greatest achievement so far as United boss is the revitalisation enjoyed by Marcus Rashford under his stewardship. It hasn’t all been hugs and kisses for the England star from his new boss, ten Hag of course dropped Rashford for sleeping in and arriving late for a team meeting ahead of their trip to Wolves but Rashford clearly heeded the warning and will tonight seek to score in an eighth consecutive game for United, something that hasn’t been achieved by a player at the club since Ruud Van Nistelrooy netted in 10 consecutive matches in 2003.
With Bar One Racing offering DOUBLE THE ODDS on First Goalscorer bets, Rashford is likely to prove very popular with punters @ 4/1 to score first tonight. Meanwhile, recent loan signing from Burnley, Wout Weghorst is eligible to make his debut and will give United a very different option up front in games where perhaps things aren’t going to plan. The big Dutch striker stunned Lionel Messi’s Argentina with two goals from the bench for Holland at the World Cup before the eventual World Cup winners progressed via the most dramatic of penalty shootouts. While things didn’t work out for Weghorst during his short time at Burnley, his subsequent form on loan with Beşiktaş in Turkey and that epic World Cup cameo display suggest with better service behind him Weghorst can make an impact at Old Trafford when called up. Weghorst is 6/4 to score anytime against Crystal Palace.
A win for Manchester United this evening would move them to within six points of leaders Arsenal who they play on Sunday in what is already shaping up to be one of the games of the season so far. Ahead of kick-off at Selhurst Park tonight, Manchester United are still available at 12/1 to win the Premier League title this season.