Coming off a ten day rest, the Red Devils will try to pick up the pieces of an immensely disappointing season, by their high standards. With a somewhat disappointing draw at the Emirates, it seems that Mr. Moyes is still trying to figure out his best starting eleven. More importantly, Moyes is struggling to find the ideal formation and tactics for what, “on paper”, is a far from mid table squad.
Reports from Carrington Training Complex are that the team is almost completely fit. Mata, RVP and Wayne Rooney have all been said to be focused and training hard with Marouane Fellaini also in training and close to 100%. Crystal Palace is also boasting and almost fully fit squad ahead of Saturday’s clash, with the recent boost of striker Glenn Murray recently returning from a 10 month stint on the sideline with cruciate ligament damage. Look for him to play some part in Saturday’s action. Jerome Thomas is Palace’s only main injury concern with a recent back strain.
Keys to Victory
Eleven points off a Champions league spot, 3 points are a must for United with only twelve games left in the season. They must prepare to defend well against set pieces, which have been an Achilles heel for them so far this season. Crystal Palace are very successful at set pieces and have scored the highest proportion of goals from set-piece situations (44%) this season according to eurosport.com. The team is also looking rejuvenated under manager Tony Pulis who took over in November last year.
With a fully fit squad, Moyes must put his big guns to the test; he must find some way to incorporate his best players on the pitch at the same time. With Mata and Rooney fit and in the lineup, there should be no reason for the team to continue their predictable attack down the flanks as they did with Fulham.
It’s time for Moyes to be bold and put his most dynamic players on the field. Let us look for a 4-2-3-1 with Dagea in goal, Evra, Vidic, Smalling and Rafael in the defense. Fletcher and Carrick at holding midfield is important as they are disciplined enough to sit behind the play when the wingbacks overlap. Januzaj left, Rooney Central and Mata on the right with RVP striking. If such a talented and dynamic squad has a problem beating Crystal Palace, it might be time for a serious look on our Manager, staff and players as we cannot continue on this disastrous path.
Players to watch
United has a plethora of talent going forward, I am looking for breakout games from Mata and Januzaj. For Palace, United must keep an eye on the always eluding Marouane Chamakh and very skillful Dwight Gayle.