Friday 18 September 2020

Man Utd vs Crystal Palace Predicted XI: de Beek debut for Solskjaer's United

 Manchester United begin their season at home to Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace on Saturday teatime with much the same side as they ended 2019-20. 

Dean Henderson has returned from Sheffield United and Donny van de Beek has signed from Ajax, with both in line to feature against the Eagles.

Here is how we think Solskjaer will send us out for 2020/21's big kick off.

GK - David de Gea

Despite the arrival of Henderson, we expect Solskjaer to keep faith with his first choice in goal. He refused to confirm which one of his keepers will start, but he likes De Gea and, for the moment, there's no reason to make a change between the sticks. I expect DDG to start on Saturday

RB - Aaron Wan - Bissaka

Missed the friendly at Villa having had to complete coronavirus quarantine after a break in Dubai but will start against his former side. Had a brilliant debut season at Old Trafford but faded towards the end of it, being partly at fault for the Sevilla winner and forgetting how to cross! United's only out and out right-back with Diogo Dalot set for a move away

CB - Harry Maguire

Quite the summer for United's still-captain. Maguire needs to put the incident in Greece behind him, he's innocent until proven guilty in a proper court. Solskjaer did the right thing by keeping faith with the man who he's kept as captain, and there is no doubts over H Mag's participation in this one. A decent and solid first campaign at United for Maguire, he starts whenever fitness allows.

CB - Victor Lindelof

For all the talk of Gabriel and Dayot Upamecano, Lindelof - alongside Maguire - formed a grit and guile partnership with his captain and barely put a foot wrong (the aberration against Sevilla aside). There's nothing to suggest the Iceman won't play against Palace with Timothy Fosu - Mensah and/or Eric Bailly likely to come in for the trip to Luton in midweek. He and Maguire had the joint second best defensive record in the division last term. 

LB - Luke Shaw

A major boost to have this man fit again. For all Brandon Williams' impressive breakthrough last term, we really missed Shaw through injury at the back end of last term. He links the attack with defence, gets forward well and was one of the main reasons behind the much improved form of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. It will be good to have him back. He will have his hands full against the pace and trickery of Palace's star man Wilf Zaha. 

CDM - Paul Pogba

Fit and firing again after testing positive for Covid-19, Pogba is likely against Palace. A key man in United's post-restart resurgence, Pogba will stay at United and will be tasked with starting and creating attacks from deep. The World Cup winner should be fully recovered from the rona, having quarantined and followed the guidance. If he isn't, one of Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay and Fred will come in bur we think Pogba will be ready to continue where he left off.  

CDM - Donny van de Beek

United's only summer buy (so far) will slot straight in alongside Pogba for his debut. There has been a lot of talk about where van de Beek will fit in, but we expect the Dutchman to fill a high pressing, box to box role in the team. If we need to go more defensive you can put Nemanja Matic in a diamond but van de Beek starts this one. 

RW - Mason Greenwood

Another United player to have dabbled in controversy, but Solskjaer is backing his man, speaking out for him and defending a young player. Having quarantined in line with guidance relating to his breach of Covid-19 rules, Greenwood has trained away from the main squad and will play against Palace. Whether he's merely keeping his right wing role warm and oven ready for Jadon Sancho, we're not sure, but in the meantime there's no reason not to take Greenwood out of the team.

CAM - Bruno Fernandes

United's Player of the Season begins his first full season at Old Trafford and we cannot wait. The Portuguese magnifico was the catalyst for the Reds late season run to third spot and imagine where we'd be if we'd got him last year. The January signing contributed to 23 goals in 22 appearances and didn't deserve to finish the campaign empty handed. There was talk that Fernandes may miss this game due to being in Portugal for the birth of his child, but its thought he arrived back in the UK in time to avoid 14 day self isolation. String puller extraordinaire. Magnifico. 

LW - Marcus Rashford

Goal of the Season winner, philanthropist and all-round decent lad, Rashford - fresh from his best ever United season - will again be tasked with running the game from the left. Rashford struggled after the restart but will profit from the return of Luke Shaw and will look to hit the ground running having made this spot his own. 

ST - Anthony Martial

Deservedly picked up the Player of the Year gong from his peers after a best ever season in Red. Martial would have got 30 if not for injury and will look to continue his red hot form into this campaign. So often the scourge of Palace, Martial gets the nod to lead the line. Odion Ighalo is likely to play versus Luton so that leaves Martial to take centre stage and looking to improve his fine record against the Eagles. 

 Prediction: United have a strong record on opening day and we think that will continue again against an obdurate if limited Eagles side. Beware of Wilfried Zaha. United 2-1 Crystal Palace. 

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