Manchester United v Crystal Palace
United in ominous form this season
Manchester United are in relentless form and keeping pace with joint leaders Man City in the early stages of this season. Jose Mourinho's side are unbeaten and their only dropped points came in a 2-2 draw at Stoke City. United come into this weekend's game off the back of five successive wins in all competitions. The latest victory came on Wednesday in a convincing 4-1 win at CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.
The signing of Romelu Lukaku has made a huge impact already with the former Everton striker scoring ten goals in nine games for United. Two of those came in Russia and the Belgium international has netted in his last five appearances for the club. But their defensive strength, backed up by outstanding goalkeeper David de Gea, has also been a significant part of their recent success with six clean sheets already during this campaign.
Hodgson needs miracle to get Palace out of trouble
It has been a disastrous start to the season for Crystal Palace with the Eagles already onto their second boss after the dismissal of Frank de Boer. His replacement, Roy Hodgson, has a huge task on his hands to guide the team to safety after Palace's run of six successive league defeats. The team are also without a goal in the competition and there have been no signs of optimism in the camp.
Hodgson's first league game was a 1-0 defeat at home to Southampton and Palace were hammered 5-0 at Man City last weekend despite keeping the scoreline level until the 44th minute. The loss of Christian Benteke only adds to their problems with the striker facing six weeks out due to a knee injury. The return of attacker Wilfried Zaha cannot come soon enough, although he will not be back until after the international break following this weekend's trip to Old Trafford.
Impossible to make a case for visitors
This looks a complete mismatch and it is no surprise to see United 1.182/11 favourites for victory. No-one can complain about this price which looks more than fair with United winning ten consecutive top-flight games at home to Palace. Everything points to a home win but obviously their odds are only worth adding to an accumulator so we will have to look elsewhere to back Mourinho's men.
If you like long shots, then look no further than Palace. But there is no logical explanation to justify backing them even at odds of 23.022/1. The visitors have never beaten United in 16 previous Premier League clashes and could not be coming in to this with worse form. The Eagles have offered no signs of promise and it is hard enough seeing them score a first goal let alone pulling off a monumental upset.
Pointless Palace would gladly take a draw but there is absolutely no temptation to back this outcome at 8.415/2. It is almost impossible to make a case for a stalemate with the quality of United bound to prove too much for the visitors. Only one of their last ten clashes has ended in a draw and this came at Selhurst Park. A home win is the only plausible result this weekend, but to find any semblance of value alternative markets must be targeted.
Expect United to take control in the second half
Palace's resistance only lasted one half before being blown away by City and it may be a similar story this weekend. United's second-half form this season is excellent with the side winning each home league game after the break by at least two goals. Eight of United's 17 league goals have arrived in the final ten minutes of matches so there is every chance of more late goals against Palace. It looks well worth backing the hosts to cover a one-goal handicap in the second half at appealing odds of 6/4 (Betfair Sportsbook).
The Eagles are the only team in Europe's 'big five' leagues yet to score a goal in league competition this season. Palace are as short as 11/8 (Betfair Sportsbook) to end this run by finding the net at Old Trafford this weekend.
Mike Dean has taken charge of four games this season sending off Raheem Sterling controversially after his goal celebration at the end of Man City's win at Bournemouth. Dean handed out five red cards in 36 games during the last campaign.
Back Manchester United -1 to win second half handicap @ 6/4 (Sportsbook)
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