Manchester United host Crystal Palace this weekend and Simon Mail thinks Ralf Rangnick can make a winning start as interim manager...
"Manchester United have conceded in their last 12 league games at Old Trafford with their most recent clean sheet coming back in March."
Rangnick looking to make early impact
New Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick takes charge of his first game and the German can get off to a winning start against Crystal Palace. Rangnick is tasked with reviving United's fortunes after a dreadful run ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's tenure. One-sided defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City intensified the pressure on him and the 4-1 thrashing at Watford last month was the point of no return for Solskjaer.
Michael Carrick was placed in temporary charge of the team and the former England midfielder steadied the ship with a series of impressive results.
United secured progress in the Champions League after a 2-0 win in Villarreal and his conservative gameplan paid off last weekend with the visitors claiming a 1-1 draw at Premier League leaders Chelsea.
A 3-2 home victory over Arsenal on Thursday night, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice, was the perfect way to sign off as Carrick announced his decision to leave the club.
Palace eyeing another big win in Manchester
Crystal Palace were widely touted to be in the mix for relegation this season after Patrick Vieira succeeded Roy Hodgson as manager. But the legendary former Arsenal midfielder Vieira has made a significant impact at Selhurst Park, with the team producing much more ambitious football. Palace may have only won three times but the side have lost just four matches - one fewer than their opponents this weekend.
An impressive 3-0 victory over Tottenham in September was their first league victory of the season and the Eagles have continued to impress since this breakthrough. The signing of Conor Gallagher on loan from Chelsea has been a masterstroke with the midfielder scoring four goals and providing three assists. A 2-0 win at champions Man City in October was their outstanding result to date but Palace head to Old Trafford after successive defeats, following up a 2-1 home loss to Aston Villa with a 1-0 defeat at Leeds on Tuesday.
United are as short as 1.574/7 to mark Rangnick's first match with three points and it is no surprise the hosts have been well backed for the win. Their win over Arsenal has lifted the team and with the bounce of a new manager at Old Trafford, everything looks in place for the Red Devils to prevail.
Palace are available at 7.26/1 to pull off another upset in Manchester but enthusiasm in the visitors has waned in recent weeks. The Eagles have lost back-to-back games and this does not appear to be the best time to face a rejuvenated United under new leadership.
The draw is trading at 4.47/2 but only one of United's last 10 matches in all competitions have ended level. Palace have drawn seven games this season so this outcome has to be considered but a home win is predicted this weekend. Rather than backing an odds-on shot, preference is to look to alternative markets for a juicier price.
Although United are fancied to get the job done, their poor defensive record suggests Palace can get on the scoresheet.
The Red Devils have conceded 24 goals in 14 league matches which is the highest in the top nine of the division.
United have conceded in their last 12 league games at Old Trafford with their most recent clean sheet coming back in March. Palace will fancy their chances of breaching their opponents' leaky defence and can find the net in defeat at 23/10.
Another potential route to profit is to back Ronaldo to score in a home win. All four league victories since Ronaldo's return on the pitch in September have featured a goal from the superstar forward. A return of 12 goals in 16 matches for United on his second stint is hard to fault, for all the criticism of his lack of pressing game. Ronaldo remains the most likely match winner and simply has to be backed, in a bet builder, to net in a United win at 2.11.
United have conceded in 15 consecutive home games in all competitions, their second-longest such run, after a 21-game streak ending in 1959.
Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster
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