The Premier League is really ramping up now as we head into a chaotic winter period. There’s bound to be a whole lot of uncertainty at the top and bottom of the table between now and the new year and that’s especially true for the two clubs we’re taking a look at today – Manchester United and Crystal Palace.
United are now under new management with Ralf Rangnick taking charge as interim boss between now and the end of the season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is officially gone and in his place, Rangnick is coming through the door in an attempt to steady the ship – which is an understatement. Crystal Palace, meanwhile, have Patrick Vieira, a man who wants to shake things up at Selhurst Park.
It should come as little surprise for folks to learn that the favourites to win this game are Manchester United with odds of 6/10 via William Hill. It’s the beginning of a new era, they’re on a nice run of form and they have the kind of attacking quality in their ranks that would strike fear into the heart of any team.
Crystal Palace are the 5/1 underdogs with Betfair and that feels like a pretty good spot for them, all things considered. They started off like a house on fire with an entirely new operation in place following Roy Hodgson’s departure, and it’ll be fascinating to see where this next chapter takes them.
The first goalscorer is tipped to be Cristiano Ronaldo at 5/2 with Betfred which many would argue is easy money, given how prolific he’s been since turning to Manchester United. He’s the sort of “one of a kind” footballer and goalscorer that can turn anything into a big moment, and we expect to see him showcase that at the Theatre of Dreams over the weekend.
With regards to our own official prediction, we’re going to go with 2-1 Manchester United in a game that’s really going to push them to their limit. They’re used to scratching and clawing for wins and defensively speaking, they simply are not as sound as they need to be.
They’ve allowed too many goals to fly in during the campaign and Ralf Rangnick isn’t going to be able to fix that overnight. He needs to be given weeks to even come close to putting them back on the straight and narrow, which is why the “we’re gonna score more than you” strategy is the correct route forward for the time being.
Is this the kind of result that’ll give us confidence in United’s ability to break into the top four? In short, probably not. They still need to grind away and really graft in training but beating Palace is no easy feat, even if they’re vulnerable right now.
The best thing we can hope for here is entertainment and if we don’t get that, we’d be a little bit stunned. United are going to string together some nice passages whereas Palace will let the hosts know that they’re there, meaning this will probably come down to the wire.