Preview: Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho looks set to hand a couple of academy graduates their league debuts for Sunday’s final match of the season against Crystal Palace.

Premier League
Date: 21 May 2017
Match Day 38
Kick-off: 16:00
Venue: Old Tafford

Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistants: G Beswick, M Perry
Fourth official: M Jones

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
United 36 23 7 6
Palace 36 6 7 23

Previous encounter:

Palace 1-2 Man United 14/12/16 (Premier League)

Palace goalscorers: J. McArthur (66′)
Man United goalscorers: P. Pogba (42′), Z. Ibrahimović (88′)

Players to watch:

With no real indication of who will start for the home side, besides Paul Pogba – the Frenchman will want to put on a show ahead of his first European final with United.

Pogba’s return to full fitness will no doubt be crucial for their chances, as they look towards the back door entrance into next season’s Champions League.

Former Red Devil Wilfried Zaha was talked about in mid-week by Mourinho, who pleaded with the Ivory Coast international to ‘take it easy’ on the kids.

Since leaving Old Trafford, the 24-year-old has become a one of the leading Premier League wingers and his return of seven goals this season makes him one to look out for.

Team form and manager quotes:

Jose Mourinho has chosen to field weakened sides in the run-up towards the Europa League final and the Red Devils have yet to register a victory in four games since his decision.

“For the kids it will be a great experience to play in the Premier League in the last match of the season,” he told reporters.

“It will be a big occasion but I think the best [scenario] for a young player is in the middle of an experienced structure, where he can be supported.

“We have tried to bring the guys who are more adapted to playing at this level at the moment. Lots of them [starting] together, no.”

Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce admits his squad will still face a massive challenge whatever team they face at the theatre of Dreams and will be keen to finish as high as possible – with 11th place up for grabs.

“Whether Jose plays a weakened side or not, it will always be a difficult task because the younger players at Manchester United are definitely very talented,” Allardyce said.

“The higher you can finish in the league, the bigger and better the prize money, so if we can get a result at Old Trafford then that will be fantastic.

“The club should be interested in the money because it gives us a bigger budget. But the players shouldn’t be interested in the money until they’ve won.”

Team news:

Academy goalkeeper Joel Pereira is expected to be given his Premier League debut while Demitri Mitchell, Angel Gomes, Josh Harrop and Scott McTominay could also feature.

Marouane Fellaini and Chris Smalling have minor injuries and may be rested.

James Tomkins should be fit for Palace after an ankle problem but Andros Townsend is ruled out with an Achilles injury.

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