Preview: Crystal Palace v Manchester United

Crystal Palace will be looking to move up the Premier League table when they face a resurgent Manchester United at Selhurst Park on Wednesday.

Premier League
14 December 2016
Kick-off 22:00 
Venue: Selhurst Park 

Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: S. Long, A. Holmes
Fourth official: S. Attwell

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Palace 35 6 7 22
United 35 22 7 6

Previous encounter:

Palace 1-2 Man United (AET) 16/04/16 (FA Cup final)

Palace goalscorers: J. Puncheon (78')

United goalscorers: J. Mata (81'), 110' J. Lingard (110')

Players to watch:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be a real threat for the leaking Palace defence. His sheer athleticism and physical presence upfront will pose questions for Scott Dann and Damien Delaney who struggled against Hull City last week.

The Swede has scored eight goals in his first 14 Premier League games since joining United in the off season and at the age of 35, his experience and impressive hold up play have been key, for the likes of Paul Pogba and the rest of United midfield to get more involved in the game.

Former Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha has been involved in seven goals in his last seven league appearances with two goals and five assists.

However, the reason why he failed to command a regular place at The Red Devils is the reason he remains at Palace.

A promising career marred by inconsistency but when the 24-year-old decides to come to the party, he can be unplayable. Highlighted with his spectacular strike against the Tigers on Saturday and his scintillating dribbling abilities.

Should be an interesting battle between the former United man and Matteo Darmian at left-back.

Team form and manager quotes:

The last time the Eagles beat United in the league was a 3-0 victory at Selhurst Park in May 1991.

Crystal Palace have taken four points from their last two games after ending a run of six successive league defeats.

Alan Pardew admits his side have been poor defensively but feels the rest of the team have to take responsibility if they are to stop the leak, that has seen them concede 29 goals in 15 games.

"The defenders I'm playing are those who have been here two or three years. Sometimes it's about confidence and a bit of luck here and there," Pardew said.

"Defending is a team duty. Everyone has a responsibility to defend, even the substitutes. That's something we want to improve on.

"Sometimes our substitutes haven't shored us up as well as they should have."

Manchester United are unbeaten in six league matches and have only lost one of their last 10.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has praised his sides defence who kept a clean sheet against Tottenham on Sunday in their 1-0 win.

Due to injuries to Eric Bailey and Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have struck an impressive partnership.

"They're playing well, they're playing more than ever and better than ever, and now we have a third central defender to rotate," he told reporters.

"We gave a rest to Jones in Ukraine and now he played against Tottenham free of injury or tiredness; we now have a third central defender in (Eric) Bailly.

"Until the end of the year, hopefully we can manage with those three in the two positions."

Team news:

Jason Puncheon is serving a one-match suspension, which could see Yohan Cabaye return to the midfield.

Defender James Tomkins and midfielder Bakary Sako remain on the sidelines because of knocks.

Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is expected to be out until Boxing Day with an ankle injury while right-back Antonio Valencia is suspended after picking up his fifth domestic booking of the season.

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