Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, centre, and Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante challenge for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge Stadium in London, England, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. (Andy Rain/Pool via AP)
- Second-placed Man Utd travel to struggling Crystal Palace on Wednesday, March 3, KO 3:15 pm
- United are second in the EPL, but are a mighty 12 points behind leaders Manchester City
- We list the odds and some stats, preview the game and offer our best picks
Manchester United’s goalless draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday opened up a massive 12-point gap between them, in second, and leaders Manchester City. On Wednesday, they’ll travel to Selhurst Park, South London, to play Crystal Palace who, themselves, need points to steer clear of the drop zone. This Crystal Palace vs Manchester United match kicks off at 3:15 pm EST.
With just 12 games to go, it is almost impossible to see City dropping points at an average of more than one per game, so it is game over as far as the title is concerned but United still needs to guarantee themselves Champions League soccer next season.
Read on to see the odds and our best bet for this Premier League match.
Crystal Palace vs Manchester United Odds
|Crystal Palace vs Manchester United||PAL +1 (+118) | MAN -1 (-143)||PAL +700| DRAW +350 | MAN -325||Ov 3.5 (+195) | Un 3.5 (-250)|
All odds taken Mar 2 at DraftKings
Palace’s September Success at Old Trafford
While United starts this one as favorites, it is important to remember that when these two met at Old Trafford back in September, in the opening weeks of the campaign. There, Palace won 3-1, thanks to a brace from Wilfried Zaha and another from Andros Townsend. The south Londoners’ shock win was not the only odd result in the opening weeks but since then the fortunes of both teams have headed in opposite directions.
— Wilfried Zaha (@wilfriedzaha) February 23, 2021
Now, the two are separated by 17 points with United having ridden out an early-season rough patch to emerge from the pack as City’s closest challengers. While for Palace it is very much a case of maintaining the gap between themselves and the bottom three, and not allowing themselves to be dragged into the relegation scrap.
Goalless Against the Big Six
United come into this one off the back of the goalless draw at Stamford Bridge; their fifth 0-0 of the season with each of those games being against so-called Big Six opponents – Chelsea (twice), Man City, Arsenal, and Liverpool – but have fared better against sides in the bottom half of the table.
💬 “We know what the players are capable of,” adds the boss.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 2, 2021
Solskjaer’s men stayed second as a result of the draw in west London, but of more interest to them now is the six-point cushion between them and Chelsea in fifth place. The battle for the three remaining Champions League places is boiling down to a six-way battle. With the second Manchester derby of the season up next, United will not want to slip up at Selhurst and everything points to an away win.
Crystal Palace vs Manchester United Head-to-Head Stats
|26||EPL Games played||26|
|0.9||Expected goals (xG) scored||1.8|
|1.69||Expected goals (xGA) conceded||1.31|
Pivotal Spell for United
In fact, United’s next five games may well be pivotal in their season, with the Palace and Man City games being followed by a double-header against AC Milan in the Europa League round-of-16 and games against fellow Champions League chasers, West Ham, and Leicester.
In United’s favor on Wednesday is a fine recent record when visiting the capital – they are unbeaten in their last seven visits there – and some equally impressive away form in general; the last time they were beaten on their travels was 21 games ago, a run that stretches back over a year. United have also never lost away at Palace in the 11 times they have played there in the Premier League – a competition that dates back to 1992.
A 𝙘𝙧𝙪𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙡 touch from the Iceman 🧊
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 28, 2021
No Zaha, No Goals for Palace
Palace has little by the way of positive stats to point to other than that famous 3-1 win back in September, and doubly troubling for the Eagles is the fact their talisman, Wilfried Zaha, looks certain to miss the United game. Zaha was also absent at the weekend when Palace drew 0-0 at home against relegation strugglers Fulham. Manager Roy Hodgson expressed doubts after the game of Zaha’s availability for the visit of the Red Devils.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) February 28, 2021
Crystal Palace vs Manchester United Best Bet
The problem for Palace is that no Zaha often signals no goals and therefore no points, so reliant are they on the Ivorian, and this will be a huge concern for them and for Hodgson. Palace had just 33 shots from their five EPL games in February – the lowest by a team in a single EPL month since this stat was first recorded – and so to get anything from this game is a huge ask.
Hodgson will set Palace up to defend deep and hope to catch United on the break but for how long can they keep Solskjaer’s rich array of attacking talent at bay is the big question. I can see no way past a United win but it will not be the avalanche some are predicting and it may just take a single United goal to decide it.
Pick: United to win 1-0 (+600)
Once just a sports fanatic, fan-turned-writer Gary Gowers has been featured on European television and radio networks to discuss several professional football clubs. His work can be found in an assortment of publications like The Metro, MyFootballWriter.com, and BBC Radio Norfolk.