United will embark on a tricky visit to Selhurst Park in the midweek fixture and will expect fewer stumbles as the team is finally looking clicking together as a unit. Palace surely have a team to cause an upset but their biggest concern has been their inconsistency.
Here are the 3 key battles United must win when they face Palace on Wednesday.
Zlatan Ibrahimović vs Scott Dann
While United have got individual brilliance in patches from some of its players this season like Mkhitaryan, Mata and Pogba, their new recruitment up front Zlatan Ibrahimović has been a consistent scorer. The Swede has netted 8 goals in 14 appearances and looked like a threat whenever has been on the ball. He has a shot accuracy of 51% and 76% of average passing accuracy. He has to improve his defensive contributions, though.
Pardew will have his 29-year-old skipper, Scott Dann, cover the Swede. The English defender has been inconsistent this season, pretty much like his team. He has won seven tackles this season with a success rate of 39%. He has made 25 interceptions, 63 clearances and eight blocks. He wins 51% of his aerial duels and might just have the upper hand on air while marking the towering Swede.
Wilfred Zaha vs Marcos Rojo
Zaha has been a constant threat in the attacking third this season. Although he has missed his sharpness at times, his tireless runs up and down the flank have been effective for Palace.
He has scored three goals this season, creating 21 chances and seven assists. Zaha has completed 246 passes so far, this season with a pass accuracy of 79%, of which 67% were forward passes. His average passing accuracy is 79% and wins 53% of his average duels.
Rojo hasn’t been a regular in United’s defence, but he had his best performance for United against Tottenham. He should be tremendously high on confidence. However, he is likely to be pushed to the left as Valencia is serving a suspension. He has won six tackles this season with a success rate of 33%. He has made nine interceptions, 51 clearances and two blocks. He could have a really horrendous time marking Zaha, who is Palace’s man in form.
Paul Pogba vs James McArthur
Pogba had a topsy-turvy game against Tottenham. He clearly couldn’t match the terrific pace of the game and was often seen struggling to release players in the attacking third. He was unfortunate, though, when his thunderous free kick hit the bar with Lloris rooted to his position.
However, his physique gives him an advantage in winning the midfield battles. He has scored two goals this season, creating 26 chances and one assist. Pogba has completed 776 passes so far, this season with a pass accuracy of 85%, of which 76% were forward passes.
McArthur, on the hand, has been Palace’s most crucial player this season. He brilliantly balances his offensive and defensive duties and has even scored 4 and assisted thrice so far. He will undoubtedly be the most burdened player on the pitch for Palace and Pardew will expect a match-winning display from the Scotsman. He has completed 398 passes this season with a pass accuracy of 81%, of which 65% were forward passes.
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