Manchester United face Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. Aside from an injury to Diogo Dalot, who’s now out until mid-September, United have the same squad to choose from that travelled to Molineux on Monday night.
United’s draw against Wolves away wasn’t a bad result or performance, if, in the end, a missed opportunity. As such, a win back at Old Trafford at the expense of Crystal Palace would represent further impetus rather than a corner turned. Drop more points with a flat showing in an easier fixture, however, and the story reads very differently.
Martial on Rashford: "At training, we have this competition between us about scoring goals. We measure who does the best finishing and who scores the most. Who's winning? Well, that depends... Sometimes it's him, sometimes it's me.” pic.twitter.com/vJgDLfMpag— Rahul Singh (@forevruntd) August 22, 2019
Difficult to foster with the modern appetite for playing one central striker, but — been a while since United have had a decent pair of strikers working together equally, hasn’t it? Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy perhaps?
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are showing signs of dovetailing well, switching positions from wide and central. Palace at home is an opportunity to cultivate the evolving ‘if one doesn’t get you, the other one will’ relationship. *two men holding hands emoji*
Minutes for the youth...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has talked up his youngsters and they will be needed at points during the season. Possibly not from the start, but Palace at home would be a good opportunity to see more of Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes et al.
...in positions of need
Alongside Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay has been below par in both games, and options are limited beyond the pair of them in central midfield.
United have more depth at no.10. Jesse Lingard, however, should be a great squad player for United rather than an average mainstay. Lingard is also less effective when United are tasked with breaking teams down, which they will have to do again against Palace. Juan Mata’s another nice option to have in the hole, more suited to unlocking stubborn defences, but only when deemed necessary.
Lingard, who contributed to United’s goal well releasing Rashford quickly enabling Rashford to do the same for Martial, was replaced by Mata with 10 minutes left to unpick Wolves. Mata didn’t offer much during the brief time given to work his magic and he’s likely to be used sparingly throughout the season.
If the academy lads fancy a stint in midfield or at no.10, they’d be more than welcome to have a bash on Saturday afternoon.
Facing his old club at Old Trafford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka will want to continue his impressive start to life at right-back for United before United inevitably break him. Wilfried Zaha will test Wan-Bissaka, unless Zaha’s instructed to gang up on Luke Shaw all game instead.