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Crystal Palace v Man Utd: Visitors to edge Selhurst Park showdown

Manchester United will be looking to thrust themselves further into the Premier League title race when they make the trip to Selhurst Park on Wednesday to take on Crystal Palace.

The Red Devils extended their winning streak to an impressive nine matches across all competitions following Saturday's 2-1 derby victory over rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford, a result that has put the 20-time English champions into the title picture.

Erik ten Hag's side sit fourth in the standings ahead of the trip to South London and they know a victory would see them jump into second position, as they are only behind third-place Newcastle on goal difference and are within a point of the Citizens in second.

Opponents Palace are being sucked into the relegation battle after losing four of their last five league games and the last thing they needed was a visit from United, who are 12/1 To Win Outright the Premier League 2022/23.

This will be the first of two meetings in quick succession for the pair, as they are also set to meet at Old Trafford on 4th February.

WhatCrystal Palace v Manchester United
WhereSelhurst Park, South London
When20:00, Wednesday 18th January
How to watchSky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Premier League
OddsCrystal Palace 7/2, Draw 11/4, Man Utd 4/5

Patience has paid off

Old Trafford was an unhappy place at the beginning of the campaign, with a 2-1 opening-day loss to Brighton at the Theatre of Dreams followed by a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Brentford.

Those two defeats already had ten Hag under pressure in his maiden season in charge, although he eased the burden with four straight victories including triumphs over Liverpool and Arsenal.

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However, a defeat to Real Sociedad in the Europa League and a 6-3 thrashing from Manchester City in the Premier League once again put the spotlight on the Dutch tactician, who was having to deal with constant questions over the future of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fast forward to the present day and the Portugal international is no longer a United player, while the club are now within nine points of table-toppers Arsenal and have to be considered as genuine title contenders this season.

Ten Hag has done superbly well to block out the noise when things were not going his way and three points at Palace on Wednesday would make it 10 straight victories across all competitions.

Revitalised Rashford in red-hot form

England international Marcus Rashford has looked like a man possessed since returning from the World Cup in Qatar and his superb form in front of goal has been a major factor in United’s run of victories.

The 25-year-old netted his eighth goal from his last seven appearances across all competitions in the derby win at the weekend and this purple patch of form isn't showing any signs of stopping at the moment.

With this already being United's fifth game in January, ten Hag will be banking on the younger legs in the squad to really come to the fore and Rashford certainly falls into this category.

A surprising fact, perhaps, is the forward's poor scoring record against the Eagles, with only one strike recorded in his previous 12 appearances. However, he is going up against a Palace side that have kept just one clean sheet from their last six assignments across all competitions and odds of 9/4 in the Anytime Goalscorer market are very appealing.

Eagles lacking cutting edge

Palace's dip in form can be attributed to their lack of goals, as they have only managed to score two goals from their last five league outings - both of those coming in the 2-0 win over Bournemouth.

Four defeats from their last five top-flight games makes for bad reading, but it's even worse when you consider one of these losses came against a Nottingham Forest side that have shipped 34 goals this term.

Patrick Vieira has seen his side suffer 3-0 and 4-0 defeats in the last two home matches in the league, although they did at least find the back of the net in a 2-1 defeat to Southampton in the FA Cup third round.

Palace really need talisman and top scorer Wilfried Zaha to find his shooting boots - he hasn't scored since 6th November - but the fact he is playing against his former employers may provide that extra incentive and he is 3/1 in the Anytime Goalscorer market.

Fatigue to play a part

As mentioned earlier, this is United's fifth game of 2023, while it will be Palace's fourth outing of the year but their second in the space of four days.

The busy fixture schedule could affect the quality of the contest at Selhurst Park, while the fact the Red Devils haven't really dominated teams on the road could also mean this will be a tight affair.

All of United's five away league victories this term have been by a one-goal margin, and it is 11/4 for a One Goal Winning Margin to land for the visitors for the sixth time.

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