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United’s struggles at the sharp end when facing elite competition may have continued in their goalless stalemate with Chelsea, but they remain the Premier League’s top scorers this campaign and it would be a surprise if they couldn’t register at Selhurst Park.
The Eagles managed their second clean sheet in eight appearances last time out, but it was achieved over 18th-placed Fulham, while the other shutout came when facing low-scoring Wolves.
Even Burnley took a 3-0 win when vesting Selhurst Park recently, as the hosts are prone to the odd collapse here and there.
Palace are just W3-D9-L19 up against last season’s top-half finishers and the current top-half this term, failing to score in 15 of those defeats, while clean sheets have been extremely rare events.
They managed just two shutouts from the 31 encounters, including just one from the past 21, as they conceded 43 times from the last 18 of these.
Clashes between these two sides have typically been high-scoring affairs in recent times. Five of seven meetings since 2017/18 have seen at least three goals, as four of these games featured a minimum of four, as Palace even triumphed when they last met by a 3-1 scoreline.
However, talisman Wilfried Zaha took centre stage that day with two of Palace’s goals, but he remains sidelined by a thigh injury and it’s impossible to ignore their abysmal record in his absence.
Man United To Win To Nil
Indeed, in the last 20 games Zaha has failed to start, they’re a pitiful W2-D1-L17 as they failed to score in a massive 15 of these.
The Ivorian is by no means the only player unavailable to Roy Hodgson either, with Wayne Hennessey, Nathaniel Clyne, Nathan Ferguson, Mamadou Sakho, James Tomkins, Jeffrey Schlupp, James McArthur and Connor Wickham all injured.
Most of those wouldn’t have started in any case, but Zaha’s absence is even more worrying considering Man Utd have now recorded clean sheets in six of their past nine in all competitions.
Man Utd might only be W3-D7-L2 when facing top-half teams this term, but they’re W18-D4-L2 against bottom-half sides since Christmas 2019.
However, when taking on the latter, they’ve only triumphed by more than a single goal in three of 14 matches during the current campaign, so we may be in for a more modest scoreline.
The Red Devils have some tough fixtures coming up with their next five against Man City, Milan (twice), West Ham and Leicester, and should just keep a Palace side missing Zaha at bay once they’ve got their noses in front.