Man Utd will look to get back to winning ways when they take on Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Unlike their big rivals, United had the luxury of a midweek rest with no European football on the agenda. The time would have no doubt being spent analysing their performance against Manchester City.
The club lost their fourth successive game to their city rivals last Sunday, the first time that scenario had occurred since 1970. The result left the club 10th in the table some 16 points off the leaders, Chelsea with just 10 games played.
It also ensured that Louis Van Gaal’s rein, whilst not in danger, was certainly up for discussion. The experienced manager, renowned for his slow starts with clubs, has so far failed to gel as a unit this season and have already lost three times this season.
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While on the attacking front United have plenty of option with Angel Di Maria, arguably the club’s best performer this season, Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Robin van Persie all showing their wares at various points of the season, the club defence has proved problematic.
The club will be without Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, the injured Marcos Rojo and the suspended Chris Smalling this weekend meaning they have had to rely on their pool of youngsters. They could also turn to Michael Carrick as a makeshift solution with the midfielder admitting he is happy to move around to aid the club.
“If I need to play there then fine I have not had a lot of football recently so I will play anywhere,” said Carrick. “It’s not somewhere I have played an awful lot of games.
“I have had spells of playing there over the years, playing two or three or four games in a season.
“But I don’t mind. I will play anywhere.”
Palace meanwhile lost 3-1 at home to Sunderland last time out, a result that left them level on points with third from bottom, Leicester. The loss was further compounded by the dismissal of captain Mile Jedinak for two yellow cards.
The Australian international will miss the trip to Old Trafford as a result. So too will Wilfried Zaha as a result of the loan agreement between the two clubs. Jason Puncheon would appear the most likely replacement for Zaha while James McArthur or Barry Bannan could come in for Jedinak.