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There are very few people who expect Manchester United to be playing Champions League football next season, with the champions of England having suffered an almighty fall from grace this term under David Moyes.
42 points from 26 games played is an unexpectedly low return from a team that won the title at a canter last season and it’s a surprise that the bookies aren’t offering bigger odds about the away win than a best price 8/13.
Paddy Power online are among the bookies quoting these odds although it’s hard to have confidence in a side who lost their last away match at the Britannia Stadium and will be subjected to similar tactics from a Crystal Palace side coursing with belief that they can remain in the top flight.
Perhaps some warm weather training will have benefitted Manchester United who will look to reel off a series of victories in a desperate bid to be dining at the top table of European football and Wayne Rooney will be looking to demonstrate why he’s about to become the best-paid player in England.
Rooney is a 9/2 chance with Sky Bet to break the deadlock in this match although the striker has failed to find the net in his last five matches and Robin van Persie rates as a far better prospect at 4/1.
Nevertheless, Palace will not approach this game with a defensive mind-set considering their opponents’ woes this season and a win would elevate them clear of the bottom three in the table.
The Eagles have avoided defeat in eight of their thirteen matches at Selhurst Park this term and only Newcastle have beaten them on their own patch since Pulis took charge, with Palace looking for a fourth consecutive victory on home soil.
Sky Bet go 11/2 about a home win on Saturday evening in front of the Sky cameras and it looks a generous price based on the latest form guide, while the 3/1 about the game ending all square can also be entertained.
The same bookie offer 4/1 about Palace on the Draw No Bet market and it’s easy to imagine a hard-fought 1-0 victory for the London side who have the sort of team spirit which is in stark contrast to the disarray at United, with Rooney off colour and the defence leaking goals on a regular basis.
Thomas Ince will line up against his father’s former club and can be backed at a mammoth 18/1 to score the first of this game as he did against West Brom recently, while that winning 1-0 scoreline is available at 15/1.
PREDICTION: Crystal Palace 1 Manchester United 0