Football News: Premier League Match Preview Monday 5th March 2018


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Premier League Match Preview Monday 5th March 2018
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Monday 5th March 2018

Crystal Palace v Manchester United 8pm kick off

Tomkins (cramp) slight doubt
Cabaye (adductor strain expected return 10th March) major doubt
Ward (muscle injury expected return 10th March) major doubt
M Sakho (calf strain) out
Zaha (knee injury expected return 10th March) out
Kelly (hamstring injury) slight doubt
Speroni (knee injury expected return 7th April) out
B Sako (broken ankle expected return 18th August) out
Schlupp (MCL injury) slight doubt
Dann (ACL injury) out
Puncheon (PCL tear) out
Loftus-Cheek (ankle injury) doubt
Wickham (ACL injury expected return 21st April) out
Fosu-Mensah (unable to play against parent club) out

Due to a run of 5 games without a win, Palace have slipped back into the relegation zone before kick off. Anything less than a win in this game leaves them still there, facing up the reality that, for all the talk of Roy Hodgson working wonders, they are simply wholly reliant on Wilfried Zaha. Whenever he goes out injured they struggle badly and their form improves the moment he returns to the team. It does beg the question, has Hodgson actually made any difference at all there? Was he just lucky to get Zaha back to fitness? In fact, I would question Hodgson's influence in the issue of injuries, as the Eagles struggles can be placed at the hands of injuries in general, but they are, in quite a large proportion, down to soft tissue injuries. It is no wonder Chelsea want to take charge of Ruben Loftus-Cheek's recuperation, as so many of the injury problems seem self-inflicted by players lacking the basic fitness required for an arduous season.
Most important player: Alexander Sorloth. The Norwegian striker has been asked to do a job wide on the left and has been surprisingly decent at it, despite the role not really suiting his skillset.

Herrera (hamstring injury) out
Rojo (knock expected return 10th March) out
Jones (knock) out
Fellaini (MCL injury expected return 31st March) out
Blind (ankle injury) out
Ibrahimovic (knee injury) out

Man Utd have been a bit hit and miss in recent weeks, 2 wins and 2 defeats in their last four matches as their season threatens to fizzle out. The arrogance and control they showed in the early season, as they won 6 of the first 7 games, drawing the other and winning by a 4-0 scoreline 4 times in those games, seemed to vanish, along with their momentum, when Jose Mourinho decided to play for a draw at Anfield. While he got the 0-0 scoreline he clearly wanted, it seemed to take the wind out of the sails of his own team, who had gone into the game absolutely flying, while Liverpool were struggling at the time. Since then, they have been grinding out results, rather than overpowering opponents routinely. With both Liverpool and Spurs in fine form right now, Mourinho has to revitalise his flagging team or face the possibility of losing second place as the season moves to a conclusion.
Most important player: Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean forward has yet to find his feet at the Red Devils. So far he has looked a very good replacement for Henrikh Mkhitaryan only in so far as he is playing as badly as the Armenian did.

Defining Battle: two teams that like to be solid and compact, hitting opponents on the break. Both have huge amounts of pressure on their shoulders, for entirely different reasons. The big battle will be in dealing with the expectations which are huge for both sides. Is the pressure of relegation more than the pressure of fighting for second place?

Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 0-4
Ed003 - 0-2
Ed004 - 1-2
Ed007 - 0-2
Ed018 - 1-1
Ed025 - 1-1
Ed033 - 0-2

Editor's Predictions Table
1. Ed002 - 180 points
2. Ed025 - 177 points
3. Ed018 - 173 points
4. Ed007 - 171 points
5. Ed004 - 168 points
6. Ed033 - 167 points
7. Ed003 - 159 points

*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 2nd March 2018 (not including results for that day)

Written by Tris Burke

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