LONDON, Sporting Alert – Manchester United go in search of back-to-back wins for the first time since August in one of eight games English Premier League games on the schedule on Wednesday.
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Manchester United head to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace, with the game kicking off at 3:00 pm ET.
The Red Devils are coming off a much needed 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Sunday but will be without the man who netted the winner.
Manager Jose Mourinho has hinted that he is finding his best team, but the Portuguese coach will have to make at least one change from the Spurs clash, as injured midfielder playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be available.
Mkhitaryan was stretchered off after scoring the lone goal in Sunday’s win against Tottenham with an ankle injury so Mourinho must make at least one adjustment.
Mourinho revealed that the injury isn’t as bad as it looked and hoped to have the Armenian back for the Boxing Day home clash with Sunderland.
“Hopefully he can play at Christmas,” the manager said. “We believe it’s possible, so when I saw him on a stretcher I thought it was more difficult.
“When I watched the tackle on TV I was a bit scared. It’s a pity because he’s going to miss matches in his best period, but at least we don’t lose the player for so long.”
This could open up the door for Juan Mata to return to the starting XI, while Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford are also in contention.
“Rooney, Rashford, [Jesse] Lingard, Ashley Young, Memphis Depay – that’s a position where we have lots of players,” Mourinho said about a replacement for Mkhitaryan.
“So that would not be a problem to choose a player to play. The problem is he was playing so well and now he’s not playing.”
Centre-back Eric Bailly has now fully recovered from a knee injury, but Mourinho could stick with Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo at the heart of his defence with the pair starting the last two EPL games.
Crystal Palace, meanwhile, will be without Jason Puncheon, who is suspended for one match after the midfielder collected his fifth yellow card of the season during Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Hull City.
According to Opta Stats, Puncheon is the only current Crystal Palace player to score for the Eagles against Manchester United in Premier League games.
Also missing out is defender James Tomkins, who has picked up a groin injury and he joined Steve Mandanda, Loic Remy, Connor Wickham, Bakary Sako and Pape Souare on the injury list.
Manchester United are undefeated in the last 14 English Premier League games against Crystal Palace with the last win coming in April, which was a 2-0 victory for the Red Devils.
In the past 14 EPL head-to-head meetings, United have won 11 and drawn three, with one of those draws coming at Selhurst Park last season.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has led Manchester United line this season with eight goals in the English Premier League.
For Crystal Palace, striker Christian Benteke has scored five goals in his last five Premier League appearances.
Crystal Palace (squad): Hennessey, Ward, Delaney, Dann, Zaha, McArthur, Ledley, Townsend, Benteke, Speroni, Lee, Fryers, Campbell, Flamini, Kelly, Cabaye, Phillips, Wynter.
Manchester United (squad): De Gea, Romero, Johnstone, Valencia, Fosu-Mensah, Jones, Bailly, Rojo, Darmian, Blind, Young, Fellaini, Carrick, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Martial, Rashford, Rooney, Ibrahimovic.