Premier League

Crystal Palace-Manchester United Preview

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick insisted "top professional" Cristiano Ronaldo is pivotal to his plans ahead of his first game against Crystal Palace.

Rangnick was in the stands as he watched Ronaldo's 800th and 801st career goal propel United to a 3-2 victory over Arsenal on Thursday.

The win was the last match of Michael Carrick's temporary tenure, with Rangnick appointed until the end of the season and the German head coach reassured Ronaldo is integral to his vision.

"You always have to adapt your style or idea of football to the players you have available, not vice versa," Rangnick said.

"Having seen Cristiano yesterday in the second half, at the age of 36 he is an amazing, top professional. At his age, I've never seen a player who is still that physically fit. He's still a player who can easily make the difference.

"It's about how we can develop the whole team. It's not just about Cristiano. We play in the most competitive league in the world, so we need all the players on board.

"What I saw from Cristiano yesterday, he's more than willing to do that, to put his input into the team. The other team-mates will have to do the same."

The Eagles suffered late heartbreak against Leeds United in midweek, leaving them 11th in the league but Palace coach Osain Roberts, in the absence of manager Patrick Vieira, promised his side will not back down from the United challenge.

"He's a highly respected coach with highly talented players at the club, the options he'll have are numerous," Roberts said of Rangnick and United.

"It'll still be about our principles of play, how we want to play with and without the ball. If we get that right more often than not it'll hold us in good stead in terms of the performance."

Manchester United - Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial turns 26 on the day of this game. He scored on his birthday in 2018 against Arsenal, and he could become just the second player to score on his birthday on two different occasions in the Premier League, after Teddy Sheringham (1994 and 1995).

Crystal Palace - Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha netted twice in Crystal Palace's 3-1 victory away against Manchester United last season - no player to have previously played for the Red Devils in the competition has ever scored in consecutive away games against them in the Premier League.

·Since his debut for Manchester United in February 2020, Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in more goals in all competitions than any other player for a Premier League club (79 - 45 goals, 34 assists).

·Crystal Palace have lost back-to-back Premier League games, having lost just one of their previous 11 in the competition (W3 D7). However, these two defeats have been by a margin of one goal, with 10 of their previous 11 losses in the competition coming by at least two.

·Crystal Palace have shipped three goals in the 90th minute of Premier League games this season, with these costing the Eagles five points in total - 1-1 against Brighton, 2-2 against Arsenal and 0-1 last time out against Leeds.

·Man Utd have conceded in 15 consecutive home games in all competitions, their second-longest ever such run, after a 21-game streak ending in March 1959.

·Manchester United failed to win either of their league meetings with Crystal Palace last season (D1 L1). They've not gone three without a win against the Eagles since a run of four between 1925 and 1970.

Updated December 3, 2021