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Man United Crystal Palace Odds, Picks, Predictions | Premier League Preview

Man United Crystal Palace Odds, Picks, Predictions | Premier League Preview article feature image

Visionhaus/Getty. Pictured: Rob Holding.

Man United vs Crystal Palace Odds

Saturday, Sep. 30
10 a.m. ET
USA Network
Man United Odds-175
Crystal Palace Odds+475
Over / Under
 -125 / +100
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Man United and Crystal Palace will play for the second time in five days on Saturday as the Red Devils look to find some winning form following a rocky start to the Premier League season. United beat Palace 3-0 in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, but the Eagles played a heavily rotated side in that match and should be closer to full strength for this more important league match.

United are starting to get healthier as a squad as well with the debut of Sofyan Amrabat and the return of Mason Mount in Tuesday's match. Raphael Varane also returned as part of a makeshift backline that will now be without Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka on Saturday. United's underlying numbers suggest that they have taken a clear step back this season from last year's numbers and remain overvalued headed into this fixture.

Here is my Man United vs Crystal Palace pick and full preview.

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Man United

Manchester United rank 10th in non-penalty xG created through six league matches and the performances since Rasmus Højlund came into the team don't suggest that they're about to take a huge step forward, even if the midfield does improve. Højlund's sample is far too small to draw any definitive conclusions, but he's managed four shots and 0.5 xG in two matches. He still looks like a prospect and not a player that will walk in and lead a top four contender as a striker immediately.

Marcus Rashford has basically matched his production from last season from an xG + xA perspective, but instead of finishing well above his numbers like last year, Rashford has just one league goal from 2.5 xG created.

The Red Devils are sixth in box entries and final third entries and should be considerably improved in the second phase of build-up with Amrabat and Mount in the midfield. Amrabat could be forced to play as more of a right back because of injury, but his passing range combined with Mount's ball carrying ability will be key to getting the ball into the box often against Palace.

The Eagles don't really stop crosses at all — they've allowed the second-most crosses into the penalty area in the league — but United have gotten nothing from a crossing perspective this season to exploit that weakness. Crystal Palace's first choice defense should also present much more of a challenge in ball stopping on Saturday.

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Crystal Palace

The loss of Odsonne Edouard will make goal scoring a challenge for the Eagles on Saturday. He had been a major piece in the offensive improvement of Palace this year, despite losing Willfried Zaha. Edouard had a poor game against Fulham at home last week, but his 0.45 xG per 90 this season and four goals in six matches was enabling Palace to be extremely conservative with their other attackers.

Because Eberechi Eze and Edouard had been so effective at producing and combining for goals, Roy Hodgson built the system to not commit any other numbers forward around them. As a result, Palace are a top five defense by xGA thus far this season. No team in the league has conceded fewer big scoring chances than the Eagles. Palace will concede possession, space and territory, but very rarely does that result in real chances allowed.

Palace will rely on Jean-Phillipe Mateta to lead the line as the primary striker. He's produced at 0.46 xG and 0.39 xG per 90 rates in his limited sample in the Premier League, but a lot of those minutes came as a sub. I'd expect Palace to have to be more aggressive in adding extra attackers to account for the drop in production from Edouard to Mateta.

Man United vs Crystal Palace

Pick & Prediction

We now have a full multiple season sample of the Eagles being a solidly above average Premier League defense. Given the flaws of United's defensive numbers — the Red Devils rank 15th in xGA, 11th in expected threat and 13th in box entries — I can't get to them laying a full goal in this match.

Even though I do expect United's build-up play to improve with Mount and Amrabat, they'll need to prove it before I upgrade them meaningfully. A somewhat fortunate win against Burnley and a win against the Palace reserves don't move the needle much. I'd bet Palace +1 at -120 or better.

Pick: Crystal Palace +1 (-120 or better)

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