Manchester United-Crystal Palace Preview
Ralf Rangnick insists the imminent arrival of Erik ten Hag at Manchester United will herald better times for the club as he prepares to take charge of the Red Devils for the final time at Crystal Palace.
Rangnick has endured disappointing six-month spell with United, who need to beat the Eagles to ensure they avoid equalling their worst-ever Premier League finish of seventh (previously set in 2013-14).
Ten Hag will reportedly be at Selhurst Park for the end-of-season contest, and Rangnick is already looking forward to helping him with his Old Trafford rebuild.
"We've been in contact via WhatsApp, and we hopefully will have the opportunity to speak and meet in person either over the weekend or Monday morning at the latest," Rangnick said.
"I still strongly believe that there is a core of players who are top, who are good enough to play for this club, and hopefully most of those players will still be here next season. If we can bring in the right mentality of players, the right mentality of players, I'm positive that we will be able to bring this club, not only back on track but back to the top."
Palace squandered a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park on Thursday, leaving striker Jean-Philippe Mateta to lament the Eagles' failure to match their hosts' intensity.
Patrick Vieira's side were unbeaten in four league games prior to that reverse, and Mateta is desperate to bounce back when they end their season against the Red Devils.
"They had a lot of intensity, they were aggressive and their fans pushed them," Mateta said in looking back on the Everton defeat. "We will continue to work hard and to keep the ball, to play good football against Man Utd at home in front of our fans."
Crystal Palace – Vicente Guaita
Palace have only conceded two goals in their last three league games against the Red Devils, claiming one win, one draw, and falling to one defeat in those contests. Only five Premier League teams have more clean sheets than Palace's 11 this term, and the goalkeeper will hope for another.
Manchester United – Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo's 18 Premier League goals this season make it his second-most prolific campaign in the competition (having scored 31 goals in 2007-08). However, all but four of those strikes have come at Old Trafford – can the Portugal star end his first season back at United with a rare away goal?
- Crystal Palace have never won in 12 Premier League home games against Man Utd (D4 L8), the most one team has faced another at home without ever winning in the competition.
- Crystal Palace have never lost when playing their final game of a top-flight season at home, winning six and drawing three of their nine games dating back to 1969-70.
- No side has won their final game of a Premier League season more often than Manchester United (20, level with Arsenal), while the Red Devils are unbeaten in their last 11 when ending the season away from home (W8 D3 since a 3-1 loss at Spurs in 2000-01).
- Whatever the result, Manchester United will finish the season with their lowest points tally in Premier League history. They've lost their last five away league games, and defeat by two or more goals here would see them finish the season with a negative goal difference for the first time since 1989-90 (-1).
- This will be Ralf Rangnick's final game in charge of Manchester United. Whatever the result, he will leave with the lowest win rate of any Red Devils manager in Premier League history (currently 43.5 per cent - 10 wins from 23 games).
Updated May 20, 2022