Crystal Palace-Manchester United Preview

Sports

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he is constant dialogue with the club’s hierarchy as he aims to bolster his squad ahead of the transfer window closing.

The window shuts on October 5, with United – who finished third last season – only bringing in one new addition so far, with Netherlands midfielder Donny van de Beek joining from Ajax.

Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho has been a long-term target, though United have so far been unable to reach an agreement with the Bundesliga club.

Asked for an update on United’s pursuit of the England international, Solskjaer refused to discuss a player at another club, but insisted the Red Devils are doing all they can to improve their squad.

“I can’t say anything about other club’s players,” Solskjaer told a news conference ahead of their first Premier League game of the season against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. “We understand to get further we need to develop what we have and strengthen the team but let’s wait and see if we manage to bring anyone in.

“I’ve been in dialogue with the club, we’re always discussing and let’s see if we can bring anyone in.”

Palace made a winning start to their season thanks to Wilfried Zaha’s goal against Southampton last time out, and Roy Hodgson provided a positive update in terms of players returning from injury.

“We are starting to get players back,” Hodgson told a news conference. “Mamadou Sakho, of course, is the latest to be able to take part in training sessions. Christian Benteke and Connor Wichkam took part in [Thursday’s] session.In terms of fitness of players, we are in a much healthier position than we have been in some time.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Manchester United – Bruno Fernandes

Having signed from Sporting CP in January, Portugal playmaker Fernandes swiftly settled in at Old Trafford and became Solskjaer’s creative fulcrum, registering eight goals and seven assists from 14 league appearances.

Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha

Zaha’s future at Palace remains uncertain, with the 27-year-old reportedly keen on a move away from Selhurst Park. However, the Eagles’ star man scored an excellently taken goal to see off Southampton, and if he is into the final stages of his Palace career, he will be aiming to go out on a high by putting in a stellar display against his former club United.

KEY OPTA FACTS

• United have only lost one of their 22 Premier League meetings with Palace. However, this defeat came in the corresponding fixture last season after Patrick van Aanholt became the first visiting player to score a 90th-minute winner away at Old Trafford in the Premier League.

• Palace are unbeaten in their last four Premier League away games against the two Manchester sides – the last side to go five such games unbeaten in the competition were Chelsea between May 2013 and October 2014.

• United have won their opening Premier League fixture more often than any other side in the competition (19).

• Since his debut for the club, Fernandes has been directly involved in 20 of United’s 51 goals in all competitions.

• Zaha has only faced Tottenham (10 games) more times in the Premier League without registering a single goal or assist than he has against United (nine).

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