We all know by now that Manchester United are fully focusing on their Europa League Final next Wednesday and that cannot be any more evident when they play host to Crystal Palace this afternoon. Jose Mourinho has decided to call upon the kids as a whole host of academy players will be given a first team bow.
Joel Pereira is expected to be given his Premier League debut on Sunday, while it looks set to be a first senior start for Demi Mitchell, Angel Gomes, Josh Harrop and Scott McTominay. Paul Pogba will return after missing the defeat to Tottenham and he will likely be one of only a couple of senior players in United’s starting eleven.
This may be a well changed outfit but there still may not be a place for Wayne Rooney, with the England record goalscorer expected to depart in the Summer the question will be whether or not he is afforded the chance to say goodbye to the club in which has been at since his 2004 move from Everton.
There is no doubting the service has Rooney has provided during that spell, that being no more apparent than when he beat Sir Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record for Manchester United earlier in the season but you do have to wonder just how he fits into a United line up next season with another busy Summer transfer window around the corner.
As for Rooney he will have to decide as to where he will ply his trade, could a return to Everton be on the cards or will he decide to cash in on the great haul of China and be a flag bearer for the Chinese Super League. That is something that we will find out in the off season but you get the feeling that his star is starting to burn out and that it is time for pastures new.
He was at fault for Tottenham’s opening goal last week as Victor Wanyama was left unmarked, the Kenyan international opened the scoring after five minutes as Mauricio Pochettino’s men said goodbye to White Hart Lane in perfect fashion. United failed to deal with crosses out wide all afternoon with both goals coming from the same situation.
That is something they are going to rectify before this afternoon as Crystal Palace will look for the same joy as the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend aim to supply the ammunition for Christian Benteke at Old Trafford. It will be something of a party atmosphere for Palace after securing their Premier League status for another season last weekend.
In what was a huge 6 pointer against Hull at Selhurst Park it had the feel of a Cup Final and it was one that was all but won within just three minutes as Andrea Ranocchia’s howler allowed Zaha to latch onto Townsend’s flick on and open the scoring, a huge relief for Palace and they never looked back from that point.
By the time Benteke had made it 2-0 after 35 minutes, Hull simply looked like a busted flush. Hull had not won away from home since August and now needed to find three unanswered goals. It was all but job done for Sam Allardyce’s men as they went up through the gears after the restart and made it a day to forget for Marco Silva’s men.
The great escape has once again been carried out by Allardyce. Just like last season with Sunderland he has completed the task in hand and that ultimately is survival. It may have taken a while to get the wheels in motion but once they picked up a head of steam then bar a late season blip they were always well clear of the drop.
This may have the makings of a dead rubber but there is prize money at stake for Palace, a win for them would shoot them up a few places and give Allardyce a few more million to spend in the Summer. In theory you would expect United to win but who knows what there line up will be, Palace may well getting something out of this one. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.