Crystal Palace have been hit for six in their opening half dozen Premier League matches, a record that reads no points and not even a goal to their name. They are first club in history to have this unwanted record and this afternoon they will look to break that deadlock when they make the trip to Old Trafford.
Their goalscoring plight will have been worsened by the fact that Christian Benteke is out injured as their quest to find the net for the first time this season continues, the fact that they have been linked with Carlton Cole who himself has not scored a goal in the last two years pretty much says it all.
Not only that but they will have to go up against a red hot Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian international has scored in all but one of United’s fixtures so far this season and were it not for a missed penalty against Leicester at Old Trafford it would have been a clean sweep.
The former Everton man has scored ten goals in his first nine outings. He is currently averaging 1.1 goals per game and he will undoubtedly be licking his lips at the prospect of going up against a Palace side that shipped five to Manchester City last weekend.
They was a glimmer of hope early in the first half at The Etihad as Ruben Loftus-Cheek was presented with a chance to put Palace ahead. That was spurned and after Leroy Sane put City ahead just before half time the second half resembled something more like a training exercise.
The same could be said for United’s mission to Moscow in midweek as they made very easy work of CSKA while on Champions League duty. The Red Devils had raced into a 3-0 nil lead before the break and Henrikh Mkhitaryan was on hand to add a fourth just before the hour.
CSKA would get a consolation goal in injury time but that simply all it was as United’s unbeaten streak continues from the opening weekend of the Premier League season. Their only defeat is the one they were dealt by Real Madrid in the European Supercup back in August.
They weren’t quite at their brilliant best away at Southampton last weekend but who else but Romelu Lukaku was on hand to score the game’s only goal. It was not as free flowing as some of their other victories this season but against a low scoring Southampton one goal was always going to be enough.
And you get the feeling that will be exactly the case this afternoon but already the Premier League title race is looking like an issue that may well be decided on goal difference and where Manchester City put five past Palace last weekend United will no doubt be looking to do something very similar.
It could be a very long afternoon for Palace as the way they crumbled in the second half last weekend suggests that they have nothing really to offer for their second Manchester trip in as many weeks. They are conceded 2.16 goals on average which when you are not scoring at the other end is still too many.
United looked bullish in midweek and that was against stronger opposition while also away from home in front of their own fans then it could end up being a race to score the most. I cannot see any joy for Palace as they are consigned to a 7th straight defeat. Home win for me.
Here is what social media think will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
Can #CrystalPalace get off the mark when they travel to #ManchesterUnited
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) September 29, 2017