Manchester United kick off their Premier League campaign on Saturday, at home to Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.
Having had an extra week to prepare after making it to the Europa League semi-finals last month, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men aim to hit the ground running here against the Eagles.
United had their work cut out to seal a top-four spot last season after making a slow start to the campaign, which included a 1-2 home defeat to Crystal Palace last August, having won four of the last six meetings against them, including a 0-2 away win at Selhurst Park in July.
They eventually did turn their form around, and no Premier League side picked up more points following the arrival of January signing Bruno Fernandes - they’ll be looking to keep that momentum going into the new campaign, and could hand a debut to new recruit Donny van de Beek, with Paul Pogba a doubt after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.
Crystal Palace were in poor form post-lockdown - only relegated Norwich picked up fewer points during the summer ‘mini-season’ - but they bucked that form on their return to action last Saturday, with an organised and solid 1-0 victory at home to a much-fancied Southampton outfit.
Roy Hodgson has something of a selection headache here, however, with Gary Cahill, Patrick van Aanholt and James Tomkins sidelined to deplete his options in defence, while Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham are both unavailable, meaning Chelsea loanee Michy Batshuayi could be in line to feature alongside Jordan Ayew up top.
There’s been plenty of fanfare about marquee signing Ebere Eze from QPR, but the dynamic youngster only made a 10-minute cameo last time out. Hodgson may be looking to bed him in slowly and could go with the more conservative and defensively-minded choice of Jeffrey Schlupp once again after it proved a successful formula against Saints.
Betfair Sportsbook back Manchester United as very strong favourites here, in spite of their interrupted pre-season and Palace’s strong performance last week. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are priced at 2/7 for the home win, 4/1 to draw and a massive 19/2 to suffer defeat.
There’s little value in a Manchester United win, so we recommend looking for value elsewhere. If their post-lockdown form was anything to go by, we expect a dominant performance from the hosts here - Paddy Power have a Power Price promotion of 16/5 for Marcus Rashford & Anthony Martial to have 2 or more shots on target each, which is worth considering after how lively they looked for the Red Devils.
*All prices correct at the time of writing and subject to change