Memories of Fergie winning his first trophy as United boss always come flooding back to you when we take on Crystal Palace, and Wednesday’s Carling Cup tie at Old Trafford will be no different for those who’ve been there throughout the Scotsman’s reign.
Back in 1990, it took a replay and a dramatic goalkeeping decision to see the reds win the FA Cup, beating the Eagles 1-0 after a second half strike from left-back Lee Martin. Martin was the unlikely goalscorer that day, a local lad who came through the youth ranks at Old Trafford and was given his chance in the first team, taking it with both hands.
Quite appropriate that. For on Wednesday Sir Alex will continue the tradition of giving youth a chance against Palace, promising to make wholesale changes to the side that drew with Newcastle United at the weekend.
The boss has indicated that there’ll be a complete change in personnel on Wednesday. Macheda, Pogba, Morrison and Zeki Fryers could feature in the starting line up, with Anders Lindergaard likely to take the spot between the sticks.
Welbeck, Diouf, Park could be in line for a start, as could Chris Smalling who could return from injury – as indeed could Darron Gibson. It’ll definitely be an interesting line up to say the least, and hopefully one which will be committed to trying to get a decent result for the paying faithful who’ll be there at the Theatre Of Dreams.
Palace make the trip up north in what is their best League Cup run in nine seasons, however they have only won one of their last six away League Cup ties, 15 months ago in a 1-0 victory against Yeovil.
Managed by Dougie Freedman, they are doing well in the Championship. They sit in 10th spot, just a point off the play off zone. They have amassed just one win in their last five matches though, so things could be a lot better for Palace had they managed to nick a goal here and there.
Wilfred Zaha is Palaces top scorer this season with 5 goals to his name. The Ivory Coast born, England under-19 international plays in the second striker role, and has already featured 59 times for Palace.
Darren Ambrose, who’s bagged four goals should make a comeback for the South Londoners, after a spell on the sidelines through injury.
Did you know…?
- United and Palace have met five times before in the competition. The reds have won all five
- It’s 22 years since Palace won at Old Trafford
- If United beat the Eagles, it’ll be the sixth time they’ve qualified for the semi finals in the last ten years.
United will take to the field with an under-strength side, but will be looking to get a place in the semi-finals with victory against Crystal Palace. With players wanting to break in to the first team, they’ll be looking to impress, but as we all know – we can often come unstuck by putting too many fresh faces in to a team together, who don’t normally combine together as a unit. Take our performance against West Ham United in this competition last season as a prime example.
Palace have a young team too. Freedman has put together a decent side there, but with the struggle for points in the league in recent weeks, they might be coming up north slightly out of form. The occasion of playing at Old Trafford could lift them, as could an ease of pressure that they might be facing in the league.
In all, United have been strong in the Carling Cup this term when putting unfamiliar teams out, and I think they’ll continue in this vain against Palace. There might not be an abundance of goals, and the game might not be as one sided and easy to walk through as people might think, but progression to the next round is what we should be hoping for.
It’ll be a cold one at Old Trafford tomorrow night, so if you’re there – wrap up warm…and enjoy the game.
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