Manchester United will play Crystal Palace in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday, 4 December. Kickoff is at 2 pm UK time.
This will be officially Ralf Rangnick’s first game in charge of Manchester United. He watched their victory over Arsenal on Thursday night, but it was Michael Carrick who was in charge of the team that night.
That proved to be Carrick’s swansong at Old Trafford as well:he had announced that he woulld be leaving the club after that match.
The short turnaround means that Rangnick had little time to get his ideas across on the training ground, but he would have gained some food for thought from what he saw against the Gunners.
He knows that the strength of his new team is going forward, but there is still a lot of work to be done further back. A more clinical team than Arsenal might have punished them more for some of their defensive lapses on Thursday, and Harry Maguire’s form remains suspect.
And, while Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in history to score 800 top-level career goals, he is now 36, and his workload will need to be managed.
Crystal Place have been a revelation this season under Patrick Vieira, who has changed their style of football to more possession-based.
However, but the past week has been a difficult one for them. They were well beaten at home by Aston Villa in Steven Gerrard’s first match in charge. Then, on Tuesday, they lost to an injury time penalty away at Leeds United. They had won the fixture between these two teams last season, but lightening rarely strikes twice in such circumstances.
United will not only want to win this match, but will want to do so in style. With Carrick gone, this is very much Rangnick’s team now, and the German will be looking to impart hs stamp on it.
Vieira’s difficult week is likely to continue, but there will be easier matches than this for his team to face in the next few weeks.