Paul Merson has tipped to start against but predicts will struggle to win Saturday’s game.
United host Palace just over two weeks after their last meeting when the Eagles ended the Red Devils’ nine-game winning run by holding them to a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park.
A stunning injury time free-kick from Michael Olise denied Erik ten Hag all three points after Bruno Fernandes had opened the scoring late in the first-half.
Christian Eriksen assisted Fernandes’ goal but will be unable to repeat his heroics this weekend having been .
The midfielder has been crucial for Ten Hag since moving to Old Trafford last summer and without him, Merson thinks his loss will badly affect United.
‘Crystal Palace are a hard team to break down, and they’re going to set up to play counter-attacking football,’ the Arsenal legend told .
‘Manchester United have had problems with breaking teams down in the past, and they changed when Christian Eriksen came in.
‘When Eriksen starts for Man United, they control games. Eriksen is a player that you need to beat a team like Palace, and his absence will make a massive difference.’
In order to remedy Eriksen’s injury, Ten Hag signed Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich on deadline day, a move many – – approved of.
The 28-year-old plays in a similar style to Eriksen, and while he has his reservations Merson believes he should be thrown straight into United’s XI.
The two sides could not go into this fixture in more contrasting form with United winning 12 of their last 14 games in all competitions, while Palace have claimed just one win in nine, but Merson thinks it will still be a close match.
He added: ‘They have brought Marcel Sabitzer in on loan from Bayern Munich, but is he what they really wanted? He wasn’t on the radar in the first place, and it looks like a panic buy.
‘I couldn’t think of a better game to judge how much Eriksen could be missed. If you’re bringing reinforcements in from Bayern, you’re surely thinking of playing him.
‘Man United aren’t playing one of the big boys, and they should be able to dominate this game. I think Manchester United are going to win this game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they dropped points against Palace.’
Merson’s Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Crystal Palace
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