Manchester United kickstart their Premier League campaign at home to Crystal Palace this evening with Donny van de Beek in line to make his debut, though it will have to be from the substitutes’ bench. Express Sport brings you updates from Old Trafford.
Man United’s first game of the 2020-21 Premier League season is finally here – and the Red Devils will be looking start strongly following the off-pitch wins managed by some of their rivals of late, with Tottenham signing Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon and Liverpool landing Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota – not to mention Chelsea and Arsenal’s summer business.
The Red Devils have been criticised for a perceived lack of action throughout the window although they did bring in Van de Beek from Ajax last month.
The Netherlands international, 23, is in line to feature today as United look to start the campaign on the right foot – hoping not just to qualify for the Champions League but maybe even challenge Liverpool and Manchester City at the summit of the table.
And the dynamism of their latest signing could be a big helping hand in the Red Devils’ hopes of competing for major honours.
Solskjaer said of Van de Beek ahead of today’s showdown: “He’s settled in really well. He’s a smashing boy, great personality; he’s come in with loads of energy and a big smile every day.
“He played well against Aston Villa so you’re likely to see him. Of course, I’m not going to name the team here today. I’ll have to do that to the boys after, in training.
“You can see his enthusiasm – enthusiasm for football – but you can also see his enthusiasm for space and space into the box, and I think we needed to add goals from midfield.
“He’s one of those who will definitely give us penetrative runs, runs in behind, clever movements and he’s added to the squad really nicely.”
While Palace boss Roy Hodgson said: “They [United] most definitely have progressed as a team, and they’ve certainly improved their personnel enormously.
“They’ve brought in players of the quality of Fernandes, Pogba is back – I don’t know how fit he is but certainly back at full strength at the end of the season in the last period post lockdown.
“They’ve just bought a top, top class player in Van de Beek, so really and truly we’re facing a stronger team now at least on paper than a year ago, and that’s a compliment if you like to the work Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his staff have done, and the backing he’s received from the board.
“They certainly have a wealth of talent, and we expect them to use that wealth of talent to win football matches and climb up the table.”
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Manchester United starting XI: De Gea, Fosu-Mensah, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes, James, Martial, Rashford
Crystal Palace starting XI: Guaita, Ward, Kouyate, Sakho, Mitchell, Townsend, McArthur, McCarthy, Schlupp, Zaha, Ayew
Manchester United bench: Henderson, Bailly, Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Van de Beek, Greenwood, Ighalo
Crystal Palace bench: Hennessey, Kelly, Inniss, Milivojevic, Meyer, Eze, Batshuayi
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