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Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United: Both sides looking to end late-season slumps

07 May | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United: Both sides looking to end late-season slumps

Both the Eagles and the Red Devils have lost their last three games. Which team will get back to winning ways in South London?

For some teams, the Premier League season always drags on that little bit too long. As the heady days of spring give way to tentative summer, thoughts begin to turn to the next campaign before the current one is even finished.

Just ask Crystal Palace and Manchester United, who go head-to-head at Selhurst Park this weekend. Both found their stride in sensational style in the first months of 2015; both find themselves limping down the final straight now.

For Palace, it was the Alan Pardew bounce that seemed to jumpstart the season. The prodigal son brought sunshine and flowers to south London, coaxing a series of confident, bullish performances out of a side that had looked leaden under the matronly Neil Warnock.

Having won just once between the start of October and the turn of the year, the Eagles embarked on a run that dragged them away from the relegation mire, managing eight victories – including memorable successes over Spurs and Man City – in 12 games. It wasn’t cynical results football either: Pardew got Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray firing, with explosive results.

But just when it appeared Palace were reaching top speed, the crash has come. Tony Pulis returned to Selhurst with West Brom and won. Hull pitched up and headed back north with three points of their own. Chelsea did what Chelsea do. Suddenly, Palace find themselves in the midst of a losing run.

The same has happened to United. There were nine wins in 11 between mid-January and mid-April, helping Louis van Gaal’s side claw their way above Liverpool in the race for the top four. Some optimistic souls began to speak of a possible title challenge next season following the 4-2 dismantling of Manchester City.

And then… nothing. United dominated possession against Chelsea but hit a brick wall in the final third. The same happened against Everton. Then against West Brom last weekend. Having looked so deadly in the springtime, the Red Devils have now gone 287 minutes without a goal.

Van Gaal will be justified in labelling this a blip – growing pains in United’s long, slow recovery from the despair of last season. In fact, if it dampens expectations a touch, the late-season wobble may end up having a positive effect in the long run.

For now, though, you would forgive both of these sides for having one eye on the summer, with its holidays, transfer market and respite. We all know the feeling.