The Telegraph
Saturday , February 22 , 2014
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United travel to Palace with Tuesday in mind

- Jose Mourinho’s men look to hold on to top spot

London: Manchester United travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday hoping to climb up to the sixth spot in the Premier League table with a win at the Selhurst Park.

On Saturday, Palace will host United for the first time since March 2005, when a gritty display saw them grind out a 0-0 draw against the Old Trafford team.

David Moyes’ side have won just once in their last five outings in all competitions. However, when the sides met earlier in the season, United clinched a 2-0 win.

On the other hand, Palace go into the game against the defending champions high in confidence having won their last three games at home against Stoke City, Hull City and West Bromwich Albion.

Another victory for the hosts on Saturday would provide a record-breaking fourth straight home win in the Premier League, as they aim to avoid relegation for the first time in their history.

But they will need to overturn 23 years of history to do that, having not beaten United in the league since 1991.

There’s no doubt that United will be looking to secure full three points from the match, as they aim to claw back an 11-point deficit on fourth placed Liverpool in the quest for Champions League football next season.

David Moyes may have Europe’s top club competition in his mind with his team selection this weekend though, with Tuesday’s last-16 clash against Olympiakos looming large on the horizon.

The Champions League is United’s only chance of silverware this season, so it would be no great surprise to see Moyes rest one or two of his bigger names for the match.

Phil Jones is expected to return after missing the last couple of weeks with a concussion, while Jonny Evans and Nani are doubtful starters.

Palace manager Tony Pulis’ has a full squad to pick from for the match with no reported injuries.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Manchester City will be licking their wounds from Tuesday’s Champions League defeat by Barcelona when they host Stoke City, their final outing before they meet Sunderland in the League Cup final on March 2.

After picking up one point from their last two matches against Chelsea and Norwich, City will be desperate to rekindle their title charge.

They are in third spot with 54 points, three off Chelsea and two behind Arsenal.

Sunderland, who are battling for top-flight survival despite their cup form which has also seen them reach the FA Cup quarter finals could move out of the relegation zone with a point against Arsenal on Saturday.

Chelsea and their manager Jose Mourinho will look to hold on to their advantage at the top when they host Everton. “We lost the last game in the FA Cup and we don’t want to lose two in a row. That would be bad,” striker Demba Ba told the club website, referring to Saturday’s 0-2 defeat at City.

“We are just going to do everything on Saturday because it’s important to get back to winning ways, it’s important for the title race and it’s important for our confidence.”

Fulham will look to put a week of off-field drama behind them and focus on their bid to avoid relegation when they travel to fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Fulham are bottom with 20 points, four off safety, and on Friday appointed German Felix Magath as their third manager this season following the dismissals of Martin Jol and Rene Meulensteen.

Fulham, ever-present in the Premier League since 2001, have picked up one point from their last six matches and have brought in Magath in the hope that the noted disciplinarian can arrest their slump.

“We’re going to get the full German experience from him and I definitely think he’ll help us achieve our goal of staying in the Premier League,” midfielder and fellow German Lewis Holtby said.