After Friday’s win over Melbourne Victory, the United squad have stayed in the city in preparation for their encounter with Premier League opposition Crystal Palace. United have played two promising games in pre-season thus far, scoring a total of eight goals and conceding one, with plenty of squad rotation in preparation for Ten Hag’s debut season at Old Trafford.
This will be United’s second pre-season game that has taken place at Melbourne Cricket Ground, with kick-off expected at 11:10 BST. The game can be viewed live on MUTV.
The majority of the touring United squad have been given pre-season minutes by Ten Hag, though James Garner, Hannibal Mejbri and Alejandro Garnacho are yet to make an appearance. This could change against Crystal Palace, all three players enjoyed good seasons at their respective levels, with Garner having a promising loan spell at newly promoted Nottingham Forest in the Championship, with Mejbri and Garnacho carrying out key roles for the United U23 and U18 squads respectively.
New signings Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez will not be available for selection, but it has been suggested that Martinez could join the squad in Perth, granted that all the required paperwork surrounding the deal is sorted in good time.
Erik ten Hag has cut a very reserved figure in interviews after both pre-season games so far. He recognises the promising signs that his players have shown, but has stressed that there are still many improvements to be made.
After United’s win against Victory, Ten Hag praised the Australian side, saying that “they started really far back, waiting for us so it was really difficult to create chances.”
Reflecting on some of United’s games against Palace in recent years, particularly at Old Trafford, it is likely that manager Patrick Vieira could opt for a similar approach. Regardless, it will surely help Ten Hag in getting familiar with the sort of opposition he will face weekly in the Premier League.
This will be Crystal Palace’s fourth game of pre-season, after playing two games on English soil before heading to Singapore to play Liverpool. Their results have included a 5-4 win against Millwall, a scoring draw against Accrington Stanley and a defeat to Liverpool.
A number of the Eagles’ key players are missing from their tour squad, notably former United winger Wilfried Zaha has stayed in England. On tour, they have brought some notable starters including Jordan Ayew, Luka Milivojevic, Nathaniel Clyne and Vincente Guaita.
The sides last met on the final day of the 2021/22 Premier League season, when Zaha netted against his former club to give the Eagles a deserved 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.