Crystal Palace visit Old Trafford twice in five days this week, first taking on reigning holders Manchester United in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday. Michael Beardmore has two best bets.
1.5pt Crystal Palace or draw (double chance) at 7/5 (General)
1.5pt Alejandro Garnacho 1+ offsides at 9/4 (Sky Bet)
Manchester United's defence of the Carabao Cup trophy they won by beating Newcastle United in the final at Wembley in February begins with a tough first assignment as Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace travel to Old Trafford.
And that's before we mention their various off-the-field problems, with fallings-out, stalled takeovers and the like.
Palace, meanwhile, are doing what Palace do - particularly when Hodgson is at the wheel. Plod along nicely if unspectacularly, winning a couple, drawing a couple, losing a couple. But do they have it in them to cause a minor shock here?
Let's get it straight, United are unbackable here. Hugely lucky to beat both Wolves and Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford in their opening two home league games, they were eventually found out by Brighton last time out in front of their own fans.
Hodgson knows how to win at the Theatre of Dreams, having led CRYSTAL PALACE to successive victories there in 2019-20 and 2020-21, and I think the Eagles are temptingly large in the markets, particularly at 7/5 DOUBLE CHANCE.
United have shipped 14 goals in seven games this term and their injury problems in defence mean they can be got at. The bet relies slightly on Palace going relatively strong with team or squad selection but they did so in round two at Plymouth.
The hosts are in disarray to a degree and Palace can capitalise on that by at least taking them to penalties, if not winning in 90 minutes (no extra time in this competition at this stage).
It's always tempting fate to tip a player punt in a cup game like this given the uncertainty over the teamsheets but one man I expect to be given a start is Manchester United's exciting winger ALEJANDRO GARNACHO.
And the market I want to focus on with the Argentine is offsides given he's racked up three of them in 154 minutes of football this season. If you include last season's numbers, the South American speedster averages an offside every 133 minutes, basically two every three matches, which makes the 9/4 on him TO HAVE 1+ OFFSIDES look huge value.
Maybe value even if he's a sub considering he was flagged twice after coming on in the 85th minute against Brighton.
Prior to Manchester United's win at Burnley, the Red Devils' previous four games had yielded a whopping 20 goals with both teams finding the net in all four - and Ten Hag's men winning only one of them, against Nottingham Forest.
Palace were held to a stalemate by Fulham last weekend but their three preceding games had featured a massive 15 goals, again all three landing BTTS punts, with the Eagles winning two of them. We should expect both sides to score here.
Score prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Crystal Palace (Sky Bet odds: 13/2)
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has plenty of selection headaches, many of them unwanted. Marcus Rashford could be unavailable after being shaken up, albeit uninjured, by a car crash after the Red Devils' 1-0 win at Burnley.
Full-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw are injured, as is Lisandro Martinez, while Harry Maguire is touch and go, with Antony and Jadon Sancho missing for off-field reasons. Sergio Reguilon came off ill at Burnley to add to the defensive issues.
Ten Hag will likely shuffle his pack to some extent anyway for the cup, with new signing Sofyan Amrabat pushing for a start, Mason Mount potentially returning from a knock and keeper Altay Bayindir set to be handed his Red Devils debut.
Michael Olise, Jefferson Lerma and James Tomkins are definitely ruled out for the Eagles, who could also hand a debut in between the sticks to Dean Henderson, the stopper they signed from United at the end of the transfer window.
Palace striker and four-goal leading scorer Edouard Odsonne is unlikely to be risked, certainly from the start at least, after picking up a slight hamstring injury in Saturday's goalless Premier League draw against Fulham.
Manchester United: Bayindir; Dalot, Lindelof, Evans, Reguilon; Mejbri, Amrabat, Eriksen; Pellistri, Martial, Garnacho
Crystal Palace: Henderson; Clyne, Richards, Holding, Mitchell; Riedewald, Hughes; Rak-Sakyi, Eze, Schlupp; Mateta
Odds correct 1630 BST (25/09/23)
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