The title may be an impossible dream for Man United this season, but they can put themselves in the perfect position to secure Champions League football if they put a few more wins together.
Chelsea and Liverpool play tomorrow night so at least one of them are going to drop points, while a win over Crystal Palace this evening will start to build that gap between them and the teams hunting a place in the top four.
Palace are no pushovers as United found out in their first game this season, but Solskjaer’s team have improved since then so it will be a surprise if they don’t come away with all three points tonight.
There had been rumours that a few changes would be made to the starting XI, but this is more of a shake up than may have been expected:
? The boss makes four changes to the side which drew on Sunday ?
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 3, 2021
The biggest call comes with Dean Henderson starting in goal, as there’s no official line that states de Gea is injured, but he’s not appearing in the squad at all so something must be up.
There’s a feeling that one of them will need to go next summer, so this could be an effort from Solskjaer to give Henderson a proper run of games to see if he’s up to the task of taking the number 1 jersey in the long term.
The main chat from the fans before the game has centred around the decision to play Henderson, and there are a few different theories around the call:
Henderson is much better at commanding the box! He needs a run of league games to prove himself, if he’s good enough to take over De Gea to be our main keeper next season!
— Benjac (@BenjacMusic) March 3, 2021
Maguire talks about us needing to do better after every game does he get dropped? No? It’s not that deep, why not give Henderson a chance when De Gea keeps making silly mistakes here and there in every other game. Literally passed the ball straight to Giroud in the Chelsea game.
— Jacky Henchman?? (@JackyHenchman) March 3, 2021
It’s not that he doesn’t trust/rate De Gea, or even feels he needs a rest: it’s that he doesn’t trust Henderson in the bigger games – but knows he needs to keep him sweet, so he’s giving him this one
— Hoe Szyslak (@so_paulo) March 3, 2021
Bailly starting means lindelof rested for city. Im not saying i agree with henderson over de gea but if ole is picking henderson he should give him a run of games to see if he's truly ready.
— kc (@kc_utd1) March 3, 2021
Do Henderson and De Gea play ‘rock, paper, scissors’ to decide who’s starting? #mufc
— Luke Gill (@_LukeGill) March 3, 2021
Henderson is the long term future. One of the best goal keepers last season. Though De Gea is a great keeper, if we want to build this club long term we should focus on Henderson. One is 30 one is 23. One will be here for maybe 5 years and the other 12 years. Simple maths!
— Caleb Jevan Mellen (@Caleb1Mellen) March 3, 2021
Henderson starting is hopefully a sign of things to come, De Gea has been a world-class GK for us but now is the right time to move away from him #mufc
— Dipak (@dipaksiyani) March 3, 2021
It’s also possible that Solskjaer wants de Gea to play against AC Milan so this is a way of compromising and making sure Henderson still gets some game time, but it will be interesting to see what happens in the long run if Henderson impresses this evening.
Some reports have since emerged to explain de Gea’s absence, and it appears he’s missing tonight due to personal reasons.
De Gea out for personal reasons, Martial took a knock to his knee in training #MUFC
— Laurie Whitwell (@lauriewhitwell) March 3, 2021