Manchester United had a disappointing February as they dropped behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race. The Red Devils secured a stunning 9-0 triumph over Southampton at the beginning of last month, but they have since picked up just one victory from the next four top-flight games (three draws).
At one point, the club were only goal difference behind Pep Guardiola’s side and looked like a good outside bet on different bookmakers reviewed by bookmaker-ratings.com for the title. However, they have now dropped 15 points adrift of the Cityzens, though they have a game in hand at Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.
They are unlikely to recover the deficit in the remaining 12 games of the season and the onus should now remain on clinching a top four spot in the league. However, they still have the chance of winning silverware for the first time in four years through the Europa League or FA Cup.
Here is our preview of United’s March fixtures.
Crystal Palace (Away) – March 3:
Palace have been bogey club for the Red Devils lately and they have picked up seven points from the previous five meetings. However, all of those points have surprisingly come at Old Trafford. At Selhurst Park, they have not beaten United in the Premier League era with the previous victory back in 1991.
The Red Devils should return to winning ways after a disappointing goalless draw last weekend against Chelsea. Zaha was the game-changer for Palace in the reverse fixture as he scored a brace in a 3-1 triumph. He won’t face his former employers tonight as he is out injured.
United have had the knack of conceding the early goal away from home and Solskjaer will be hoping that his team can avoid another repeat at Selhurst Park. Despite the inconsistency this term, United are the only unbeaten team on the road in Europe’s top-five leagues.
Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United
Manchester City (Away) – March 7:
The Cityzens have flourished over the past three months and they are currently on a stunning 21-match winning run across all competitions. That includes a 15-match winning streak in the Premier League which has seen them move clear at the top of the table.
United have had a good league record against their arch-rivals lately and they did the double over them last season which was the first time since the 2009/10 season. Earlier in December, the reverse fixture was a very dull affair which finished goalless at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer’s side have been disappointing when it comes to the ‘Big Six’ games in the league and have played out five draws and two defeats in seven meetings. The stalemates have all been goalless and a similar result can’t be ruled out as they will be determined to at least stop the Cityzens’ winning streak.
Manchester City 0-0 Manchester United
West Ham United (Home) – March 14:
The Hammers have been one of the surprise packages this term. They completely dominated the first half of the reverse league meeting at the London Stadium, but squandered numerous chances and scored just one goal.
Ultimately, they paid the price in the second half where the Red Devils were the stronger side and secured a 3-1 comeback win. They also met in the FA Cup fifth round last month where Scott McTominay eventually broke the deadlock in extra-time for a 1-0 triumph.
United can anticipate another strong defensive shift from the Hammers and will need to pounce on the chances which come to them. The fixture has involved plenty of goals in the past, but this could be another tight affair where United could prevail by the solitary goal.
Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United
Europa League round of 16:
AC Milan (Home & Away) – March 11 & March 18:
United have a classic European tie against AC Milan in the Europa League and they will need to be wary of conceding an away goal with the first leg at Old Trafford. Ahead of that game, they have received a boost with Zlatan Ibrahimovic expected to be sidelined for the Rossoneri with an injury.
Zlatan’s 28-goal season guided United to League Cup and Europa League success during the 2016/17 campaign and he remains fondly remembered by many of the club’s faithful. At 39, he is still one of Europe’s top strikers and has netted 16 times from 22 appearances this term.
Milan have several other match-winners such as Hakan Calhanoglu and Ante Rebic, but Zlatan will be a huge miss for them with his strong hold-up play and physical presence in the box. United will start the tie as favourites and should progress to the last eight, provided they don’t have any hiccups at home.
Manchester United 3-1 AC Milan (aggregate score)
FA Cup quarter-final:
Leicester City (Away) – March 21:
The Foxes have suffered a huge blow to their top-four hopes over the past few weeks. James Justin has been ruled out for the season with anterior ligament damage while Harvey Barnes is also out for around six weeks due to a knee surgery.
Elsewhere, James Maddison has yet to return to individual training following a hip problem. Both Barnes and Maddison have been hugely influential towards the club’s push for Champions League football and their task has now become a lot more difficult.
With the setbacks, United will be clear favourites for this tie and should make it to the last four of the FA Cup for the second year running. The Red Devils currently hold the joint-most semi-final appearances with Arsenal at 30.
Leicester City 1-3 Manchester United
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and 11v11.com