Erik ten Hag ensured his first season as the Manchester United manager would be a notable one when his side won the League Cup, but the team will not just be aiming to successfully defend their title when they take to the pitch on Tuesday. They will hope returning to League Cup action will be just the thing that helps them finally put a rough patch behind them.
The holders enter the competition in the third round, as will the other Premier League clubs who are competing in European competition. United will be up against a Crystal Palace side that is just one point behind them in league play but will need to adjust considerably considering their second-round opponent was Championship side Plymouth Argyle.
Here’s what you need to know before tuning in.
How to watch and odds
- Date: Tuesday, Sept. 26 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Old Trafford — Manchester, England
- Live stream: ESPN+
- Odds: Manchester United -180; Draw +285; Crystal Palace +470
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A first season of promise and a summer of splashy signings gave way to a less-than-ideal start to the season for United, who have just three wins in all competitions. They did, though, rebound from last week’s crushing 4-3 defeat at Bayern Munich in the Champions League with a 1-0 win against Burnley in league action on Saturday but was arguably an unimpressive win. Burnley out-possessed and outshot United despite losing out on the three points.
The hosts will also hope to overcome their defensive injury crisis — the likes of Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw are sidelined, and the team added another name to the list with out-of-favor center back Harry Maguire. Ten Hag has rotated through his squad, giving starts to Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martinez, and even Jonny Evans at times, to varying levels of success.
There were still positives to take away from last week for United, chiefly that new striker Rasmus Hojlund scored his first goal for the team against Bayern. He could be key as United look to advance to the next round of the League Cup, while eyes will always be on mainstay Marcus Rashford to contribute after an impressive goalscoring run last season.
United might not be able to completely turn the page on an unimpressive start to their season, but they have the quality to eke out a result even on a bad day against Palace, much like they did against Burnley. Pick: Manchester United 1, Crystal Palace 0