Manchester United will welcome upstart side Crystal Palace to Old Trafford on Wednesday for a Carling Cup quarterfinal clash. Last season, Crystal Palace finished 20th in the Championship, so this deep run is a pleasant surprise for the team's supporters.
It's in serious danger against the Red Devils, though. The English superpower has made quick work of Aldershot Town and Leeds United in the previous rounds, posting identical 3-0 victories. They're looking for a return to Carling Cup glory after failing to secure a three-peat last season.
Can they keep the magic alive with a massive upset on Wednesday?
Where: Old Trafford in Manchester, England
When: Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 2:45 p.m. ET
Watch: Fox Soccer Plus and FoxSoccer.tv
Betting Odds: Manchester United -500, Crystal Palace +1,100, Draw +460
Player To Watch for Manchester United: M Paul Pogba
Manchester United is expected to showcase a youthful lineup, including the first start for teenage midfielder Pogba. He's seen action in the Red Devils' previous Carling Cup victories and will look to showcase his highly-regarded potential from the opening whistle.
Player To Watch for Crystal Palace: GK Lewis Price
All four of Price's starts this season have come in the Carling Cup. He's only conceded two goals on 24 shots and will likely be between the pipes again. If the Eagles have any hope of even keeping it close against United, Price will need to stand tall.
Key Matchup: Red Devils defender Rafael vs. Eagles offensive attack
Rafael has recovered from shoulder issues and finally appears ready to make his return to Sir Alex Ferguson's lineup. He played in 29 games last campaign and will be charged with slowing down a Crystal Palace offense that has scored two goals in every Carling Cup game.
What They're Saying
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick thinks continuing the team's Carling Cup success will help them maintain momentum, while also giving some younger players a chance to shine. Via Manutd.com:
This year there are still big teams left in it. Certain years in the past, there have been a few lesser teams. This competition is very strong. Come the quarter-finals you take it seriously, of course you do. We are not taking Crystal Palace lightly. It is just an opportunity to be successful and keep our run going.
Dougie Freedman, the manager of Crystal Palace, has to perform a juggling act with his starting lineup because the Eagles have another important game two days later against Derby. Via ESPNsoccernet:
'We've got to take into account that 48 hours later we are playing Derby live on the television, so we've got to make sure we are also prepared for the quick turnaround,' said Freedman. 'I will be very shocked if 20 players don't get some game-time over the next two matches. I will be mixing both teams around to give me the best opportunity to win both games.'
Prediction: Manchester United 3, Crystal Palace 0