Charlie Nicholas states his prediction for Crystal Palace v Man United

Charlie Nicholas is backing Manchester United to edge to a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace on Thursday night

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Photo: Screengrab)

Charlie Nicholas is tipping Manchester United to edge to a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Thursday night.

The Red Devils will be looking to make up ground on Chelsea FC after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side squandered a huge opportunity earlier this week to bolster their top-four prospects.

Manchester United had the chance to hoist themselves into the Premier League’s top four with a win against Southampton after Chelsea FC lost to Sheffield United and Leicester City suffered a defeat at Bournemouth.

The 20-time English champions managed to cancel out Stuart Armstrong’s early opener thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to leave the Red Devils on the cusp of three points and a place in the top four.

However, Southampton forward Michael Obafemi came off the bench to net a dramatic equaliser deep into injury time to deny Manchester United three crucial points in their pursuit of Champions League football.

Manchester United will start their clash against Crystal Palace four points behind Chelsea FC after Frank Lampard’s side cemented their place in the top four courtesy of a 1-0 win against Norwich City on Tuesday night.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be facing a Crystal Palace outfit that have lost their last five games in the Premier League.

Sky Sports pundit Nicholas is backing Manchester United to beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Thursday night.

“It is normally tough to go to Selhurst Park, and it will be again here, despite the fact Crystal Palace have lost five on the bounce,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.

“Palace are a team that could easily lose their next three games and end the season having lost eight in a row. Palace do go through the motions, but Manchester United are coming to town and they will fancy it.

“Roy Hodgson needs a centre forward. They scored two against Chelsea, one of which was a spectacular goal from Wilfried Zaha, but they do not look like they have a lot in them. Is he going to get the money to go out and buy someone? You could sell Christian Benteke for decent money as someone in Europe would want him.”

Nicholas added: “Maybe there will be some significance to this match. Hodgson will be angry and wanting a response from his side. They could have been challenging for Europe but now they are in 14th and everyone is saying the same thing again. There is a lot for them to prove.

“United started brilliantly after the break, but they were all games they were expected to win as they pushed on for a Champions League place. They do need to get back to winning ways, and while Palace will cause them problems, with the emphasis on this being a must-win for United, I think they will get there.”

Manchester United will be in FA Cup action on Sunday afternoon when the Red Devils take on their top-four rivals Chelsea FC in the semi-finals at Wembley.

The Red Devils will complete their Premier League season with games against West Ham United and Leicester.

Manchester United will take on Austrian side LASK in their Europa League round of 16 clash on Wednesday 5 August.

MORE: Latest Manchester United news and views

MORE: Football transfer rumours and gossip

Gossip
Fabrizio Romano
Fabrizio Romano: Man United have discussed signing Jurrien Timber from Ajax
Gossip
Mikel Arteta
David Ornstein names six potential summer transfer targets for Arsenal
Gossip
Fabrizio Romano
Fabrizio Romano: Arsenal 'more than interested' in signing Youri Tielemans
Michael Owen
Michael Owen reveals his prediction for Liverpool FC v Real Madrid
Gossip
Thomas Tuchel
Reporter: Thomas Tuchel wants Chelsea FC to sign Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig
Gossip
Fabrizio Romano
Fabrizio Romano: Man United have discussed signing Jurrien Timber from Ajax
Gossip
Mikel Arteta
David Ornstein names six potential summer transfer targets for Arsenal
Gossip
Fabrizio Romano
Fabrizio Romano: Arsenal 'more than interested' in signing Youri Tielemans
Michael Owen
Michael Owen reveals his prediction for Liverpool FC v Real Madrid
Gossip
Thomas Tuchel
Reporter: Thomas Tuchel wants Chelsea FC to sign Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig
Slideshow
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature