Manchester United host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday desperately needing a victory to stay in touch with the leading teams.
Jose Mourinho’s side are 12 points behind leaders Manchester City after their 3-1 defeat against their local rivals before the international break.
United played well in patches against City, although the home side’s greater quality eventually shone through.
That result has given United a mountain to climb in the title race and it may well be that the club now focuses on Champions League qualification rather than catching City at the top.
A seven-point gap to fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur shouldn’t be insurmountable, but United need to string together a run of victories sooner rather than later.
The Red Devils are priced at 4/11 to win the Palace game and punters can check this out and other markets ahead of the match.
United produced a dominant performance when the two sides met at Old Trafford last season, with goals by Marouane Fellaini (2), Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku securing a comfortable 4-0 victory.
They found things in tougher at Selhurst Park later in the campaign, recovering from 2-0 down to snatch a 3-2 success courtesy of Nemanja Matic’s stoppage time goal.
United have now lost just one of their last 25 meetings with Palace in all competitions and they will be eager to extend that run this weekend.
Mourinho’s side are back in action the following Tuesday as they welcome Young Boys to Old Trafford in the Champions League.
United’s 2-1 victory against Juventus in their last game boosted their chances of reaching the last 16 and another three points against the Swiss side could see them progress.
A win for United coupled with a victory for Juve over Valencia on the same night would secure a spot in the knockout stage and take the pressure off the final game group game in Spain.
With seven league fixtures scheduled during December, United are heading into what could be a pivotal time for their hopes of success this season.
Games against Southampton (A), Arsenal (H), Fulham (H), Liverpool (A), Cardiff City (A), Huddersfield Town (H) and Bournemouth (H) offer an excellent opportunity to build some momentum and a 17 or 18-point return during December shouldn’t be beyond United.
That would put a different slant on United’s season and if Mourinho is allowed to strengthen his squad, particularly in defence, the club could yet go on to enjoy a successful campaign.