Manchester United could be about to prove Patrick Vieira right ahead of Crystal Palace fixture – Manchester Evening News

Man United travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Wednesday evening.
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Manchester United will have ambitions of moving to within six points of Premier League table-toppers Arsenal when they travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening.
The Reds, who were beaten 1-0 by Palace on the final day of last season, will leapfrog both Newcastle United and Manchester City in the standings with another three-point haul, lifting them up to second. United briefly moved up to third after their 2-1 win over City on Saturday, but Newcastle's 1-0 win over Fulham just over 24 hours later meant they reclaimed the position.
However, Erik ten Hag's side will move up to second, two points clear of City, if they beat Palace, meaning they will find themselves right in the thick of battle for the Premier League title, despite Arsenal still commanding a relatively healthy advantage at the summit. The two sides meet at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in what could be a gripping encounter.
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If United do prove victorious at Selhurst Park ahead of their showdown with the Gunners four days later, the meeting in north London will be dubbed as a gigantic clash in the race for the title. United have put together an excellent run in recent weeks, so much so that the main ambition of securing Champions League football this season has made way for title talk instead.
Although the Reds have had to overcome a series of challenges so far this season, both on and off the pitch, Ten Hag has overseen a fabulous job, guiding his side to 12 wins from their opening 18 league assignments this term. The trip to Palace, therefore, will mark the halfway stage in the campaign, meaning a victory would undoubtedly secure United's place in the title race, even though Arsenal remain heavy favourites to lift the crown.
Nevertheless, it is somewhat fitting that United could cement their place in the race for the top prize against a Palace side whose manager, Patrick Vieira, tipped the Reds to be in the conversation this season. Ahead of the two sides going head-to-head in Melbourne during pre-season back in July, Vieira, who is no stranger to United and their supporters from his playing days with Arsenal, addressed what he thought would be the Reds' aims for the coming season, admitting that he expected them to target the title.
"It looks like the new manager starts to implement way he wants team to play," said Vieira, speaking back in the summer. "Look at the individual talent in that team.
"United used to play to win the Premier League. I think this year they will be there trying to qualify for the Champions League or win the title."
Despite Vieira's confidence about United's chances of returning to the summit of English football this season, Ten Hag has approached the subject much more cautiously in recent weeks, refusing to get carried away by his side's recent run of form. However, Raphael Varane, following the win over City, refused to rule out the prospect of United entering the conversation.
"Everything is possible," said the Frenchman. "We'll just take it game by game. It's a long way to go and it's very difficult.
"The intensity of every game is incredible, the physical effort. It's like the same intensity of a big Champions (League) game every game. The rhythm is very high. The players are very well prepared physically.
"We know how difficult it is. But we're solid; we're strong. We just need to use quality players with the ball."
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