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Could Manchester United be fined for Palace game?

Saturday 20th May 2017
We all remember Mick McCarthy weakening his Wolverhampton Wanderers side for their visit to Old Trafford in 2010 as the stubborn manager boldly claimed he would be happy to make 10 changes again that season - we all knew he wanted to rest key players against an in-form Manchester United side who were heavy favourites to win on home soil.

Sir Alex Ferguson himself also drew criticism on many occasions for playing reserve and academy players at the tail end of the season when there was nothing left to play for, but was it ever justified abuse? Shouldn't younger players be offered the chance to play against senior Premier League opposition without the pressure of winning weighing on their shoulders?

Which brings me on to the crux of the matter: Jose Mourinho has confirmed he will play nine players from his reserve and academy squads in the game against Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon along with three our four first team players in the mix throughout the game. United have nothing to play for in the Premier League so his decision seems justified ahead of the Europa League final on Wednesday night.

However, Crystal Palace has a lot to play for as they could finish anywhere between 16th and 11th in the table. It doesn't sound like much for Sam Allardyce's side but 11th place is worth a whopping £9.65 million more in prize money than 16th. Big Sam must be rubbing his hands together at the prospect of facing an almost entirely teenage Manchester United XI.

With such a vast amount of money on offer depending on the result, and others on the day, the FA will surely have no option but to fine Manchester United for trying to corrupt the final standings of the Premier League table. A full-strength Manchester United squad, accounting for injuries and suspensions, would give Palace a game that would most likely end in a draw given the Red Devils' run this season. Weakening the team opens the door to three points Palace might not have secured otherwise.

There is still a chance that we'll be proven wrong by the youthful United squad as there are some very impressive talents within the ranks of the academy but Mourinho may still have a valid excuse for the FA if they do decide to impose a fine.

Most of the players Mourinho has suggested will start against Palace have either appeared for United this season or secured a place on the bench for at least one game. Keeper Joel Pereira was a late substitute earlier in the season, Scott McTominay also featured recently along with Tuanzebe, Fosu-Mensah and Messrs Harrop, O'Hara, Mitchell and Angel Gomes have travelled to games if not made the bench.

It's a very tenuous excuse to try and use for the Portuguese but it could be the only way to avoid a fine for the club. Manchester United can no doubt afford the expense of an FA fine but the club's card has been marked enough this season without the threat of further sanction.
Kristian Webb
A Manchester United fan who actually knows where Manchester is; I'm the chief writer for AccumulatorTips, ForzaSwansea and a contributor to WhatCulture's video game section. I'm a professional proofreader, content author and SEO Expert but that doesn't mean there won't be the odd grammatical error!

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