Patrick Vieira will once again be without one of his standout performers as Crystal Palace look to spoil the party at Old Trafford with interim Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick set to take charge of his first game as United boss against the Eagles.
Speaking to the media on Friday, Palace assistant Osian Roberts explained that the 34-year-old was making progress but the United game would be too early, dealing another setback to the Eagles.
“James is looking good in training, but at the moment this game is too early for him”, said Roberts.
Prior to McArthur’s absence, Vieira’s side had only lost two matches in 11 outings, both of which were against title-challenging sides in Chelsea and Liverpool.
Since then, the South London club have drawn 3-3 at Burnley and lost back-to-back games against Aston Villa and Leeds United going into Sunday’s tricky test at Old Trafford.
Joachim Andersen and Nathan Ferguson remain sidelined whilst right-back Joel Ward will also miss out through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season at Elland Road.
In the words of Thomas Tuchel, fellow midfielder Connor Gallagher has been “quality” since joining on loan from Chelsea and Cheikhou Kouyaté is currently averaging a per match rating of 6.88 according to SofaScore. Thus, once McArthur is available again, it would seem most likely that Jefferey Schlupp would be the one to be withdrawn from the side.
It’s promising news for Palace fans that McArthur is reportedly close to a return ahead of a hectic festive period, however, they will be without their reliable asset in what is set to be a tricky test against Manchester United on Sunday. For that reason, they will understandably be gutted.