Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League

Preview: Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace

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  • Crystal Palace have never beaten Manchester United in eight Premier League meetings, losing six and drawing twice.
  • United have won 529 PL matches, compared to Crystal Palace’s 38.
  • Manchester United have failed to score in back-to-back Premier League games for the first-time since 2007.

David Moyes’ Manchester United side are angry. You probably won’t like them when they’re angry.

Their last Premier League outing resulted in a 1-0 defeat to fierce rivals Liverpool in the North West Derby on September 1. Cast your minds back to before the current international break started and you may remember that the Red Devils were struggling a little bit.

But a chance to put those early struggles behind them presents itself on Saturday against newly-promoted Crystal Palace (7:45am ET, watch live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra) as United aim to grab Moyes’ first-ever win at home.

The jury is still out on Moyes and many are already criticizing his ‘negative’ tactics that have seen United fail to score in their last two PL games, a 0-0 draw with Chelsea and a 1-0 loss to Liverpool.

But is that fair? Moyes has been in charge since the start of the summer but Sir Alex Ferguson’s shadow still looms large over the new Scottish manager in charge at Old Trafford.

Regardless United splashed the cash to bring in Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini for $42 million and the Belgian international is in line to make his United debut on Saturday.

As for Crystal Palace, manager Ian Holloway was seen doing a nice little jig as they beat Sunderland 3-1 in their last game as they registered their first points of the season after back-to-back wins to open the campaign. Holloway was busy in the transfer window, adding the likes of Jason Puncheon, Cameron Jerome, Adrian Mariappa and Barry Bannan to the Eagles squad.

That being said, Palace would snap your hand off if you offered them a draw before the daunting trip to Old Trafford.

Chris Smalling could replace Phil Jones at right back while Wayne Rooney won’t be rushed back from that nasty head injury, so expect Danny Welbeck to partner Robin van Persie up front. Palace have no new injury concerns and could start their plethora of new signings.

What they’re saying

David Moyes on Wayne Rooney’s injury: “He’s in great physical shape but obviously he’s got the cut right in the middle of his forehead which could split where the skin is very thin. He’s had the stitches out and it’s knitted well. We’ve just got to see where the level of risk is with his head injury.”

Ian Holloway on David Moyes succedding at United: “It is the end of a legend. Ferguson has left a legacy behind him. But David is a fantastic manager and he has decided that is what he wanted to do. It was an honour for him to get the job and good luck to him, but not this weekend. Only time will tell for all of us what we leave, the mark we leave at each club that we work for. I hope Dave leaves a fantastic mark on Manchester United. He has worked so hard, he deserves it and good luck to him, but I am more concerned about my team.”


It’s hard not to predict anything other than a resounding win for the Red Devils in this one. The teams pride will have been hurt by that defeat to Liverpool before the break and with Moyes keen to win at Old Trafford, I can see this United side being fired up. Palace had a great win against Sunderland and have signed some good players. But this is a huge step up in class for Holloway’s men. Manchester United to win by three or four.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.