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.”

Prediction

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.

David Moyes charged by FA for “slap” comments

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Sunderland manager David Moyes has been charged by the English Football Association after he was filmed telling a female BBC reporter “you still might get a slap even though you’re a woman,” and warned her to “be careful” the next time she came to their Stadium of Light home.

[ MORE: Barton banned 18 months ]

Moyes, 53, has since apologized for the outburst which occurred after a post-match interview following Sunderland’s 0-0 draw with Burnley. He believed the cameras had stopped rolling but his comments were filmed on a cell phone.

The Sunderland manager has his team rooted to the foot of the Premier League table, 12 points off safety with six games remaining.

Below is the statement in full from The FA:

David Moyes has been charged in relation to comments made after the game against Burnley on 18 March 2017.

It is alleged the Sunderland manager’s remarks were improper and/or threatening and/or brought the game into disrepute, contrary to FA Rule E3(1).  He has until 6pm on 3 May 2017 to reply to the charge.

Joey Barton banned for 18 months amid betting scandal

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Burnley midfielder Joey Barton has been banned for 18 months from all soccer related activity with immediate effect.

The English Football Association have issued the ban after Barton, 34, accepted the charge but requested a personal hearing. Barton admitted to placing 1,260 bets on soccer games over a 10-year period.

Here is the statement in full from the FA about the charge.

Joey Barton has been suspended from football and all football activity for 18 months with immediate effect after he admitted an FA misconduct charge in relation to betting.

It was alleged that between 26 March 2006 and 13 May 2016, he placed 1,260 bets on the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in, football matches or competitions in breach of FA Rule E8.

Following the Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, the Burnley midfielder was also fined £30,000 and warned as to his future conduct. Written Reasons will follow in due course.

Burnley released a short statement saying that “Joey Barton plans to appeal the length of this suspension” and the former Manchester City, Newcastle and Rangers midfielder issued a lengthy statement stating just that.

He also offered plenty of context into his hearing as he believes he was treated harshly by the FA.

“I am very disappointed at the harshness of the sanction. The decision effectively forces me into an early retirement from playing football. To be clear from the outset here this is not match fixing and at no point in any of this is my integrity in question. I accept that I broke the rules governing professional footballers, but I do feel the penalty is heavier than it might be for other less controversial players. I have fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem.

“I’m disappointed it wasn’t taken into proper consideration. I think if the FA is truly serious about tackling the culture of gambling in football, it needs to look at its own dependence on the gambling companies, their role in football and in sports broadcasting, rather than just blaming the players who place a bet.

“Having consulted with my friends and lawyers, I have decided I will be appealing against the length of the ban. I hope that I shall be afforded a fair hearing by an independent Appeal Panel. If I am, we are confident that the sanction will be reduced to a fair one that both reflects the offences as well as the mitigating factors and the fact that there was nothing untoward or suspicious about the bets I made.

Barton also admitted that between 2004 and 2011 he placed “a handful of bets on my own team to lose matches” and tried to defend his actions, saying he had no way of influencing the outcome of those matches. The Liverpudlian also stated that he grew up in a culture of gambling and wants the FA to do more to help players from similar backgrounds.

At the bottom of his statement he also listed 30 of the “most pertinent bets” for the FA as he tries to be as transparent as possible.

Barton last played in midfield for Burnley — he re-signed for the Clarets in January after leaving Glasgow Rangers following a disastrous six-month spell in Scotland — last Sunday against Manchester United and that could well have been his final game as a professional if he does not get the length of this ban cut down.

The controversial midfielder has previously been banned three times by the FA for violent conduct, while he also spent time in prison in 2008 for an assault on a night out in Liverpool and was also handed a four-month suspended sentence after assaulting Man City teammate Ousmane Dabo on the training ground.

Newcastle, West Ham raided as HMRC make arrests

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Both Newcastle United and West Ham United are at the center of a huge fraud investigation by tax authorities in the UK.

HMRC released a statement on Wednesday saying that 180 officers had been deployed across the UK and France and that it had arrested “several men working within the professional football industry.”

Financial and business records, cell phones and computers were seized in the raids which is in relation to income tax and national insurance fraud.

In a statement HMRC had the following to say about the ongoing investigation.

“180 HMRC officers have been deployed across the UK and France today. Investigators have searched a number of premises in the North East and South East of England and arrested the men and also seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones.

“The French authorities are assisting the UK investigation, have made arrests and several locations have been searched in France. This criminal investigation sends a clear message that, whoever you are, if you commit tax fraud you can expect to face the consequences. As this is an ongoing investigation HMRC is unable to provide any further detail at this time.”

Unconfirmed reports state that Lee Charnley, the managing director of Newcastle United, was arrested during raids on the training ground and St James’ Park.

West Ham released the following statement following the raid on their London Stadium home early on Wednesday.

“The clubs is cooperating fully with HMRC to assist their inquiries. No further comment will be made at this time.”

HMRC has recently stepped up its investigations into the tax paid by soccer clubs on lucrative transfer fees and image rights.

Wenger: Sanchez, Giroud will both be with Arsenal next year

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Arsene Wenger thinks Alexis Sanchez will sign a new deal at Arsenal this summer, whether the manager changes or not.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s visit from Leicester City, Wenger did not offer any clues as to his future with the club. He also said it does not hinge on how the Gunners finish the current campaign, and that he is working on transfers for the benefit of Arsenal regardless of his future.

[ MORE: Will Real open door for Barca? ]

That’s no surprise, given his reputation and fidelity to the club. What may surprise some is Wenger’s confidence that Sanchez will stay at the Emirates Stadium.

From Sky Sports:

“I personally think he will stay and sign. First of all he is happy here, his desire is to stay, that is what I deeply believe.

“I don’t think you would sell him to any Premier League club, that is for sure. The question is why would you sell him to another club? You want to be as strong as you can be and not strengthen the other teams.”

Wenger said both sides want to work out a deal and that the hold-up resides in agent-related matters. He also said Arsenal does not have interest in selling Olivier Giroud, who backed Wenger just over a month ago.