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.”

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.

Hull City promoted, but Steve Bruce still considering future

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28:  Steve Bruce, manager of Hull City lifts the trophy after victory in the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final match between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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Steve Bruce saw Hull City go down to the Championship, and pulled the Tigers right back up the Premier League.

Hull won promotion at the first time of asking after defeating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 on Saturday, but Bruce wants to see stability at the KC Stadium.

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The club remains up for sale after owner Assem Allam saw his request to change the team name to Hull Tigers denied by the English Football Association.

From the BBC:

“I’ll sit down with the owners. It’s not often you walk away from the Premier League – that’s where I want to manage,” Bruce told BBC Radio 5 live.

“But I have to be given certain assurances that we’re all moving in the right direction.

“I keep hearing too many stories that there’s a takeover imminent. We’ll see what develops,” added the 55-year-old.

The longtime Manchester United back has been around the managerial block a few times, and it’d be nice to see him stay at Hull for the long term. He’s led the Tigers into the Premier League on two occasions, and is — seriously — the seventh longest tenured manager in the Football League. He would enter the Premier League as the second-longest serving manager, to Arsene Wenger.

BREAKING: Olympiacos striker Pulido kidnapped in Mexico

DRENTHE, NETHERLANDS - JULY 29:  Alan Pulido of Olympiacos in action during the pre season friendly match between FC Twente and Olympiacos Piraeus held at Sportpark Veenoord on July 29, 2015 in New Amsterdam and Veenoord, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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Terrifying news out of Mexico, where 25-year-old Mexican national team striker Alan Pulido has reportedly been kidnapped in his hometown.

Pulido, 25, has four goals in six caps for El Tri and moved to Olympiacos in 2015, where he scored five goals in eight matches.

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Various reports claim that Pulido and his girlfriend were taken after masked gunmen cut off the vehicle in which they were riding, and only released the girlfriend.

From the Associated Press:

The official says the 25-year-old player was kidnapped near his hometown of Ciudad Victoria on Sunday after leaving a party.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case under investigation.

Klinsmann hails Zardes’ character; USMNT forward likes his first touch

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 29:  Gyasi Zardes #9 of the United States Men's National Team controls the ball against Guatemala during the FIFA 2018  World Cup qualifier on March 29, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The United States defeated Guatemala 4-0.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Gyasi Zardes’ remarkable rise from Cal State Bakersfield to fixture on the United States men’s national team is one of the better stories in recent team history.

The USMNT attacker nabbed his fourth and fifth international goals in Saturday night’s blowout of Bolivia, and he’s up to 25 caps since making his debut in Jan. 2015.

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Jurgen Klinsmann deserves some credit for putting the L.A. Galaxy on the field almost religiously as Zardes works on so many facets of his game. He’s improved dramatically in positioning, runs and 1v1 battles and reportedly soaks up information like a sponge. Klinsmann loves the guy, and for good reason.

It’s also important to note that, despite his ever-present status, Zardes remains 24 and a work in progress.

From MLSSoccer.com:

“Sometimes it’s perfect, and maybe the next day it’s not so good, but it’s totally fine – because every player has his strengths and weaknesses. So as long as they keep on working on those weaknesses and getting them better and better, it’s totally fine. He’s very straight in his thought process in front of the goal. He knows exactly what he wants to do.

“You have to follow your first thought. That’s crucial. If you start to have two thoughts, then you’re going to get messed up. He was very calm, putting two goals in there, and the whole game he was involved. It’s coming along.”

Zardes’ club goal production dropped last year from roughly a goal every other game to one every three, but he’s been growing as a playmaer and this season has four goals and four assists through 11 matches.

I really like Zardes — see my post calling for his USMNT call-up in 2014 — but let me say one negative thing about his bristling at first touch questions and saying, “To be honest, me personally, I think I have a good first touch”: I’m glad he feels that way and his woes may be a bit overblown, but calling his Saturday goals first touch goals is accurate but kind of hilarious.

The criticism of his first touch, which his betrayed him on major scoring chances in each of the last two USMNT matches, has nothing to do when his first touch is directed at goal. On his brace last night, the first was a good finish where he had to work it past the keeper and the second was a plant foot shot. Both, in fact, were shots.

Those count as your first touch on the ball, but when we discuss first touch it’s about taking the ball off a pass or dribble and possessing it for a purpose. Of course he was right to shoot, but it’s cool if your eyes rolled pretty hard in reading his comments.

Koeman: Manchester United “don’t deserve a medal” for treatment of Louis van Gaal

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20:  Louis van Gaal, Manager of  Manchester United talks to Ronald Koeman, Manager of Southampton during the  Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium on September 20, 2015 in Southampton, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
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When it comes to the firing of Louis Van Gaal, his countryman has his back.

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman doesn’t like the way Manchester United handled LVG’s fate with the team, firing him within hours of the Red Devils winning the FA Cup.

Like many, Koeman doesn’t buy that the LVG to Jose Mourinho transition happened in a week.

[ MORE: Early and (purposefully) absurd 2016-17 PL predictions ]

Given the gossip mill since Chelsea fired Mourinho in January, that’s not a hard thing to buy, and Koeman is angry that LVG was kept out of the loop. Reports claim that Van Gaal had drawn-up plans for 2016-17 with him on the day he was let go.

From Sky Sports:

“If Louis was not told about getting the sack until after the FA Cup final, then Manchester United as a club don’t deserve a medal for the way they treated him.

“If you know a little bit about the business at the highest level in football, then you know that these kind of deals are not done overnight.”

Koeman hedges his words with conditionals, but there’s little doubt what he means. Managers generally stand together when it comes to dismissals, but it’s nice to see someone stand up for LVG’s treatment (whether he deserved to be canned or not).