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.

West Ham United 2-1 Liverpool: Ogbonna strikes after 120 minutes

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09:  Jordon Ibe of Liverpool takes on Pedro Mba Obiang of West Ham United during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Replay match between West Ham United and Liverpool at Boleyn Ground on February 9, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Angelo Ogbonna is now an FA Cup hero.

Two sides willing to move the ball and attack produced a fine FA Cup tie on Tuesday at the Boleyn Ground, with Ogbonna heading home the match-winner in the 121st minute of play for a 2-1 win.

Michail Antonio scored a first-half goal for West Ham before Philippe Coutinho equalized for the visiting Reds.

[ WATCH: Coutinho’s cheeky free kick ties the score ]

All told, West Ham heads to Ewood Park for a fifth-round date with Blackburn Rovers. Peterborough United hosts West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday to sort out the fourth round’s other replay.

Liverpool played a more second-string set than the home side.

Brilliance met brilliance in the 38th minute, as Dimitri Payet struck a gorgeous dipping free kick over the wall only to see Mignolet get the slightest touch to help the ball crank off the goal post. Cheikhou Kouyate failed to scissor kick the rebound, and Mignolet flew back into the picture to parry Antonio’s header.

Antonio would get his glory next, as Enner Valencia took Payet’s pass and dribbled through the left side of the 18 and toward the end line before crossing the ball. Antonio let the ball sink to hip height before volleying home. 1-0, 45′.

There were three goal posts struck in the first half.

[ MORE: American takeover at Everton update

[ MORE: Recapping Week 25 in the PL ]

Coutinho scored on a clever free kick from the edge of the 18, betting on the wall jumping and cheekily rolling his shot under it and past Hammers keeper Darren Randolph.

Christian Benteke started and nearly finished a 56th minute chance inside the box, but his shot was blocked.

West Ham should’ve been awarded a penalty when Tiago Ilori pulled down Valencia in the box. Roger East didn’t see it that way.

[ MORE: Chelsea’s Courtois says FA Cup or UEFA Champions League final a must ]

The match went to extra time after eight minutes of second-half stoppage time.

Mignolet made a solid flying stop on Mark Noble in the first frame of extra time. At the other end, Benteke struck a low chance wide of the right post. Moments later, Randolph came out to thwart Benteke on a breakaway.

If anyone needed a reminder of Daniel Sturridge‘s skill, the late sub let fly with a 108th minute bullet that missed the goal by inches.

Then Lucas Leiva gave up a free kick just as two minutes of extra time stoppage began, and Ogbonna struck.

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Randolph, O’Brien (Moses, 83′), Reid (Collins, 64′), Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyate (Carroll, 76′), Noble, Obiang, Antonio, Valencia, Payet.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Flanagan, Stewart, Tiago Ilori, Smith, Teixeira (Origi, 60′), Lucas, Chirivella (Milner, 102′), Ibe, Benteke, Coutinho (Sturridge, 60′).

WATCH: Liverpool’s Coutinho bewitches West Ham with cheeky free kick

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09: Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool scores from a free-kick during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Replay match between West Ham United and Liverpool at Boleyn Ground on February 9, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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Philippe Coutinho has some gumption.

Liverpool’s Brazilian wizard tied things up with West Ham United in Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at the Boleyn Ground, and did it in style.

[ MORE: Courtois says FA Cup or Champions League final a must ]

With a free kick from just outside the 18, Coutinho thought West Ham would expect he’d hit a ball that would get up quick before dipping after the wall.

They’d jump, he figured, and he’d roll it under the wall. He was correct (video courtesy Fox Soccer):

USWNT’s Solo says Zika fears could make her skip the Olympics

Hope Solo attends the premiere of "He Named Me Malala" at The Ziegfeld Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
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As it stands, Hope Solo would skip the Olympics if fears over the Zika virus don’t subside in Brazil.

It’s been speculated that Zika increases the odds of certain birth defects, and Solo said playing in the Olympics is not worth risking future pregnancies.

[ MORE: American takeover at Everton update

With CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying heading to NBC Live Extra at 8:30 p.m. ET Wednesday against Costa Rica (All games of the tournament will be streamed on Live Extra), Solo is set to star between the sticks for the USWNT.

But in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, the 34-year-old netminder is far from ready to commit to the tournament.

She went as far as to say she wouldn’t go if the tournament was today, elaborating in this story from SI.com:

“I would never take the risk of having an unhealthy child,” said Solo, 34. “I don’t know when that day will come for Jerramy and me, but I personally reserve my right to have a healthy baby. No athlete competing in Rio should be faced with this dilemma. Female professional athletes already face many different considerations and have to make choices that male professional athletes don’t.”

Brazilian officials claim there will be minimal risk by the Summer Games because of the change in season, but that won’t alleviate all the concerns of female athletes. It will certainly be interesting to monitor how the situation develops in the coming months.

Chelsea’s Courtois says FA Cup or Champions League final a must

Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea FC
Brian Westerholt/AP Images for International Champions Cup
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Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is used to big matches, whether at Stamford Bridge, with the Belgian national team or during his loan to Atletico Madrid.

[ SPORTSWORLD: Courtois “standing tall” at Chelsea ]

If he doesn’t get one or two of those contests by the end of this season, a bad season will become an utter failure.

Courtois says it’s a long way to the Top Four, but Chelsea hasn’t given up on that hope. Regardless, he’s targeting wins over Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain in the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, respectively.

From ChelseaFC.com:

“After that we play in the Champions League and FA Cup against two great sides and we have to try to win those games because the only way to save our season is to reach the final in one or both of them.”

Chelsea’s star has fallen this year, but this is still largely the team that won the Premier League last season. Courtois’ goals are not unreasonable.