Premier League Preview: Manchester United v. Everton

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  • Wayne Rooney has now scored 149 Premier League goals for Man Utd. Only Thierry Henry has scored more (175) for a single club (Arsenal)
  • Manchester United have conceded 20 goals in their last 10 Premier League away games, failing to keep a clean sheet in any of them.
  • Romelu Lukaku is one of only three players to score a Premier League hat-trick against Manchester United (after Dirk Kuyt and David Bentley).

With both clubs in the midst of impressive unbeaten streaks Wednesday’s clash between Manchester United and Everton (watch live at 2:45pm ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) promises to be a belter.

Last season Everton shocked United when Marouane Fellaini’s header handed the Toffees all three points. One year later and the Belgian big man has switched allegiances, turning in his Everton blue for Manchester red. Thus far Fellaini has struggled to fit in with the champions but patience is crucial for any player making the jump from a medium to big sized club.

Fortunately, David Moyes has made the same switch and under the Scot’s tutelage, Fellaini is in good hands. Whether the United gaffer decides to start Fellaini against his former club will serve as a huge point of intrigue in this fixture. If he does get the call, he’ll have his hands full helping ensure fellow countrymen Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas, as well as young guns Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu, stay quiet.

Everton enter the match having pounded Stoke City 4-0 on the weekend, one week after a stellar 3-3 draw in the Merseyside Derby. The seven goal splurge was a welcome site for Evertonians, who began to sweat after two straight nil-nil draws, against Crystal Palace and Tottenham, respectively.

Manchester United drew 2-2 with Tottenham at White Hart Lane, one week after a buzzsaw 1-1 draw with Cardiff and a stellar 1-0 victory over league leaders Arsenal. With Robin van Persie sidelined, Wayne Rooney continues to impress in front of an increasingly average looking side.

Of the 84 times these two sides have faced each other in the league, United have been dominant winning 48, drawing 21 and losing only 15. Whether Fellaini and Moyes will be able to guide the Red Devils to continued success against their former club has fans on the edge of their seat in intrigue.

What They’re Saying

Manchester United manager David Moyes: “I’m concerned we’re not as close as we’d like to be [to Arsenal] but it’s a long season and hopefully we’ll be there or thereabouts. There are a lot of games to go. I think the Premier League is tight and we’ll try to stay on the shirt-tails and put ourselves in a good position at the start of next year.”

Everton manager Roberto Martinez: “Over the last 10 years we have not beaten Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool at their grounds and we need to address that. We need to make sure we are ourselves. We need to know how we are going to play and who we are. We are excited about going to Old Trafford.”

Prediction

This one has all the feel of an upset, with David Moyes looking on in bewilderment of having lost to his former, less financially able, club. Manchester United had no answer for Lukaku in the final match of last season when he scored a hat-trick. On Wednesday, I think the Belgian is the difference maker once again. Everton take down the mighty United in their own house.

Off-kilter Kane saves sloppy Spurs at Palace

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  • Tottenham goes fourth
  • Spurs with 76 percent possession
  • Kane scores late

Harry Kane made amends for an atypical day of sloppy finishing with an 89th minute winner as Tottenham Hotspur persisted to beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

The win gives Spurs 55 points, good for fourth in the Premier League before Chelsea faces Manchester United.

Palace remains 17th, behind Saints but ahead of Swans on goal differential. The Eagles are sorely missing Wilfried Zaha.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ben Davies was fouled in a bid to meet a back post free kick in the eighth minute, but no penalty was given and Palace cleared the corner as Spurs provided the first true scoring chance of the match.

Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey was at his left post for a fine save on Harry Kane in the 10th, as Patrick Van Aanholt lost the English superstar.

At the other end, Luka Milivojevic‘s free kick was headed into the arms of Hugo Lloris by James Tomkins. Lloris would deprive Christian Benteke of a finishing bid in the 16th minute, too.

A penalty was coming for Kane before the referee noticed the linesman’s raised flag and saved Timothy Fosu-Mensah from conceded the opportunity.

Palace made it to the locker room at 0-0, with Townsend hitting a low ball to Lloris before the break.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The second half began, and Spurs worked some chances to score that were lacking the appropriate finish. Both Kane and Christian Eriksen shanked attempts in the first five minutes.

A pair of gorgeous flicks from Serge Aurier and Eriksen met Kane near the back post, but the striker atypically missed what should’ve been an easy opener.

Palace thought Alexander Sorloth might’ve earned a penalty from Davinson Sanchez, but Spurs escaped punishment in the 63rd minute.

Hennessey continued to play his role, stopping from Aurier before extending fully to palm away Davies’ offering in the 73rd.

Dele Alli dove in a bid to win a penalty soon after the Davies denial, but had no success.

Kane found a moment of brilliance in the 83rd minute, but Benteke of all players slid to block the shot and Hennessey collected the ball.

Davies should’ve had an assist moments later, but Aurier tripped on the ball.

Kane dragged an 86th minute shot inches wide of the goal, and it just seemed unlikely to be Spurs day despite dominance on the ball.

Of course, that meant an off-balance Hennessey couldn’t get a hold of Kane’s header off an Eriksen free kick with 90 seconds remaining before stoppage time.

Watch Live: Manchester United vs. Chelsea

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It’s a big one, you know: Manchester United hosts Chelsea in a battle for table positioning on Sunday at Old Trafford (Watch live at 9:05 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Scrutinized summer signings Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata start at center forward for their respective sides.

Morata scored the lone goal when Chelsea beat United 1-0 in November.

Jose Mourinho has opted for Scott McTominay over Michael Carrick and Juan Mata in the midfield, while Anthony Martial gets the call over Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.

Chelsea will have Pedro and Olivier Giroud on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young, McTominay, Matic, Pogba, Alexis, Lukaku, Martial. Subs: Pereira, Bailly, Shaw, Carrick, Mata, Lingard, Rashford.

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Drinkwater, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Emerson, Fabregas, Pedro, Giroud.

Aubameyang says off-field criticism “goes over my head”

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The Daily Mirror posted a profile on Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang late Saturday, speaking with the Gabonese striker as well as a number of people in his life.

[ MORE: PL Saturday roundup ]

Most of the talk dealt with his obsession with soccer, which started as an admirer of his internationally-capped father, but the quotes getting attention come from Aubameyang and deal with his comfort as a flashy personality.

So for those wondering whether the 27-year-old is going to tame his off-field activities now that he’s moved to London, well, it’s unlikely.

Aubameyang has a bit of David Beckham in him, cognizant of his background and relishing his place in life.

“The clothes, the cars and all that are a bonus. I enjoy living this way. I like who I am and it doesn’t matter if other people can’t ­accept that – it goes over my head.

“As they say ‘you only live once’. It’s important to know where you come from and where your roots are – the rest is a big bonus.”

Any number of players, from Andy Carroll to Cristiano Ronaldo, have appreciated the very same things.

It’s not a big deal.

As long as on-field performances accompany them, any criticism is driven by envy or a need to attract a similar form of attention as the player himself.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur

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Crystal Palace could find itself back in the relegation zone with a heavy home defeat Saturday, and Tottenham Hotspur is certainly capable of providing such misery (Watch live at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Fosu-Mensah, Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Milivojevic, Riedewald, McArthur, Townsend, Sorloth, Benteke. Subs: Henry, Souare, Delaney, Rakip, Lokilo, Kirby, Lee.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (C), Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Wanyama, Dembele, Lamela, Eriksen, Dele, Kane. Subs: Vorm, Foyth, Trippier, Rose, Sissoko, Lucas, Son.