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.

“Emotional” Mertesacker: Send Wenger off “with a cup”

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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has made 220 appearances for the club, all with one man in charge of the Gunners: Arsene Wenger.

[ MORE: The latest Arsene Wenger news ]

Mertesacker has won three FA Cups with Wenger, and he took up his pen — or laptop — for Sunday’s Matchday program.

The 33-year-old German says it’s down to Arsenal’s players to send off Wenger right: With two more successful rounds in the UEFA Europa League against Atletico Madrid and either Red Bull Salzburg or Marseille. From the BBC:

“We were only informed on Friday about the manager’s decision to step down at the end of the season, so it’s still quite emotional,” Mertesacker said.

“He’s been the major figure of this club for more than 20 years. He’s been so impressive for me and he has trusted me so much throughout my career, in bringing me here and making me captain even when I was injured. He also gave me a future role here at the club so I am very grateful and humbled for the opportunity he gave to me.

“There’s now an emphasis on us doing it for him too. We want to give him the send-off he deserves: with a cup.”

The French legend to end his time at Arsenal against Marseille would be delightful, don’t you think?

Watch Live: Arsenal-West Ham, Stoke-Burnley

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The Premier League has a pair of 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday kickoffs for us this morning, including one of Arsene Wenger‘s final matches at Arsenal.

There’s a London Derby between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners look to stay fresh for Atletico Madrid and the Hammers aim to firm up their Premier League status for next season (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Ramsey, Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette. Subs: Macey, Mertesacker, Holding, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Nelson. Aubameyang.

West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Rice, Cresswell, Masuaku, Kouyate, Noble, Fernandes, Mario, Arnautovic. Subs: Adrian, Cullen, Evra, Lanzini, Hugill, Carroll, Chicharito.


Stoke City’s climb out of the relegation zone will have to overcome Burnley’s desires for a Top Six place, as the Clarets can pass sixth place Arsenal with a win and a Gunners loss to West Ham (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Butland; Johnson, Shawcross, M.Indi, Pieters; Bauer, Allen, Badou, Shaqiri; Crouch, Diouf. Subs: Haugaard, Zouma, Ireland, Cameron, Fletcher, Ramadan, Campbell.

Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson, Wood, Barnes. Subs: Heaton, Taylor, Marney, Vokes, Hendrick, Walters, Bardsley.

Ligue 1: Depay’s goal streak hits 5 games; Lyon reeling in Monaco

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MONACO (AP) Lyon won at Dijon 5-2 and moved within one point of second-place Monaco in the French league on Friday.

Lyon’s sixth straight league win kept them level on points with fourth-place Marseille.

The team finishing second qualifies automatically for next season’s Champions League, while the team in third goes into the playoffs. After this weekend, there will be four rounds remaining.

Memphis Depay has scored or created 12 of Lyon’s 16 last goals.

The Netherlands forward opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a close-range volley, and set up the fourth goal for winger Bertrand Traore in the 77th.

Depay almost scored another, just failing to reach right back Rafael‘s cross in the 50th. Midfielder Houssem Aouar followed up and his strike was turned into his own net by defender Valentin Rosier.

Lyon’s other goals came from forwards Nabil Fekir in the 53rd and Maxwell Cornet in the 82nd.


MONACO (AP) — After losing the French title last weekend, Monaco is in danger of throwing away second place after losing at Guingamp 3-1 on Saturday.

The defeat leaves Monaco just one point ahead of Lyon and Marseille as the three sides chase an automatic place in the Champions League with four games left.

Monaco was thrashed by champion Paris Saint-Germain 7-1 last Sunday and the defense leaked easily again, albeit with a little help from one of its defenders.

A makeshift Monaco fell behind midway through the first half after Brazilian defender Jemerson was given a red card for stopping a shot on the line. He was sent off and veteran forward Jimmy Briand netted from the penalty spot for mid-table Guingamp.

Monaco capitulated and trailed 3-0 after 47 minutes. Defender Almamy Toure replied in vain with a consolation goal midway through the second half.


Marseille crushed Lille 5-1 to join Lyon on 69 points. Lyon, which won at Dijon 5-2 on Friday for a sixth straight win, has a better goal difference.

Marseille also has the Europa League and plays the first leg of its semifinal at home to Austrian side Salzburg next Thursday. But Lyon has only Ligue 1 to think about.

Still, Marseille is also brimming with confidence these days, especially winger Florian Thauvin.

He scored twice against Lille to extend his career-best league tally to 19. Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou also netted twice, and forward Lucas Ocampos completed the rout against 19th-place Lille.

In other matches: Amiens won against Strasbourg 3-1; struggling Toulouse beat Angers 2-0, and last-place Metz drew at home to Caen 1-1.

PSG is at Bordeaux on Sunday. Also, Nice is at home to Montpellier, and Saint-Etienne takes on Troyes.

UEFA says Europa League trophy not damaged after being stolen

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) UEFA says the Europa League trophy was not damaged after being stolen in Mexico.

The silverware was at a promotional event in the central city of Leon when it was reported by authorities to have been taken from a vehicle.

The theft came ahead of the semifinals of Europe’s second-tier club competition.

UEFA says the “Europa League trophy was in Mexico for a partner event and got briefly stolen. It was quickly recovered and has suffered no damages.”

In the semifinal first legs next week, Arsenal plays Atletico Madrid and Marseille takes on Salzburg.