Britain Soccer Premier League

Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Newcastle

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  • Manchester United has a firm grasp on the all-time series, having won more than half of the matches with a 72-36-34 record.
  • Wayne Rooney will miss the fixture after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.
  • Newcastle hasn’t won at Manchester United since 1972.

Foul moods should abound when Newcastle United march into Old Trafford for a Saturday’s tilt with Manchester United (Watch live on NBCSN 7:45am ET and online via NBC Sports Live Extra).

One loss in 13 shouldn’t be a big deal, even for a massive club like Manchester United, but a 1-0 defeat that signaled the end of home dominance of Everton is resounding in Manchester. Throw in that the loss came to manager David Moyes former club, a Toffees team currently five points ahead in the table, and life is noisy for the Red Devils.

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Meanwhile, Newcastle is coming off their first defeat in five matches, a 3-0 loss at Swansea that did not come without controversy. Alan Pardew was hot with referee Howard Webb after multiple penalty calls went unheeded and Jonjo Shelvey, sitting on yellow, went unscathed after appearing to launch his head at Mathieu Debuchy.

Still the plaudits continue to roll in from Newcastle’s unbeaten November, with Tim Krul and Alan Pardew honored, and the Magpies have seen some success against Manchester United in the past two seasons. Manchester took both matches last season, 4-3 and 3-0, but Newcastle took points from both tilts in 2011/12, to the tune of 3-0 and 1-1.

Fair play to Newcastle: they’ve shown well against top competition thus far, aside from a 4-0 Opening Day loss to Manchester City at the Etihad that came without engine room star Yohan Cabaye, embroiled in transfer controversy. Aside from that they beat Chelsea and Spurs, drew Liverpool and dropped a 3-2 thriller to Everton.

The absence of Wayne Rooney signals distress for Manchester United, who may also be without Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa. All that is a welcome relief for the Magpies defenders; The team has freely substituted at several defensive positions and are at their best when allowed to move forward. Phil Jones should return for Manchester United.

Loic Remy remains one of the PL’s hottest scorers and was quite dangerous in the loss to Swansea and the on-again, off-again drama of whether captain Fabricio Coloccini wants to go back to his family in Argentina is off… for now. Pardew could also have Hatem Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse back in the fold as Newcastle looks to keep danger in their line-up.

What they’re saying

Alan Pardew backs Moyes to succeed at Old Trafford: “I think everybody knew that the first person to follow Alex, it was going to be very, very difficult. But he’s a strong man and I think he can handle it, and there’s a long, long way to go. I think they had gone 12 games unbeaten up until that game, so it’s not as if there’s a crisis there. They have lost a game, which as I say, anybody can do in the Premier League at the moment.”

source: Reuters

Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs on the challenge of rebounding from the Everton loss: “It’s a quick turnaround, but we’ve got to pick ourselves up. We cannot feel sorry for ourselves for too long. It’s a home game and hopefully it will be a different result. We need to get on a run, before this we were on a 12-game unbeaten run. We have to get over this disappointment now.” 

Prediction

Newcastle’s 3-0 loss away to Swansea on Wednesday has the potential to be written off as an anomaly with some controversial Howard Webb non-calls combined with terrific saves from Michel Vorm, while the Everton defeat’s echoes could be quickly erased with a strong performance on Saturday. Both teams aren’t exactly defending dynamos, so it’s fair to expect the goals often seen in this fixture. The Red Devils get off the mat with a 2-1 win.

Allardyce on Palace’s “great victory” over Boro

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25:  Sam Allardyce manager of Crystal Palace signals during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough at Selhurst Park on February 25, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images
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Big Sam got a big win, and he knows it.

Two days after tearing into his players for not adapting to his system, the Crystal Palace boss was glowing with praise after the Eagles knocked off visiting Middlesbrough in a relegation six-pointer on Saturday.

[ MORE: Palace 1-0 Middlesbrough ]

The win lifts Palace out of the drop zone, a point ahead of Leicester City who plays Monday. Allardyce is shaping his own Premier League table and he’ll try to lift a sort of Bottom Seven trophy after the season

From the BBC:

“It’s a great victory. I think the two-week break helped us refocus and that showed – today they made a lot of very good decisions.

“The three points are important as it puts us in amongst the pack, out of the bottom three and a bit closer to Bournemouth.

“I see the bottom seven as the Premier League table we need to try and win. If we can achieve more then that would be great but we need to make next week’s game against West Brom a game to win.”

Crystal Palace have too much talent to be in this spot, and Allardyce’s acumen as a “never relegated” manager has not been questioned much despite the Eagles falling into a worse spot than they were when Alan Pardew was fired. Is this finally their move out of trouble, or just a clean sheet against a Boro team that can’t score?

Conte delighted with his ruthless Chelsea machine

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Chelsea are a machine.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The Blues beat Swansea City 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 11 points as the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal are all on a weekend off due to the EFL Cup final.

Facing a stubborn Swansea side, Chelsea went ahead through the excellent Cesc Fabregas and even when they were pegged back right on half time through Fernando Llorente’s header you expected them to kick on win the game.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

They did just that as Antonio Conte‘s men were relentless throughout and goals from Pedro and Diego Costa late on made it 20 wins from 26 games this season as their title procession continues.

Speaking after the game, Conte was asked if this win was simply another step on their way to winning the title.

“Yeah, I think it is another step,” Conte said. “For sure a good game, a good win and it wasn’t easy to play against them because I watched Swansea’s games against Liverpool and City and they played very well. I think today we deserved, a lot, to win the game. We created many chances in the game, we dominated the game in the first half.

“It is a pity for the goal we conceded at the end of half time. In the second half we started again and created chances with Hazard and then Cesc hitting the crossbar. I am pleased because now, to play the ball is not easy because the season is going to end. In this moment it is very important to have the performance of my players.”

The Italian manager also admitted that a pivotal moment in the game went Chelsea’s way. With the score still locked at 1-1 with 20 minutes to Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s trickery saw Cesar Azpilicueta handle in the box. Referee Neil Swarbrick waved away the penalty calls but Conte admitted the ball hit Azpilicueta’s hand despite it being very close to Sigurdsson and perhaps unintentional.

Moments later Pedro scored to put Chelsea ahead as they powered to yet another victory, their 10th straight at home in the Premier League.

Nobody looks like catching this Chelsea side as Eden Hazard and Fabregas dazzled in the drizzle at Stamford Bridge and Costa was at his clinical best.

A brief defensive lapse aside, this was a dominant and well-deserved win against a dogged Swansea outfit.

In the words of Jay Z – “On to the next one.”

That’s a trip across London to West Ham on Mar. 6, as games against Stoke City and Crystal Palace follow. The way Conte’s side are playing and finishing teams off, they could have this thing all but sewn by April 1 when they face Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

Men In Blazers podcast: Pochettino, Lloris discuss “To Dare Is To Do”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur and Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur after the goalkeeper was substitued during the Premier League match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on August 13, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
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Rog speaks with Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, and head of coaching and development John McDermott in a preview of his film, “Premier League Download: Tottenham Hotspur: To Dare is to Do” which airs Sunday at 11 a.m. ET after Spurs vs. Stoke City on NBCSN.

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Watch Live: Watford vs. West Ham (Lineups, Stream)

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Troy Deeney of Watford (L) struggles to hold off Michail Antonio of West Ham United (R) during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Watford at Olympic Stadium on September 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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Vicarage Road is the scene for a Saturday afternoon clash between top half hopefuls West Ham United and Watford (Watch Live at 12:30 p.m. EDT on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

The Irons have 32 points and the hopes of continuing an upward climb to the position they wanted back when this season began in August.

The Hornets are two points below West Ham, having dealt with a woeful stretch in form to climb back to within sight of 10th.

LINEUPS

Watford: Gomes; Janmaat, Kaboul, Britos, Holebas; Cleverley, Behrami, Capoue; Zárate, Deeney, Niang. Subs: Arlauskis, Prödl, Cathcart, Zúñiga, Doucouré, Success, Okaka.

West Ham United: Randolph, Cresswell, Fonte, Reid, Antonio, Obiang, Kouyate, Noble, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Feghouli. Subs: Adrian, Byram, Masuaku, Collins, Fernandes, Ayew, Calleri.