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.

Day Four: All the action from the U20 World Cup

Hong Hae-in/Yonhap via AP
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South Korea and Venezuela clinched berths in the knockout rounds of the U-20 World Cup on Tuesday, while Germany and Argentina have surprising work to do after two matches in South Korea.

[ MORE: Allardyce steps down at Palace ]

South Korea 2-1 Argentina

Barcelona B man Lee Seung-woo helped South Korea take a 2-0 lead, then hold on for the win and group lead over England.

England 1-1 Guinea

Chelsea youngster Fikayo Tomori scored a wild long range own goal to cost England the three points, but the Blues are still well-positioned to advance out of the group stage. Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook scored for England, and it was a beaut.

Venezuela 7-0 Vanuatu

Seven different Venezuelans have scored through a pair of shutout wins, with Caracas’ Sergio Cordova the only one to bag a pair.

Mexico 0-0 Germany

Germany has just one point through two matches, thanks largely to Pachuca’s Abraham Romero’s seven saves. Mexico was outshot 12-6.

Porto, Watford, Hull? Marco Silva in demand

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Marco Silva is one of the hottest properties in management, months after eliciting cries of “Who?” following his appointment at Hull City.

While those cries may have been a tiny bit myopic given his time at Sporting CP and Olympiacos, the 39-year-old is now visible to the world despite Hull’s relegation.

[ MORE: Real Madrid nabs $50m teen ]

Silva will be back in England to meet with Hull on Wednesday, but a clause in his contract that said he could leave if the club was relegated gives the Tigers very little hope.

Rumors have him wanted at Watford, and he’s also been linked with a number of other jobs including Southampton (should the club part ways with Claude Puel).

However, the former right back is also reportedly a target of one of the biggest clubs in his home country: Champions League side Porto.

UEFA Europa League Final preview: Manchester United vs. Ajax

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Jose Mourinho’s big European gamble takes center stage on Wednesday in Sweden, when Manchester United attempts to topple young Ajax in the UEFA Europa League Final.

United’s chances for UEFA Champions League qualification, a magnificent opportunity, are overshadowed by the pall cast over Manchester by sinister terrorist attacks at a pop concert that killed and injured many on Monday night.

Alas, there’s soccer to be played, and Mourinho is looking to make it a trio of shiny items in his first year on the job. United beat Leicester City for the Community Shield, then topped Southampton in the EFL Cup Final en route to Sweden.

United’s well-documented dearth of healthy defenders will march out one more time on Wednesday, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones tasked with manning the center of the back line. Expect Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian out wide.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Despite the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho’s attack is going to give Ajax fits. Marcus Rashford has been next level for most of the second half of the season, and United will also likely feature Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba atop Ander Herrera.

If someone is going to break United down, it could be midfield wizards Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schone. The creative middle men have a variety of options to find with the ball, including on-loan Chelsea man Bertrand Traore and Danish teenager Kasper Dolberg.

But how will they deal with United’s attack? Sure Ajax has stopped Lyon, Schalke, Copenhagen, and Legia Warsaw, but United and Mourinho? That’s another challenge for Peter Bosz and his men.

Ajax won the 1992 UEFA Cup, and this is United’s first ever trip to this particular final. The Red Devils are heavy favorites, and we expect United to prevail. Don’t sleep on Juan Mata heroics. Call it 3-1.

Allardyce resigns, opening up intriguing vacancy at Palace

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Sam Allardyce is walking away on top outside the relegation zone.

The veteran Premier League manager, 62, resigned his post as Crystal Palace on Tuesday, weeks after leading another team to safety.

The move ends a tumultuous eight months for Allardyce, who was fired as England manager after an undercover sting exposed unethical dealings with agents.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

It also comes about an hour after somebody wrote that Crystal Palace should move on from Allardyce. What a jerk, that somebody.

Rarely at a loss for words, here’s Big Sam from cpfc.co.uk:

I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager.

This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.”

All kidding aside — and I’m far from a Big Sam fan — congrats to the man on walking away to enjoy the finer things in life. He had a heck of a run, and we’ll see how long he can resist being away from the fray. Cheers, Sam.