Premier League Preview: Manchester United v. Swansea City

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  • The Red Devils have won four and lost none of their five previous Premier League meetings with Swansea.
  • Swansea City have only won one of their last seven Premier League away games.
  • Swansea’s victory in the Third Round of the FA Cup last weekend was their first ever at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

Manchester United looks to put the skids on a three match losing streak when they welcome Swansea City to Old Trafford on Saturday (watch live at 12:30pm ET on NBC, online via NBC Sports Live Extra).

David Moyes’ side has endured a torrid start to 2014 having dropped a 1-2 decision to Tottenham on New Years Day before being beat 1-2 by Swansea in the FA Cup and by Sunderland in the League Cup. The poor run of form marks the first time since 2001 that United has lost three consecutive matches.

Before the Spurs loss, United enjoyed a sustained run of form in the league winning four straight. Now, sitting seventh in the table, they must look to regroup if they are to close the five point gap of fourth-placed Liverpool. Despite Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie both ruled out for Saturday’s fixture, expect the Red Devils to come out firing as they seek revenge for the pain of losing to Swansea in the final minute of last Saturday’s contest.

The Swans will use that victory as a boost heading into this weekend’s match. Michael Laudrup’s side has endured a poor run of form of late in the league, having failed to win in their last six matches. The last time the Wales outfit claimed victory was the 3-0 drubbing of Newcastle back on December 4th.

Nani (hamstring) and Marouane Fellaini (wrist) join Van Persie and Rooney on the sideline for United while Jonny Evans (knock) and Phil Jones (knee) are questionable.

For Swansea, Pablo Hernandez (hamstring), Roland Lamah (abductor), Michel Vorm (knee) and Michu (ankle) all remain out.

What They’re Saying

United manager David Moyes: “I can sense in the dressing room that there’s an urge to fight our current position.”

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup: “We’ve shown it is possible [to win] if you believe in it. In recent games we have played with a lot of confidence, and we just needed a win. I think it will be more difficult than last week. I expect them to come at us and they have to win this game. We have to be ready for that because we know it will be tough.”

Prediction

If United lose to Swansea at home for the second time in a week, Old Trafford might burst. I don’t see it happening, though. Expect Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez to step up big for the Red Devils.

Mascherano out 6 weeks, will miss Argentina vs. Brazil

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano will be out of action for six weeks to recover from a right knee injury.

[ MORE: Luis Enrique leaves Barca with feeling of accomplishment ]

Barcelona’s season is over, but the injury will rule out Mascherano from Argentina’s friendly against Brazil on June 9.

Mascherano injured his leg early in Saturday’s final of the Copa del Rey, when Barcelona beat Alaves 3-1 to defend its title for a third straight season.

He also cut his head during the collision with an Alaves player that produced the leg injury. He returned on crutches to join the team celebration.

Argentina doesn’t play its next World Cup qualifier until it plays Uruguay on Aug. 28.

Courtois aiming at new Chelsea contract after strong season

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There’s a wide range of players that were integral in Chelsea’s Premier League-winning season in 2016/17, but one of the most underrated was arguably goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

[ MORE: PL clubs may miss on Celtic’s Dembele and more transfer news ]

The Blues shot-stopper started all but two PL matches this past campaign, and now the Belgian international is seeking an extension with the London club.

“Contract talks haven’t opened but I am happy at Chelsea,” Courtois told Sky Sports after Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal at Wembley.

“I hope they reward me with a good contract, then there will be no doubt I will sign it.”

The 25-year-old keeper has been in at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Genk in 2011, but Courtois spent three seasons in Spain on a loan spell.

Courtois likened this PL campaign to his time on loan at Atletico Madrid, stating that while his side’s achievements in the league were everything Chelsea could have hoped for that there was still more the Blues could have done.

“It’s not a good feeling now,” Courtois told Chelsea’s official website. “I had the same thing in Spain when I won the league and then lost the Champions League.

“We wanted to end on a high, now we feel sad. Winning is everything so this is hard to face but we have to try to forget it.”

Francesco Totti on bench for final Roma match

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Sunday marks Francesco Totti’s final match with Roma after a stellar 24-year career, but the striker won’t be starting at the Stadio Olimpico.

[ MORE: Reus could miss at least six months after suffering knee damage ]

The 40-year-old was named to the bench for his club’s 2016/17 Serie A finale against Cagliari, with Roma needing a victory to capture second position in Italy’s top flight.

Napoli currently sits just one point behind the Giallorossi and hold a slight two-goal edge in goal differential, which could be a decisive factor in which side finishes second.

It would be quite odd for Roma to not give Totti playing time in his final outing, after a career that featured over 300 goals across all competitions for his hometown club.

Transfer rumor roundup: PL clubs losing ground for Dembele and more

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With all the major leagues across Europe either closing or already have finished it’s the season of transfer rumors once again.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s FA Cup win vs. Chelsea ]

Here are several of the juiciest pieces from Sunday:

Three London sides could potentially miss out on Celtic star Moussa Dembele as AC Milan has emerged as a favorite to sign the top-rated Frenchman. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all expressed great interest in the promising attacker, who scored 17 goals this season for the Scottish champions.

After struggling at times this season to keep goals out, Liverpool could turn to France as a potential outlet to fix the cracks in their back line. AS Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy already has significant PL interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side could also put up a fight.

West Ham is looking to bolster its attack this summer, and with Pep Guardiola likely making significant changes at the Etihad Stadium, Kelechi Iheanacho could be on his way to the Hammers ahead of the 2017/18 PL season.

Manchester City higher ups are keen on having Guardiola bring back goalkeeper Joe Hart from Torino this summer. Hart spent last season on loan with the Italian club after Guardiola sent him away from England early in his managing tenure at the club.