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.

Wenger: Praise after exit announcement “more than I deserve”

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Arsene Wenger doesn’t seem like the type to go on a victory lap, but the Arsenal boss is handling his resignation and the accompanying praise with pure class.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 4-1 West Ham ]

Wenger announced the end of his long Arsenal tenure earlier this week, and has been met by heaps of praise from ex-players, fans, current Gunners, and even rivals.

The Frenchman addressed the plaudits following a 4-1 win over West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. From the BBC:

“I would like to thank everyone who has been very nice and kind and praised me more than I deserved it. I would like to say thank you everyone. It’s been a great period for me and I’m thankful for that.”

Arsenal punished West Ham after the Irons equalized through Marko Arnautovic, getting a lucky goal from Aaron Ramsey and two fine finishes from Alexandre Lacazette in the win.

“I was focused on winning the game. We just tried to be professional and do our job even when the circumstances are different. It was a good team spirit and good preparation for Thursday.

“I think we constructed patiently. We didn’t make big mistakes. First of all before winning a trophy, you need to get through the semi-finals. This is a good way to prepare – scoring goals against a strong West Ham team who have done well recently.”

Next up: A huge test in the UEFA Europa League semifinals, with Atletico Madrid visiting for Thursday’s first leg. Wenger rested several big names, and Atleti has just one win from its last four matches (including a Madrid Derby draw at the Bernabeu).

WATCH: Chelsea’s Giroud scores 27 seconds after halftime

AP Photo/Alastair Grant
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Southampton held firm against Chelsea’s challenge for 45 minutes of Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Stadium.

Well, 45 minutes and 27 seconds.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 4-1 West Ham ]

The first long ball of the second half saw Chelsea’s Eden Hazard leap to trap, and the Belgian played a quick ball forward to his striker.

That’s Olivier Giroud, who dribbled between two defenders and Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to stab home with the outside of his right foot.

Watch Live: Man City vs. Swans

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
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Manchester City enters the Etihad Stadium as Premier League champions as it welcomes relegation-scrapping Swansea City on Sunday (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

And on the sub’s bench for City (cue professional wrestling announcer voice): That’s Benjamin Mendy‘s music!!

The visitors appear to be set to play five at the back, with brothers Jordan and Andre Ayew up top.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Ederson, Danilo, Kompany, Laporte, Delph, Gündogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Silva, Sterling, Jesus. Subs: Bravo, Walker, Sané, Mendy, Otamendi, Touré, Foden

Swansea City: Fabianski, Naughton, Van der Hoorn, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Ki, King, Carroll, A. Ayew, J. Ayew. Subs: Nordfeldt, Bartley, Roberts, Clucas, Dyer, Routledge, Abraham.

Arsenal 4-1 West Ham: Big win for Wenger

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  • Monreal scores fifth of season
  • Arnautovic answers
  • Lacazette thunders home beauty

Aaron Ramsey‘s hopeful cross turned into a match-winning goal as Arsenal beat West Ham United 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Substitute striker Alexandre Lacazette scored a beautiful insurance goal en route to a brace for Arsenal, who moves four points clear of Burnley in the race for sixth. West Ham is six points clear of the drop zone with four matches to play.

Nacho Monreal gave Arsenal a lead and Marko Arnautovic equalized to set the stage for the winner, a ball unclaimed by neither Declan Rice nor Joe Hart.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Arsenal had almost all of the ball, but a slip in defense forced Gunners goalkeeper David Ospina to make a nice parry on Marko Arnautovic’s shot from the right of the box.

Nacho Monreal caused a West Ham turnover deep in West Ham territory, and found Danny Welbeck for a hard shot that bounded wide of the far post.

Granit Xhaka was saved in his 35th minute free kick bid and Welbeck couldn’t get on top of a Hector Bellerin cross to head home less than a minute later.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Monreal put Arsenal ahead in the 51st minute with a low finish past Joe Hart off a corner kick, but the lead didn’t last much more than 10 minutes.

Cheikhou Kouyate‘s shot was blocked to Manuel Lanzini, who quickly fed Arnautovic for a finish.