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Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace v. Arsenal

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  • Palace won 4 of last 5
  • Arsenal 7 points of 4th, two games in hand
  • Palace just three points above drop zone
  • Gunners won 2-0 on Jan. 1 in last meeting

Crystal Palace host Arsenal on Monday at Selhurst Park (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with both teams needing three points for very, very different reasons.

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After winning four of their last five games to drag themselves out of the relegation battle, Crystal Palace lost at Southampton last time out and Sam Allardyce‘s side are just three points above the drop zone and face five of the top six in their remaining eight games. Allardyce has never been relegated from the Premier League but he could come closer than ever…

As for Arsenal, amidst all the uncertainty regarding the future of manager Arsene Wenger and star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, one constant remains: the Gunners are locked in an intense battle to finish fourth. They’re currently seven points behind fourth-place Manchester City but have two games in hand as Wenger’s men know they cannot afford to slip up in a London derby and the Frenchman wants to keep his proud record of never finishing outside the top four alive.

In team news Palace are without several defenders through injury with Scott Dann, Patrick Van Aanholt and James Tomkins all out and Allardyce could be without 11 players. Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez will start with Petr Cech and David Ospina both out injured, while Laurent Koscielny is out but Francis Coquelin returns.

What they’re saying…

Arsene Wenger on the current challenge: “Look, I feel we came out of a very difficult period and what we have shown is that we are united and focused and determined to do things right again. That was questioned for a while and I think we gave the right response. We have to show that focus now until the end of the season. There’s still a lot to fight for. That is what’s at stake basically.”

Sam Allardyce on Wenger’s situation: “It is the expectation and, unfortunately for him, the competition is so much fiercer for Arsenal, for Manchester City, for Liverpool, for Chelsea, for Tottenham now. With those five – stroke Everton who are looking more likely to become another challenger – even Champions League places are becoming very difficult to achieve now. The competition is so fierce and the expenditure you have to spend to stay in that competition at that end of the table – let alone go better and win the league – is a massive demand.”

Prediction

Palace’s relegation fears will grow as Arsenal’s star show up big time to boost their top four hopes. 3-1 to the Gunners.

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

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John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.

WATCH: Snazzy Sargent goal leads U.S. U-17s past Mexico

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Josh Sargent scored a pretty goal as the United States Soccer program had another banner day against Mexico.

Nearly two months to the day after the U.S. U-20 side beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years, the U.S. U-17 topped El Tri for the first time ever. That win snapped Mexico’s 25-match unbeaten streak.

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The goal is the first of Sargent’s two goals, as the 16-year-old latched onto a long diagonal ball and used his right foot and head to move the ball into position for a strong shot.

The U.S. clinches a spot in the next round of U-17 World Cup qualifying with one match remaining in group play.

Sargent is from St. Louis and plays with Scott Gallagher-Missouri. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the U.S. U-17s.

Heads of South American soccer sent $128M in bank transfers

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The leaders of South America’s soccer confederation transferred $128.6 million between 2000 and 2015 to personal accounts, suspicious accounts, or unauthorized third-party accounts, according to an audit released Wednesday by Ernst & Young.

According to the audit presented to the annual CONMEBOL congress in the Chilean capital, the confederation’s former president Nicolas Leoz transferred $26.9 million to his personal accounts. Leoz was the president for 27 years until resigning in 2013 for what he said were health reasons.

The audit also found $58 million in payments “to third parties without adequate documentation,” payments of $33.3 million to “unidentified accounts,” and $10.4 million to “suspicious third-parties.”

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“We had said that we would have four pillars, and the first two pillars were clear accounts and accountability,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL who commissioned the audit last year. “Today we are accountable to the leaders and the whole world of football.”

Leoz, 88, is one of three ex-presidents of CONMEBOL accused on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice. He is in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States.

The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz’s two successors, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.

“I’m here, I’m the manager” – Moyes will not quit Sunderland

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This has been one horrible stretch for David Moyes.

The Sunderland manager probably thought he’d been through the worst once he left Real Sociedad, where he went 12-15-15.

But he’s managed just seven wins and seven draws in 38 matches in charge of the Black Cats — an 18 percent win mark. He’s also been charged for threatening to slap a female journalist.

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And after Wednesday, Moyes has lost both of his derby matches against Middlesbrough.

Sunderland is 12 points back of safety with five matches left. The odds the Black Cats are headed for the Championship are somewhere north of 99 percent, and fans are calling for his job.

Well, he isn’t quitting. From the BBC:

“No, I’m here, I’m the manager, you take it on the chin. … I’m a football supporter, I know what it’s like. You don’t like seeing your team lose.

“There is nobody who wants to win more than me. I am used to winning, I’m not used to losing and I don’t want to get used to it either.”