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Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Leicester City

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  • Manchester United has lost only two of their 22 PL matches with Leicester City and only one of these came at Old Trafford: 0-1 in January 1998.
  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan has already registered four assists in two PL matches this season. The Armenian could become the first player in PL history to assist two goals in three consecutive matches.
  • Leicester has scored in all but one of their 15 PL matches under Shakespeare and striker Jamie Vardy has scored in eight of these.
  • Manchester United is still without Ashley Young and Luke Shaw, both of whom are approaching full fitness. Marcos Rojo (knee) is a long-term absentee, as is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who signed a one-year deal on Thursday to return to the club.
  • Leicester City captain Wes Morgan has recovered from a back injury. Kelechi Iheanacho (toe) and Harry Maguire (knock) will be assessed.

The Premier League’s hottest team returns home to face 2016’s surprise Premier League champions in a primetime match on Saturday afternoon on national television (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

NBC will televise Manchester United vs. Leicester as Jose Mourinho’s side look to continue its dominance through the early part of the season. Man United has won two consecutive games 4-0, with Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan impressing.

Leicester City meanwhile enter the match coming off a pair of wins, 2-0 over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League and 4-1 at Sheffield United in the EFL Cup during the week. Leicester City were also a few defensive lapses away from beating Arsenal on the road to open up the season.

Both teams have the ability to score goals, and there should be plenty of attacking action on display.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

What they’re saying

Jose Mourinho on Mkhitaryan: “I think Henrikh [Mkhitaryan] understands me, and to be honest, I understand him because in the beginning of the season if he understands me better, he would have started better. But at the same time, if I understand him better, I would probably help him in a faster way than I did. But, we spent our time together, working together, learning about each other. The second part of last season was good for him and I believe, with his talent, that this season is going to be even better.”

Mourinho on Leicester City: “I think they are the same team as they were two seasons ago. Are they going to be champions again? Honestly, I don’t think so because there are many teams that I don’t think all of them are going to fail. But I think in terms of their qualities, I think they are the same team and they are playing exactly the same way they played before.”

Leicester City’s Craig Shakespear on facing Man United: “They have looked powerful. To score eight goals in two games in the Premier league is no mean feat. It will be a massive challenge but we look forward to that challenge. We have had a couple of good results recently and we need to take that confidence into that game, but we know what stands before us.”

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Prediction

Manchester United is the Premier League’s hottest team and for good reason. The club spent more than $100 million this summer to upgrade its frontline and with Romelu Lukaku’s early season form, there’s no reason why Man United shouldn’t beat Leicester, which are still figuring out things somewhat defensively against the top teams. Manchester United 3-1 Leicester City

Burnley 1-0 Stoke City: Barnes’ late strike guides Clarets into top four

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Don’t look now, but the Clarets have climbed into the Premier League top four.

Burnley found a way Stoke City late on Tuesday, picking up a 1-0 win at the Turf Moor behind Ashley Barnes‘ late finish.

[ MORE: Gremio reaches Club World Cup final, awaits Real Madrid or Al Jazira ]

The Clarets, who have now secured 31 points over their first 17 matches this season, leapfrogged Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham with the victory. However, all three sides will be in action on Wednesday.

Steven Defour nearly put Burnley ahead on 69 minutes, when the front man tested Stoke keeper Jack Butland — who had to make a sprawling save to his right.

While Stoke mustered up several quality chances, it was Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s blast in the first half that nearly found the top left corner.

Next up for Burnley will be a date against Brighton on Saturday, while Stoke travels to Huddersfield the same day.

Club World Cup wrap: Gremio reaches final, Urawa takes fifth place

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One half of this year’s FIFA Club World Cup final was decided on Tuesday as Brazilian side Gremio topped Liga MX champions Pachuca.

Second-half substitute Everton proved to be the difference for the Brazilians, with the attacker scoring in extra time to lift Gremio.

[ MORE: LA FC selects Urena, four others in MLS Expansion Draft ]

Pachuca’s chances of completing a comeback were extinguished with 10 minutes remaining in extra time, as Víctor Guzman was sent off upon picking up his second yellow card of the semifinal.

Meanwhile, Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds captured fifth place in the tournament after narrowly topping Wydad Casablanca, 3-2.

Despite going behind early, Urawa responded almost immediately in the first half, before building its lead to 3-1 at the hour mark.

A late penalty kick from Reda Hajhouj gave Casablanca a glimmer of hope in the dying moments, however, the Moroccan-based club couldn’t find a way to equalize.

Gremio will await either La Liga giants Real Madrid or Al Jazira in the Club World Cup final, which will be played on Saturday. The loser of that match will take on Pachuca in the third-place game.

Below are the scores from Tuesday’s FIFA Club World Cup matches.

Gremio 1-0 Pachuca (after extra time)

Wydad Casablanca 2-3 Urawa Red Diamonds — Fifth-place match

LAFC selects Urena, 4 others in MLS Expansion Draft

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Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.

Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.

The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.

Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.

LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.

The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.

WATCH LIVE: Three Premier League matches

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Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.

Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.

Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]