Islam Slimani

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WATCH LIVE: Newcastle United vs. Manchester United

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Manchester United hopes its trip to Newcastle United goes as well as the reverse fixture when it hits the pitch at St. James’ Park on Sunday (Watch live at 9:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The Red Devils buried Newcastle 4-1 at Old Trafford earlier this season, and deploy an attack-heavy side to face the Magpies featuring Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, and Romelu Lukaku.

Newcastle, meanwhile, will be into the drop zone should Huddersfield Town hold on to beat Bournemouth in the first match of Sunday’s Premier League tripleheader.

Islam Slimani did not pass his late fitness test, but fellow January loan signings Martin Dubravka and Kenedy start for the Magpies.

LINEUPS

Newcastle United: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy, Perez, Gayle. Subs: Darlow, Manquillo, Hayden, Merino, Atsu, Murphy, Joselu.

Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young, Matic, Pogba, Alexis, Lingard, Martial, Lukaku. Subs: Romero, Lindelof, Rojo, Shaw, Carrick, McTominay, Mata.

PL Sunday preview: Van Dijk, Liverpool visit St. Mary’s, Man United in action

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Liverpool and Southampton sit in considerably different positions, but a former player’s return to St. Mary’s will garner much of the attention on Sunday when the two clubs collide.

Meanwhile, three sides firmly in the relegation race aim to pull away from the bottom three with strong performances.

[ MORE: Saturday PL roundup — Citizens crack 70 points, Spurs win NLD ]

Here’s a look at Sunday’s three PL matches.

Huddersfield Town vs. Bournemouth — 7 a.m. ET on CNBC

When these sides last met in November, the Cherries came away with a convincing 4-0 defeat. That leaves Huddersfield boss David Wagner with some tough decisions at home.

Jonathan Hogg is expected to be reintroduced to the Huddersfield lineup on Sunday, while Christopher Schindler and Laurent Depoitre could feature after the pair came off of foot injuries recently.

The Terriers have had a terrible time scoring as of late, scoring just once in their last 620 league minutes, while Bournemouth has gone unbeaten in its last seven fixtures.

Bournemouth has seen a solid improvement since the Christmas period, with the club boasting 15 points in that span — which is second to only Liverpool’s 16 points.

Newcastle vs. Manchester United — 9:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN

In 28 career PL meetings, Newcastle has won just twice against the English giants — which doesn’t bode well for Rafa Benitez and Co. The club’s last victory against the Red Devils came back in 2012.

With loan signing Islam Slimani still yet to play a match for the Magpies, Benitez will be desperately hoping for the Algerian to be fit in time for Sunday’s clash. The side will benefit from Ciaran Clark‘s return though, who is coming back from a knee injury.

Meanwhile, United has clamped down recently on the defensive side, boasting five shutouts in its last six matches.

Southampton vs. Liverpool — 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN

The biggest story on the day will be Van Dijk’s return to his former club, however, four other current Liverpool players have previously played a role for Southampton.

The Saints have had success recently against Liverpool, with the hosts unbeaten in their last three home fixtures against Jurgen Klopp‘s group.

Klopp and Co. have been through a tumultuous period since their confidence-boosting win over table-toppers Manchester City, with the Reds winning just one of their last four fixtures.

Algeria manager: Mahrez “deserves better than Leicester”

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Algeria national team manager Rabah Madjer is a decent politician, at least according to his comments regarding national superstar Riyad Mahrez and his club Leicester City.

[ MORE: De Bruyne exhausted ]

Mahrez, who turns 27 later this month, was left out of Leicester’s 1-1 draw with Swansea after his displeasure with Leicester’s refusal to sell him in the January window had him “missing” from the King Power Stadium set.

Madjer understands Mahrez’s frustration and knows he has to have his back, but also knows that Algeria striker Islam Slimani is also Leicester property and that clubs of his other players are watching his remarks.

So the boss was sure to credit Leicester while explaining his position on why the Foxes should allow Mahrez to go to a UEFA Champions League club.

Granted we wouldn’t suggest the phrasing “better than Leicester” when describing a club who won a Premier League title featuring your star, but no one’s perfect. From Goal.com:

“Mahrez currently deserves better than Leicester, but we must not forget that it was Leicester who put him on the right track.

“I think a serious conversation with his board is needed. He wants to go to a bigger club in the English league. I do not know what really happened about his transfer.”

The Sun also tosses a fairly funny tidbit out there that seems a bit too on the nose to be true, but bears relaying: Leicester teammates apparently have taken to calling Mahrez “Viktor Navorski,” after the character in Tom Hanks’ “The Terminal” who cannot get into the U.S. nor back to his home country.

WATCH LIVE: Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle United

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Newcastle United looks for a season sweep of Crystal Palace with a Sunday morning trip to Selhurst Park (Watch live at 9:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The Magpies would leapfrog Palace with a win, and both sides enter the match within sight of the drop zone.

Ex-Newcastle players Yohan Cabaye and Andros Townsend start for Palace.

Rafa Benitez names one loan signing Kenedy, who starred on debut, in the XI and another, goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, on the bench. Islam Slimani did not pass his fitness test.

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Fosu-Mensah, Tomkins, Kelly, Van Aanholt, Townsend, Milivojevic, Cabaye, McArthur, Zaha, Benteke. Subs: Henry, Ward, Riedewald, Sakho, Souare, Lee, Sorloth.

Newcastle United: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy, Perez, Gayle. Subs: Dubravka, Manquillo, Lejeune, Hayden, Merino, Atsu, Murphy.

Newcastle takes Slimani on loan just before deadline

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Newcastle United’s first loan signing of the season was Man of the Match in Wednesday’s draw with Burnley, as Kenedy won a penalty kick and sent in the corner kick that resulted in Newcastle’s loan goal.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 1-1 Burnley ]

It’s second is an even more well-known quantity.

Islam Slimani will spend the second half of the Premier League season with Newcastle United, the big Algerian bringing five goals across all competitions to join his seven goal, four assists PL campaign in 2016-17.

Here’s Slimani, from Newcastle’s web site:

“Knowing the power of the fans and crowd here and how great they are, and also speaking to the manager, it gave me the confidence that this was the right choice.”

Slimani is still returning to fitness after a recent injury, and will not be able to play against Leicester City either.

Newcastle will also add a goalkeeper on loan, according to reports, with Martin Dubravka joining from Sparta Prague. Will it be enough to save Newcastle from a third relegation in 10 seasons?