Ruben Loftus-Cheek

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Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace

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  • United leads all-time 34W-10D-7L
  • Palace winless in last 9 vs. MUFC
  • Last CP win at Old Trafford came in 2011

Injury-hit and goal-starved Crystal Palace faces red-hot Manchester United in its latest bid to comeback from a horrible start to this Premier League season (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Old Trafford is the venue for Roy Hodgson’s next opportunity to lead Palace to a goal, and a point, and he’s going to have to do it without two of his top attackers Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Benteke.

[ MORE: Mourinho says Pogba amongst “long-term” injuries ]

United’s had injury issues, too, and will still not have Paul Pogba nor Michael Carrick on Saturday. The Red Devils also played midweek in Russia, a talking point for both managers on Friday (see below).

Palace has yet to score in the league play this season, the longest stretch to start a campaign in Premier League history.

What they’re saying

Mourinho on United’s mindset during congested fixtures: “It is very important. We played Wednesday night and we arrived in Manchester at 4 a.m., home at 5 a.m., and we have to play tomorrow, so our mentality is always  very important.”

Hodgson on perceived fixture advantage: “I don’t know if their schedule helps us at all. There’s never a good time to play United and there’s always a good time to play against United. I guess Jose will say it’s not ideal to be playing on a Saturday at 3 p.m. after a trip to Russia, but they have a strong team on paper. The game is not played on paper though and we can only hope to give them a good game and any good luck going around will come our way.”

Prediction

If Hodgson was able to engineer an away result at Old Trafford without Benteke and Loftus-Cheek, we’d hand him the keys to the USMNT, and several other jobs at once. United easy, 3-0.

Manchester City 5-0 Crystal Palace: City helps Eagles make history

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  • De Bruyne pulling strings
  • Sterling scores two
  • Sane goal, assist

Leroy Sane’s magical playmaking lifted rampant Manchester City to a 5-0 win over Crystal Palace, whose futility made history at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Raheem Sterling scored twice, while Sergio Aguero, Fabian Delph, and Sane also scored as leaders City moved past Manchester United on goal differential.

Palace remains winless and goalless, the first Premier League team to start a season without a goal through six matches.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Mamadou Sakho‘s attempt to deal with a Kevin De Bruyne cross beat his own keeper, and Wayne Hennessey was happy to see the ball bump off his far post.

Hennessey was then in position to block Fernandinho‘s point blank attempt off a corner kick.

Palace did have a chance thanks to one of its early stars of their slow-starting season, but Ruben Loftus-Cheeks’ shot from outside the 18 bounded off the post.

A tough angle for Aguero saw him chop Leroy Sane’s cutback over the bar from seven yards. Sane was the one who made it 1-0 minutes later.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sterling made it 2-0 just after halftime, as Sane put it on a platter with a square ball from the left.

He added his second when De Bruyne found Aguero with a diagonal ball and the Argentine cut back for Sterling to touch into the goal.

Play had hardly restarted when Sane was stopped by a sliding Hennessey at the doorstep.

And Sane sent a marvelous, powerful cross for Aguero to head home in the 79th minute.

Delph curled a gorgeous shot home in the 89th minute to put an exclamation point on the result.

Sneaky good: Early “stars” of the Premier League

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I have a “smell test” for players who leap off the pitch when taking the eyeball test during Premier League play.

If, upon moving to advanced statistics sites for performance reviews, these players are still shining, then there’s a good chance they are as important to their club as it seems at first blush

[ MORE: Stats of Premier League wkend ]

Of course guys like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Kevin De Bruyne, and Sergio Aguero are going to pass muster. But what about some guys a bit off the radar?

Are there names the numbers say we should be watching a bit more closely, so it’s not a surprise when guys like Idrissa Gana Gueye or Sam Clucas net surprising transfer fees or international acclaim?

It seems logical, and we’ve to a pair of sites which use different algorithms to rank Premier League players and saw who turned up high in both…

Lukasz Fabianski, Swansea City
WhoScored: 37th
Squawka: 1st

Paul Clement‘s side sits 14th with only two goals scored, which is possible when your backstop doesn’t allow much to beat him. Fabianski was outstanding as Swans held Spurs scoreless this weekend.

Ben Davies, Tottenham Hotspur
WhoScored: 15th
Squawka: 16th

The 24-year-old defender is averaged 3.3 key passes per game, better than everyone in the league not named Mesut Ozil, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. They aren’t defenders.

Maya Yoshida, Southampton
WhoScored: 56th
Squawka: 14th

Playing behind Oriol Romeu — and without Virgil Van Dijk — Yoshida has a goal to go with his six clearances and 3.8 aerials won per game

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Crystal Palace
WhoScored: 22nd
Squawka: 26th

The on-loan Chelsea man was wanted by Rafa Benitez at Newcastle and a number of other locations, and has thrived despite only appearing in three matches and being on a troubled team. He’s averaged 4.7 dribbles a game and has been fouled 4.3 times per match.

Christopher Schindler and Aaron Mooy, Huddersfield Town
WhoScored: 10th (CS), 14th (AM)
Squawka: 24th (CS), 37th (AM)

It’s possible that Town has just been an analytics darling, as Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre also have good marks, but the Terriers have conceded just three times this season in front of Jonas Lossl. These two are a big part of the limited chances faced by the keeper, and Mooy has been holding it down for a continent the last two years.

Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester City
WhoScored: 11th
Squawka: 4th

His goal this weekend shows his capacity in the final third, but Otamendi has been a steady part of the defense as Pep Guardiola sorted out mercurial youngster John Stones and dealt with the health of Vincent Kompany.

Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle United
WhoScored: 35th
Squawka: 49th

His numbers may be tilted by a pair of match-winning goals for high-flying Newcastle, but the big man had to get in the box to get them.

Crystal Palace 0-1 Southampton: Eagles’ horrendous start continues

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  • Davis scores on 200th appearance
  • Palace lose fifth-straight
  • Roy Hodgson loses first game in charge
  • Palace set new record for goalless start

Southampton beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday as Steven Davis‘ first half strike was enough to separate the teams.

In his first game in charge of the Eagles after replacing Frank De Boer earlier this week, Roy Hodgson couldn’t turn Palace’s fortunes around as they’ve now set a new record as the first team in top-flight history to fail to score and lose all of their first five games to open a season.

The Eagles rarely threatened but Southampton’s Fraser Forster did step up either side of half time to make blocks from close range.

Palace have zero points and zero goals and face trips to Manchester City and Manchester United coming up next with Chelsea at home after that, while Saints have eight points on the season and host Man United next weekend.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

It didn’t take long for Southampton to take the lead as a fluid move from the right saw Dusan Tadic cross and the ball rebounded to Davis who slotted home.

Forster then made a great save as a slip from Nathan Redmond allowed Palace to attack down the right but Christian Benteke‘s shot was blocked by Forster.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Palace went close as Ruben Loftus-Cheek smashed a low effort just wide but Saints continued to dominate possession as they went in ahead at the break.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

At the start of the second half Palace went agonizingly close to scoring an equalizer but Forster again denied the Eagles with Jason Puncheon‘s shot blocked by the England international goalkeeper.

Saints came back into the game as Shane Long just failed to connect with a header and Oriol Romeu also nodded wide.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Dutch defenders Virgil Van Dijk came on in the closing stages for Southampton and made his first appearance since Jan. 22 after suffering a foot injury and then handing in a transfer request over the summer.

Van Dijk helped Saints eased to victory in the closing stages as they piled more misery on Palace.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace v. Southampton

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A new era begins at Selhurst Park on Saturday as Roy Hodgson takes charges of his first game as Crystal Palace manager.

[ LIVE: Palace vs. Saints ]

The Eagles host Southampton (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in south London hoping for their first goal and points of the season after Frank De Boer was fired just four games into the new campaign.

De Boer last all four games in charge as Palace suffered a disastrous start to the season, while Southampton have wracked up five points from their opening four games with just one victory so far.

In team news Palace bring Ruben Loftus-Cheek back into the starting lineup.

Southampton have star center back Virgil Van Dijk on the bench for the first time this season after his transfer request was rejected over the summer. Shane Long starts up front.

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