Premier League Preview: Man Utd v. Spurs

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  • Man Utd leads all-time 87W-49D-50L
  • Kane out for Spurs
  • Homes have won five-straight in series

A match for sole possession of second place in the Premier League table pits Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Both sides are coming off losses, Spurs in a stunning League Cup capitulation to West Ham and United at Huddersfield Town (The Red Devils did win midweek in the League Cup).

[ LIVE: Stream Premier League games ]

Adding insult to injury, or injury to injury, is a hamstring injury for Harry Kane. Spurs’ star striker had 13 goals in 12 matches between the Premier League and Champions League, and puts Fernando Llorente in focus. The ex-Swans striker is yet to score this season.

Spurs and United trail Man City by five points for the Premier League lead, with the table-toppers off to West Brom on Saturday. A loser of Saturday’s match at Old Trafford would sit third, as both clubs have four-point advantages on Chelsea and Arsenal.

What they’re saying

Man Utd’s Ander Herrera on the task at hand“Tottenham are a direct rival every season. In the last two or three years they have improved a lot and they are contenders for everything; the Champions League, the Premier League and for both cups. They are very organised, they play really good football and they have players who can score… even their fullbacks are very offensive. It will be a big statement if we beat them.”

Pochettino on Spurs without Kane“Last season in the period he was injured you can see the stats, win or lose with Harry, win or lose without Harry. I’m not happy, I’m disappointed, because Harry is our main striker, he’s one of the best players not just in Tottenham, in Europe, in the world. Always you are going to miss your best striker. I’m not silly or stupid to talk in a different way, but that is football.”

Prediction

Perhaps more important than Kane’s absence is how it changes Jose Mourinho’s plans to handle Spurs. Is the talisman’s absence enough to move Mourinho more offensive against a wildly talented attack with Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen? We think so, in some capacity, and we also think the missing Kane tilts the scales toward the Old Trafford set. United 2-0 through Romelu Lukaku.

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Fernandes scores first goal, says Ronaldo backed Manchester United move

Bruno Fernandes Ronaldo
Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)
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It’s probably not a surprise that a young Portuguese player would fancy Manchester United given the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford early his career.

Bruno Fernandes admits that those images danced through his head well before he signed with the Red Devils in January.

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It’s also not a shock that United would turn to their former player for a take on the playmaker before buying him from Sporting Lisbon.

Fernandes says he’s grateful that CR7 endorsed BF18. From Sky Sports:

“I know some people asked Cristiano what he thought of me and what I was like as a player and a person,” Fernandes said. “I know he spoke highly of me and gave me a good reference, so I sent him a message after to thank him for his kind words.”

Fernandes has 19 caps and two goals for Portugal, while Ronaldo has a few more with 164 and 99.

He now has a goal and an assist in four appearances for United. Ronaldo finished with 118 goals and 69 assists in 292 appearances for the Red Devils.

Here’s the finish:

Eden Hazard suffers fracture ahead of Man City in UCL, El Clasico

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Eden Hazard is set to miss the Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League first leg against Man City with a broken fibula.

Hazard had only returned to the lineup for two matches following a three-month absence with an ankle injury.

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The 29-year-old has made just 15 appearances for Real since arriving in a big-money move from Chelsea, scoring once with five assists.

He has never appeared in less than 30 league matches over the course of his career, five times missing one or zero matches.

Of course, all of his absences show that Real is very comfortable playing and winning without Hazard. Zinedine Zidane’s men lost Sunday to drop behind Barcelona in La Liga, but that was just its second loss of the league season.

Real will be taxed in depth like its rivals, with Wednesday’s visit from Man City followed by an El Clasico at the Bernabeu on March 1. Barcelona hosts Napoli on Tuesday.

Whether you like the playmaker or despise him, there must be some sense of sympathy for his latest ailments (even if Man City and Barca fans will likely offer a Jerry Seinfeld-esque, “That’s a shame”).

Watch Live: Manchester United, Wolves host bottom three battlers

Manchester United Watford live stream link
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A pair of Premier League basement dwellers face stiff tests in their bids to win another season in the top flight.

Manchester United hosts Watford on NBCSN while Wolves welcome Norwich City on CNBC as both home sides aim to improve the health of their top four hopes in 9 a.m. ET kickoffs.

[ WATCH: Man Utd-Watford | Wolves-Norwich ]

Lineups notes from both matches:

LINEUPS

Manchester United

Watford


Wolves

Norwich City

Three Serie A matches suspended due to virus deaths in Italy

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ROME (AP) Three Serie A soccer matches scheduled for Sunday in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto were suspended late Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the virus from China.

On orders from the Italian government, the games called off were: Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari.

Three other matches in Genoa, Turin and Rome on Sunday are going ahead as scheduled.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

A dozen towns in northern Italy effectively went into lockdown on Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the coronavirus from China, and a growing cluster of cases with no direct links to the origin of the outbreak abroad.

“The government is working on urgent measures to decisively confront and contain the cases of coronavirus contagion,” read a letter from Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora to Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago shortly before midnight local time on Saturday. “Those measures also include the sports world in order to prevent risks and to better take care of the health of those involved in the events and competition.

“Following measures taken by the cabinet for protective reasons and maximum precaution, on orders of the government I’m asking you to suspend all sports events of every level and discipline planned for the Lombardy and Veneto regions on Sunday.”

The secondary contagions prompted local authorities in the Lombardy and Veneto regions to close schools, businesses and restaurants and to cancel sporting events and Masses.

The mayor of Milan, Italy’s business capital and the regional capital of Lombardy, shuttered public offices.

A 78-year-old man infected with the virus died in Veneto. A postmortem on a 77-year-old woman in Lombardy came back positive, though it wasn’t clear if illness from the virus caused her death.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf