Chung-Young Lee

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PL Sunday preview: Man City go for 19; WBA-Arsenal

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How much longer can Manchester City keep up to their winning ways in the Premier League? Their latest test comes on Sunday…

[ PL ROUNDUP: Chelsea leapfrog Man United for 2nd ]

Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

At some point, one would presume, Man City will lose a PL game again. Whether or not it happens this season is the storyline on everyone’s mind: they’re 20 games through the 38-game campaign, and yet to taste domestic defeat. Sunday’s trip to Selhurst Park will afford Pep Guardiola‘s side the opportunity to make it 19 straight wins, thus extending their own English top-flight record. After winning three straight by a combined score of 12-1, Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle United felt uncharacteristically laborious for the Citizens, but they held on to turn Raheem Sterling‘s 31st-minute goal (his team-leading 13th of the PL season) into the winner.

“I don’t think anyone is really thinking about records,” Sterling said this week. “They’re nice to have on your CV but we have to keep winning and getting three points. Records only stand for a certain amount of time. Three points add to the table.

After a dreadful start to the season (they didn’t win a point — or score a goal — until game no. 8), Crystal Palace put together a seven-game unbeaten run starting in mid-November, only to see all their hard work go up in flames in Thursday’s 3-2 home defeat to Arsenal. Sunday’s clash with a record-setting City side is, to put it lightly, hardly an ideal opportunity for Roy Hodgson‘s to get back to winning ways.

INJURIES: Crystal Palace — OUT: Mamadou Sakho (calf), Connor Wickham (knee), Chung-Young Lee (hamstring) | Man City — OUT: Vincent Kompany (calf), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (knee)

West Brom vs. Arsenal — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

It’s no 18-game winning streak, but Arsenal do enter Sunday’s trip to The Hawthorns with a five-game unbeaten run in tow — that’s the positive spin. Here’s the negative from the other side: the Gunners have won just two of those five games and have fallen behind Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur while slipping to sixth place (from fourth) in the PL table. The victory over Palace did see Arsene Wenger‘s side overcome a bit of adversity, as they were pegged back to 1-1 after taking an early lead. Alexis Sanchez responded with a second-half brace just four minutes apart. Palace finished the game with a second goal a furious fight for an equalizer, and Wenger was largely pleased with the result.

“Overall, I think it was a very good, positive performance. We were fluid going forward and controlled the game well,” he said. “At half-time it was 1-0, but it should have been more and then of course at some stage the home team who fights against relegation will come at you. I thought we had two good chances and after it was just down to 1-1, then we showed resources and character, were leading 3-1 and controlled the game quite well, but at 3-2 we became quite nervy again and we finished in a bit of a less controlled way, but overall it was a good team performance.”

West Bromwich Albion are currently the anti-Man City: having won their first two games of the season, the Baggies are without a win in their last 18 PL games and have fallen into 20th place, currently three points behind Palace who sit just outside the relegation zone. Similar to the Eagles, West Brom have a genuine mountain to climb if they’re to reverse fortunes on Sunday.

INJURIES: West Brom — OUT: Salomon Rondon (hamstring), Nacer Chadli (thigh), James Morrison (calf) | Arsenal — OUT: Olivier Giroud (hamstring), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Nacho Monreal (ankle), Santi Cazorla (achilles)

Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United: Zlatan, Pogba deliver key win

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  • Pogba put United ahead
  • Zlatan scores late winner
  • McArthur had equalized for Palace

LONDON — Manchester United left it late but Jose Mourinho’s side made it two-straight wins in the Premier League thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park on Wednesday.

[ MORE: 3 things learned ]

United went ahead in the first half as Ibrahimovic set up Pogba in controversial fashion, but a superb team goal got a largely lackluster Palace back in it with James McArthur finishing.

The game-winning moment arrived two minutes from time as Pogba played in Ibrahimovic and he finisihed superbly. 2-1 to United, who now have 27 points. Palace remain in trouble at the wrong end of the table on 15 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

United had an injury scare early on with Eric Bailly going down clutching his knee but he carried on and United looked the more dangerous in attack. Wayne Rooney sent a header over and Ander Herrera smashed a shot over as the Red Devils settled quicker with Palace standing off them.

Bailly got in down the right but his cutback couldn’t find Rooney and despite getting caught with a late challenge by Chung-Young Lee the Ivorian defender provided a useful threat down the right as he again found Rooney but a heavy touch saw the ball find Ibrahimovic in the box but Wayne Hennessey smothered the effort.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

Marcos Rojoj was then lucky to stay on the pitch for a two-footed lunge on Zaha which only saw him booked and then Zlatan had another shot deflected wide before half time. Hennessey then produced a great stop to deny Rooney the record-equaling goal. Pogba dinked over a lovely ball to Rooney and from eight yards out the United skipper tried to lift the ball into the top corner but Palace’s goalkeeper denied him. He remained on 248 goals. The game didn’t remain scoreless.

Right on half time a free kick from Mata found an unmarked Ibrahimovic and the Swedish striker chested it down in the box (although replays showed the ball looked to have struck his arm) to Pogba who slotted home. 1-0 to United with the last action of the first half a controversial one with Pogba also looking to be offside as he tapped home.

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Bailly finally came off injured with Matteo Darmian replacing him as the Ivorian defender never fully recovered from the early injury he suffered to his left knee.

Palace started to push for an equalizer and McArthur sent in an arrow which De Gea brilliantly tipped wide. McArthur didn’t have to wait long for a goal as a wonderful flick from Damien Delaney set up McArthur and he slotted home calmly. 1-1. Game on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

United cranked through the gears in the final 20 minutes and were incensed when a corner from the left saw Ledley handle the ball clearly in the box but referee Craig Pawson waved play on. Moments later he waved off a United goal with Rojo’s header to the back post finding Mata and the Spaniard slotted home but the offside flag was up, incorrectly.

Mourinho was not a happy man.

In the end he was happy, though, as Pogba played in Zlatan beautifully and despite the Swede having plenty to do he dinked home in the 88th minute to make it 2-1 and seal all three points for United.

Mourinho and his players celebrated at the final whistle on the pitch. The Red Devils are gaining momentum as they head into the busy festive period.