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PL roundup: Man Utd best Liverpool; Newcastle safe?

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Get caught up on all seven Premier League fixtures from Saturday…

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Manchester United 2-1 LiverpoolFULL RECAP

It wasn’t pretty — is it ever with Jose Mourinho? — but Man United rode a pair of early Marcus Rashford goals to all three points and reclamation of the steering wheel in the race for second place. Rashford scored after 14 and 24 minutes, at which point United gladly handed over the vast majority of possession (Liverpool finished with 68 percent, at Old Trafford), but the Red Devils held firm outside of Eric Bailly‘s own goal in the 66th minute. With eight games still to play, United lead Liverpool by five points (Tottenham Hotspur could get back to within four with a win on Sunday).

Chelsea 2-1 Crystal PalaceFULL RECAP

Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea snapped a two-game losing skid with a narrow home victory over Crystal Palace, courtesy of a slow roller from Willian and a Martin Kelly own goal inside the first 32 minutes at Stamford Bridge. Patrick Van Aanholt brought the visitors back to 2-1 in the 90th minute, the Blues held on to win for just the second time in six PL outings. They trail Tottenham by two points, having already played one more game than Spurs.

West Ham United 0-3 BurnleyFULL RECAP

West Ham’s season has gone from bad, to worse, to this has to be the worst it can get, right? Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat to seventh-place Burnley saw the London Stadium devolve into a set of truly ugly scenes, as fan violence and protests became the main storyline. Chris Wood scored twice in the second half, to go with another goal from Ashley Barnes, all in the span of 15 second-half minutes.

Newcastle United 3-0 SouthamptonFULL RECAP

Back in August — and September, and October, and probably November, too — Newcastle United seemed a surefire lock for relegation from the PL. Fast-forward to early March, and Rafa Benitez has somehow — masterfully — managed to guide the Magpies to 13th place in the league table, a full five points clear of 18th place. Southampton, on the other hand, are just one place and one point clear of the drop zone after a brace from Kenedy and a third from Matt Ritchie dropped Saints to four games without a win on Saturday.

West Bromwich Albion 1-4 Leicester CityFULL RECAP

West Brom aren’t likely to realize the same rescue from relegation that Newcastle have enjoyed, as Alan Pardew‘s side currently sits bottom of the league, eight points away from safety, after another humiliating defeat at home, this time to eighth-place Leicester. Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Kelechi Iheanacho and Vicente Iborra got the goals after Salomon Rondon had put the Baggies 1-0 up after eight minutes.

Everton 2-0 Brighton & Hove AlbionFULL RECAP

Speaking of sides who managed to rebound after a torrid start to the season, Everton have reclaimed their (apparent) birthright as a top-half side following Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Brighton. Gaetan Bong put the Seagulls behind with an own goal on the hour mark, followed by an insurance goal for the Toffees courtesy of Cenk Tosun.

Huddersfield Town 0-0 Swansea CityFULL RECAP

15th-place Huddersfield and 14th-place Swansea played to perhaps the most lopsided 0-0 draw in the history of soccer after Jordan Ayew was sent off in the 11th minute.

Sunday’s PL schedule

Arsenal vs. Watford — 9:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 12 p.m. ET, on NBCSports.com

Monday’s PL schedule

Stoke City vs. Manchester City — 4 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Chelsea 2-1 Palace: More Willian electricity

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  • Willian scores 13th of season
  • Blues off to Barcelona at midweek
  • Van Aanholt scores 90′

Willian was the danger man and his goal was joined by a Martin Kelly own goal as Chelsea cruised past Crystal Palace 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Patrick Van Aanholt scored a 90th minute goal to pull one back for Palace.

The Blues remain comfortably fifth with 56 points while injury-hit Palace remains 18th but did get a Wilfried Zaha substitute appearance.

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Chelsea was in control early, and Wayne Hennessey answered the bell when Giroud redirected N'Golo Kante‘s shot on target.

Willian then hit a low shot toward the near post that Hennessey collected with a dive.

The Brazilian got it over the line in the 25th minute, cutting into the center of the park and seeing a slightly-deflected offering beat Hennessey to the near post.

A well-worked Chelsea move saw Willian allow a Marcos Alonso cross through his leg to Hazard, who cued Zappacosta for a shot that turned off two Crystal Palace players and into the goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

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Chelsea opened the second half with a poor giveaway, and Alexander Sorloth cranked a shot off the near post as Palace failed to pull back a goal.

Willian worked a 1-2 with Giroud, but took an extra touch on the return ball and saw his shot blocked by James Tomkins.

Hennessey denied Hazard in the 55th minute, as Chelsea looked to keep its form firing on all cylinders ahead of the midweek match with Barcelona.

Wilfried Zaha won a free kick on the left edge of the 18, and his blocked shot found Patrick van Aanholt. His shot was caught by Thibaut Courtois.

A Willian free kick at the other end beat the wall but not the flying parry of Hennessey. And Giroud hit the post in the 67th.

Sorloth had an 85th minute goal pulled back for undisclosed reasons, as Palace probably should’ve had 2-1 with five minutes to play. It got its goal when Van Aanholt prodded a shot through Courtois’ legs in the 90th minute.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace v. Man United

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Crystal Palace host Manchester United on Monday at Selhurst Park (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Eagles aim to give their survival hopes a huge boost by beating United for the first time ever in the Premier League at the 18th time of asking.

[ LIVE: Palace v Man United ] 

Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils have slipped to third over the weekend but they now a win would solidify them in second place and create a nine point game to fifth-place Chelsea with just nine games to go. A place in the top four is edging closer for Mourinho but after their shock defeat at Newcastle in their last away game, United’s stars will be wary of another costly upset.

In team news Palace start with Christian Benteke and Alexander Sorloth in attack as Wilfried Zaha remains out through injury, with Martin Kelly and Jeffrey Schlupp returning from spells on the sidelines.

United make one change from the team which beat Chelsea last weekend as Jesse Lingard replaces Anthony Martial who isn’t involved in the 18-man squad.

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Kelly, Van Aanholt; Schlupp, McArthur, Milivojevic, Townsend; Sorloth, Benteke. Subs: Cavalieri, Delaney, Jach, Soure, Riedewald, Rakip, Lee

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Young; Matic, McTominay, Pogba; Sanchez, Lingard, Lukaku. Subs: Pereira, Bailly, Darmian, Shaw, Carrick, Mata, Rashford

PL Preview: Crystal Palace v. Man United

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  • Palace have never beaten United in 17 PL games
  • Crystal Palace have lost all eight PL games without Zaha this season
  • United haven’t lost three-straight PL away games since 1996

Crystal Palace host Manchester United on Monday at Selhurst Park (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with the Eagles hoping to cause a huge upset and drag themselves out of the bottom three.

As for Jose Mourinho and United, they will be hoping to move back into second place with a win and close the gap on runaway PL leaders Man City to 16 points. A victory would also see United move nine points clear of fifth-place Chelsea with nine games to go.

In team news Palace will once again be without start attacker Wilfried Zaha, but Martin Kelly and Jeffrey Schlupp are fit. United have Ander Herrera, Daley Blind, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo all out injured.


What they’re saying

Roy Hodgson on relegation battle: “There is no alternative but to keep your nerve. The secret is accepting you have no alternatives and to remain as calm as you can — and to never lose sight of the fact that the team will only survive if the team is good enough, works hard enough and does well enough on the field to get the necessary number of points.”

Jose Mourinho hits out at media criticism: “We have very good matches and we have very good periods of matches. Sometimes the media are a bit unfair with all of us, with myself, with the players. We are better than you say.”

Prediction

Even without Zaha, Palace will be a tough test for United. Roy Hodgson’s men drew against Man City at home and lost late on against Tottenham and there’s no doubting they’ll look to spring counter attacks and defend deep. I’m going for a 1-1 draw.

Frank de Boer questions “courage” after Crystal Palace defeat

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Frank De Boer has lost all of his first three Premier League games in charge of Crystal Palace and the Eagles have yet to score a goal.

Palace lost 2-0 at home to Swansea City on Saturday in a game which already felt like a relegation six-pointer.

Tammy Abraham and Jordan Ayew scored either side of half time to suck the life out of de Boer’s team and Palace never fully recovered from a slow start to the game.

Speaking after the game the Dutchman, who saw his side booed off at half time, revealed his thoughts on yet another lackluster display.

“We were uncomfortable with how we played,” de Boer said. “Swansea didn’t play that well the first half but I said before the game because they play the same system as us, we have one spare man left in the back and they had one spare man left in the back, it will become a lot of duels and the team which maybe shows the most courage but also makes the less mistakes will win the game. In the end it was like that.”

De Boer did salute his side for the “spirit” and “guts” they showed in the second half and revealed he is desperate to give Palace’s vocal fans something to cheer.

“I saw a totally different Crystal Palace in the second half and then you are already behind. You want to get in front. The crowd is fantastic and they always stay behind you. You want to give them something back,” de Boer added.

Palace have lost 3-0 at home to Huddersfield, 1-0 at Liverpool and now 2-0 against Swansea City heading into the first international break of the campaign and everything points to the obvious question: can de Boer really turn this group of players into a flowing, possession-based side?

It was a brave hire by Palace to bring in de Boer in the first place.

He wants wants to play an attractive style in a 3-4-3 formation but is trying to do that with a team of players put together by Sam Allardyce and his notorious direct approach. It is like asking Leicester City’s players to possess the ball and not hit teams on the break.

Palace are not playing to their strengths.

Time and time again Palace’s defenders were caught on the ball and they looked uneasy at trying to possess the ball as de Boer wants them to. Substitute Martin Kelly made mistakes for both goals and Palace just couldn’t get any quality service to Christian Benteke up top.

It will be a very long international break for de Boer and Crystal Palace with the bookies already making him the favorite to be the first PL manager to lose his job this season.