Premier League match previews 2015-16

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Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Norwich City

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  • United leads all-time 36W-13D-16L
  • Red Devils won last four by 13-0 combined score
  • Canaries last won at Old Trafford in 1989

Louis Van Gaal knows he’ll join Jose Mourinho as out-of-work footballing geniuses if he can’t Manchester United’s house in order, and the Dutchman needs a home win against struggling Norwich City on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on USA and online via Live Extra).

The Red Devils are coming off a 2-1 loss to Bournemouth and feeling heat for failing to finish, but also for their failure to take advantage of a wide-open Premier League title race. United is in fourth, six points back of Leicester City.

As for Norwich, Alex Neil‘s club is back in the drop zone after picking up just a pair of points in its last four matches. The Canaries are also losers of four-straight road matches.

WATCH LIVE AT 10 A.M. ET ON USA AND ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

What they’re saying

David De Gea on the Red Devils’ spirit“When you’re going through tough times, that’s when you become a very close unit and that is what we are. We have a terrific spirit in the dressing room, we’re all very much together and we’re all pulling in the same direction to do the very best we can for the club.”

Former Man Utd Academy product Robbie Brady on the match“”It’s exciting because I’ve only played there once since leaving. I still have friends there who I keep in contact with now and again; moving on was right for me and I’ve got no regrets. Manchester United was a great place to learn my trade but I’m a Norwich player now. It only takes a couple of results to change things and hopefully we can do that over the festive period, starting at United.”

Prediction

A coming out party for United, who finds strong performances from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial in a 3-1 decision at Old Trafford, heaping misery on the Canaries’ relegation predicament.

Premier League Preview: Manchester City vs. Newcastle United

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  • City is unbeaten in 17 league matches against Newcastle (W15, D2)
  • Newcastle is yet to win this season in the PL
  • Man City has not lost three straight PL matches since 2008

Manchester City will look to avoid dropping a third straight match in the league on Saturday when Newcastle United travels to the Etihad (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

[ MORE: Top Premier League headlines for Week 8 ]

After starting the season with five consecutive wins, City dropped back-t0-back matches against West Ham and Tottenham, falling behind crosstown rivals Manchester United on the table. However, with a home game against a winless Newcastle side, City has a great opportunity to get back on track.

If City is to take all three points, they’ll have to do so without two key players, as both Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure have been ruled out with injuries. Kompany has missed City’s last two matches with a calf problem, while Toure was taken off at halftime midweek in the Champions League with a hamstring issue. However, Eliquiam Mangala is fit to return after recovering from a groin injury, and could be paired in the center of defense with Nicolas Otamendi, who scored his first goal for the club against Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.

[ WATCH LIVE: Stream every PL game via Live Extra ]

Newcastle is coming off of a 2-2 draw against Chelsea, although the Magpies did lead by two goals before conceding twice late. Steve McClaren’s side has yet to win a match in the Premier League this season, and have not fared well against City in recent years. Newcastle is winless in the last 17 league matches against City, and has failed to score in any of the previous five meetings. They’ve had trouble scoring in general, as the club’s five goals is fewest in the league.

What they’re saying

City boss Manuel Pellegrini on the injury problems: “It’s not been a normal situation to have so many injuries – against Sunderland we had 11 injured, then it’s been seven or eight. I hope after this break, most of them will be fit. I never complain about the players who can’t play. I don’t think that one name can change the performance of this team. We also win a lot of games without Vincent [Kompany].”

Magpies manager Steve McClaren on facing a top side: “We need a good performance. We want to go there with a good attitude, looking organised and disciplined, playing good football and playing with no fear. We need to be like that if we want to get anything at the Etihad Stadium against a very good Manchester City side.”

Prediction

This match looks like one of the locks of the weekend, as Manchester City should come out firing after losing two straight. The tough times for Steve McClaren continue, as Newcastle will have to wait one more week to earn that first win. Manchester City 3-0 Newcastle United.

Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City

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  • David Silva is out for Manchester City with an injury
  • Kevin De Bruyne could make his City debut
  • Palace has won four of its last five PL games

It’s first-place vs. second-place on Saturday when Manchester City heads to Selhurst Park to face off against Crystal Palace (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

Manchester City currently sits at the top of the table with a perfect record of four wins from four matches, as Manuel Pellegrini‘s men have looked like the team to beat early on in the season. City’s ten goals scored is most in the league, while they remain the only team yet to concede a goal as well. Their +10 goal differential is +7 better than the closest side, which four teams have, including Crystal Palace.

[ MORE: Top 5 storylines to look out for as PL returns ]

A big blow for City is the absence of David Silva, who has been ruled out after picking up an ankle injury. Silva has run the show in City’s midfield, and has been one of the top players in the league this season. However, Silva’s injury means that Kevin de Bruyne will likely get the start in his place in what could be his first appearance for the club. Manchester City paid $85 million for the Belgian winger, and City supporters believe his arrival could be the key to claiming the Premier League title.

Crystal Palace is coming off a massive 2-1 win away at Chelsea, but will have their hands full when they return to Selhurst Park. Injury problems have also hit the Eagles, as Connor Wickham and Marouane Chamakh have both been hurt, meaning the young Patrick Bamford will likely get the start up top.

What they’re saying

Alan Pardew on Palace’s strengths: “We’re different to Manchester City. We have more counter-attacks than them. They tend to retain the ball sufficiently, they can dominate possession and how many times we can unlock the door on our breakaways will be the key.”

Pellegrini on Kevin de Bruyne: “His position is easy to settle in our team. He will be a very important player for us. He’s in the squad list, we’ll see tomorrow whether he starts. I think that he can play in all three positions, on the wings or as a striker with no problems.”

Prediction

This should be a highly entertaining match as both sides have been playing some really good football to start the season. After stunning Chelsea last matchday, it’s going to be a tall order for Palace to repeat with another win over a dominant City side. David Silva’s absence will hurt, but City should still take all three points. Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester City.

Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Liverpool

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  • Manchester United leads the all-time series W77-D51-L64
  • David De Gea could make his first start of the season
  • United won both fixtures last season (3-0, 2-1)

One of the most storied rivalries in all of football will be back on the pitch at Old Trafford on Saturday, as Liverpool and Manchester United meet for the 193rd time in history (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra).

[ WATCH: Stream every PL game via Live Extra ]

Manchester United won both meetings last season, something Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool will look to turn around tomorrow on the road.

The biggest story surrounding this game involves David de Gea, who has yet to feature for Manchester United this season. After his transfer to Real Madrid fell through in the final minutes on Deadline Day, the Spanish international could make his first start in front of the home support at Old Trafford. After signing a new four-year contract with the club, de Gea is ready to get his focus back to football. If you think back to last December, de Gea put in one of his best performance in a United jersey against Liverpool, which ended in a 3-0 win for the Red Devils. When asked if de Gea would get the start, Louis Van Gaal answered in typical Louis van Gaal fashion, saying “You shall see it, you never know.”

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League Picks — Week 5 ]

Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool could have to make due without some key players, as Adam Lallana and captain Jordan Henderson are both questionable while battling injuries. Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho will also miss the match while serving a suspension after his red card against West Ham. Both sides are tied with seven points through four matches, which adds even more importance to this match, albeit early in the season.

What they’re saying

United assistant manager Ryan Giggs on facing Liverpool: “Liverpool is the perfect game to come back to after the international break. Old Trafford will be bouncing for a late kick-off. All the players are looking forward to it and I’m sure the fans are, too. Liverpool is always a special game and it’s even more special when you win, so we can’t wait.”

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers on his side’s focus: “It’s winning the next game, irrespective of where it is. Of course it’s a big game, but once you lose a game and you’ve had two weeks to sit on it, winning the next game is important – no matter where that’s at.”

Prediction

Neither has side has really been in good form to start the season, but when Manchester United and Liverpool meet, you can always expect an entertaining match. The possible return of David de Gea has given some added excitement to the game, and with Wayne Rooney coming off of a historic international break with England, tomorrow could be the day he gets off the mark in the Premier League. Manchester United 2-0 Liverpool.

Premier League Sunday preview: Man United looking for revenge vs. Swansea City

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Week 4 of the 2015-16 Premier League season concludes on Sunday, with Manchester United looking to avenge a pair of humbling defeats suffered in Louis van Gaal’s first season in charge of the club.

[ MORE: Saturday’s full PL roundup ]

Swansea City knocked off the eventual fourth-place finishers not one, but twice during the 2014-15 season (both victories came via a 2-1 score). Elsewhere, Southampton return to league action after a frustrating exit from European competition mid-week.

Southampton vs. Norwich City — 7:30 am ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

For Southampton, this is a chance to rebound, right the wrongs of the Premier League season’s early days, and set themselves on their merry way for the rest of the league campaign. On Thursday, Saints went out of the Europa League in very unceremonious fashion, having already dropped seven points in the league while focusing their attention elsewhere. For Ronald Koeman’s side, a home date against newly promoted Norwich City might be just what the doctor ordered.

Though, to be fair to the Canaries, they’ve won twice as many points (4) from their first three games as Sunday’s opponents, and scored three more goals (5) while doing so. 21-year-old winger Nathan Redmond tops the scoring charts alongside center back Russell Martin (two goals each). Following an opening-day defeat to Crystal Palace, Alex Neil’s side has rebounded with an away victory over Sunderland and a draw with Stoke City.

For Saints, the injury list is extensive: Victor Wanyama (illness), Sadio Mane (hip), Ryan Bertrand (knee) and Jordy Clasie (hamstring) all figure to be unavailable. For Norwich, it’s slightly better news with only Youssouf Mulumbu (foot) and Martin Olsson (shoulder) out through injury.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays | Standings | Stats ]

Swansea City vs. Manchester United — 11 am ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

No one at Man United will have forgotten the club’s two defeats suffered at the hands of Swansea City last season, and no one will remember the pair of defeats to the Swans more clearly than Van Gaal. Nor will United’s Dutch manager forget the late nature of either defeat, with the game-winning goals coming in the 72nd and 73rd minutes, respectively.

For United, the start to the 2015-16 league season has been much more kind, as the Red Devils find themselves unbeaten through three games and one of two teams (Manchester City) yet to conceded a single goal on the still-young season. Wayne Rooney bagged a hat trick in UEFA Champions League qualifying action on Wednesday, but he’s still searching for his first league goal of the season. On the other side, Swansea’s no. 1 striker, Bafetimbi Gomis, comes into Sunday’s game with three league goals to his name, with summer signing Andre Ayew a goal back of his total.

United will be without midfielder Adnan Januzaj (hip) and defender Phil Jones (illness) for this one, while the Swans head into Sunday’s clash with a clean bill of health.