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It’s back! The Premier League returns after the final international break of the 2016-17 season and the run-in has begun.
[ LIVE: Stream every PL game live ]
With a massive clash between Arsenal and Manchester City on Sunday, plus the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton on Saturday and tricky tests for Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea, plenty of the big boys could drop points this weekend.
Below is a look at all 10 games with team news, top things to watch and a score prediction for each encounter.
Southampton vs. Bournemouth
Liverpool vs. Everton
Arsenal vs. Manchester City
Burnley vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace
Manchester United vs. West Brom
Hull City vs. West Ham
Swansea City vs. Middlesbrough
Leicester City vs. Stoke City
Watford vs. Sunderland
Manchester City and Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has been sharing Manchester City’s mantra in the USA recently.
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With City announcing the schedule for their U.S. tour this summer, Gundogan’s long-term knee injury meant he was able to travel Stateside and work on his rehab while he also checked out New York City, promoted City’s upcoming tour, hung out in the studio with the NBC Sports crew — see the video above as Gundogan talks tactics with Robbie Earle — and also took in some MLS action.
He was a busy, busy man.
[ MORE: PL giants announce US tour dates ]
Speaking to Pro Soccer Talk after his trip, the 26-year-old midfielder is excited about returning to the States this summer with his teammates as they face Real Madrid in LA, Tottenham Hotspur in Nashville and arch rivals Manchester United in preseason games.
“This preseason will be really important for the club, and it was also a privilege to represent the club and help launch our summer tour of the USA,” Gundogan said. “We are due to play some amazing games against Spurs, Real Madrid and also the derby with Manchester United. It’s a great chance to see some more USA cities and culture, and the players will be delighted to be out there in some good weather in some amazing stadiums, in order to prepare for the season.”
Gundogan was a key part of Pep Guardiola‘s rebuild of City last summer but the former Borussia Dortmund star suffered a season-ending injury in December. He is well on the road to recovery and has had a close friend throughout the last few weeks of his rehab.
Joining him on his trip to the U.S. was fellow City teammate Gabriel Jesus — the 19-year-old Brazilian striker is recovering from a broken metatarsal — and the duo enjoyed hanging out in New York City to give themselves a break from the day-to-day grind in the gym.
“The hospitality in New York was brilliant, and the overall trip was a great way for Gabriel and myself to combine our rehabilitation in the gym with some marketing and community work for the club,” Gundogan explained. “We took in some U.S. sports by visiting games at New York City FC, the Brookyln Nets and New York Rangers, and also did some sightseeing around New York. I enjoyed seeing the Manchester City billboard advert in Times Square with our photo on it! And watching Germany beat England in a New York bar in Manhattan was also an experience…”
One of the advantages of visiting the Big Apple was the fact that City’s stars could spend some time with sister club New York City FC and Gundogan and Gabriel had the chance to meet with NYCFC boss Patrick Vieira, with the German taking a keen interest in how the game is developing in the USA.
“Gabriel and I went for dinner with Patrick Vieira and we heard all about how well he is enjoying coaching New York City FC. And we saw the NYCFC game against Montreal, and it was incredible to witness the passion for the club there at Yankee Stadium,” Gundogan said. “There is no doubt that soccer is on an upward curve in the USA, and its very interesting to see it developing. The passion for sport is evident, the facilities are incredible, and they have all the ingredients for soccer to continue to improve.”
Overall, the trip was a great way for the silky midfielder to taste the U.S. before a big summer Stateside for City and MLS had a lasting impression on the German star who is hopeful that soccer will continue to grow and progress.
“We do get to see MLS games over in Europe now and then, and there is an increased focus on it at Manchester City, given our colleagues in New York play in that league,” Gundogan said. “It was great to see it in the flesh at Yankee Stadium last week and I’ll definitely be paying a closer attention to it in future. I certainly think it has a great potential. There are some great players in the league, both from at home and also the stars coming from elsewhere around the globe like Andrea Pirlo and David Villa. The standard is improving all the time.”
The sun is shinning in England this week as we head into April and there are just nine gameweek’s remaining in the Premier League. Can you believe it?
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After a long winter, the business end of the season is here and there’s still so much on the line when it comes to the top four race, relegation battle and maybe, just maybe, Chelsea will start to wobble as the edge closer to the title…
Let’s have some fun by summing up what lies ahead in the final two months of the season for each club in a single sentence. With no more international breaks to negotiate, we are entering the home-stretch of the 2016-17 campaign.
Ready? Here it goes.
Arsenal – Uncertainty in the air, Arsene Wenger‘s side have to regroup to secure a top four finish and try to win the FA Cup with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil putting their contract issues aside and leading the way.
Bournemouth – Should be a stroll in the South Coast sun for the Cherries in the final few months of the season as Eddie Howe‘s side have picked up back-to-back wins and should be clear of relegation and able to express themselves.
Burnley – Well on course to retain their status as a Premier League club for the first time in history, Sean Dyche‘s side will hunt their first away win of the season and look to cause a few more shocks at home with relegation no longer a lingering fear.
Chelsea – All about the title for Chelsea as Antonio Conte‘s men can wrap things up before the end of April if other results go their way, plus the double is still up for grabs as Conte looks to cap off his first season in England in style.
Crystal Palace – Sam Allardyce the survival expert is at it again with three-straight shutout wins as he’s sorted out Palace’s defense but knows a huge challenge is ahead with all of the top six teams still to play.
Hull City – Survival is the key for the Tigers as Marco Silva’s men battle against all the odds to remain in the Premier League and they have a real fighting chance with some big games against relegation rivals still remaining.
Leicester City – After three-straight wins new manager Craig Shakespeare will look to secure Leicester’s PL status as soon as possible and then all the focus is on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals… surely they can’t make the UCL’s last four?
Liverpool – Jurgen Klopp‘s preseason target of finishing in the top four is well within reach but you get the lingering sense that Liverpool’s fans are getting nervous as clashes with bottom half teams proving tricky all season long.
Manchester City – Top four finish (by no means a guarantee) and an FA Cup victory would be a decent first season for Pep Guardiola at City but after spending so much money there’s a feeling that better things are to come next season.
Manchester United – All the focus is on somehow qualifying for the Champions League next season, be that with a top four finish or winning the Europa League as Jose Mourinho’s injury-hit squad will be under intense pressure as the games come thick and fast.
Middlesbrough – The next three weeks will define Boro’s season as they face direct relegation rivals and caretaker boss Steve Agnew simply needs his team to start throwing caution to the wind and score some goals.
Southampton – Saints’ season is in danger of petering out after their Europa League exploits and EFL Cup final defeat as they aren’t close to the relegation zone and can’t finish any higher than eighth place in Claude Puel‘s debut campaign in charge.
Stoke City – Mark Hughes‘ Stoke are set for a fourth-straight top 10 finish but making that extra leap to try and challenge the top six is proving so difficult for not only the Potters but a host of well-run teams.
Sunderland – Survival is on the mind of David Moyes‘ side who have spent 91 percent of the campaign in the bottom three and they need Jermain Defoe to keep scoring and for their fans to pray for a miracle…
Swansea City – After picking up big wins when Paul Clement first arrived, the Swans have regressed in recent weeks and they need to win key games against relegation rivals in the run-in before some tough games to finish with.
Tottenham Hotspur – Mauricio Pochettino‘s youngsters believe they can still catch Chelsea and win the Premier League title with a favorable run of games to finish with, but another top four finish would be a great season and adding an FA Cup trophy would be the cherry on top despite their struggles in Europe.
Watford – Walter Mazzarri‘s men have had a really strange season and after losing three of their last four games the Hornets are starting to glance over their shoulders a little at the relegation zone with a tough finish to the season coming up.
West Brom – A phenomenal season so far for the Baggies as they aim to reach 50 points in a single season for the first time in club history and Tony Pulis‘ men will look to upset Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea in the process.
West Ham – Slaven Bilic and the Hammers probably can’t wait for this season to end but there’s still a very good chance they can finish in the top 10 with a favorable run-in giving them a chance to salvage a season riddled by injuries, the move to a new stadium and losing Dimitri Payet.
The Premier League is back and that means and that can only mean one thing… a fresh batch of Player Power Rankings.
[ MORE: Power Rankings archive ]
Based on their play before the international break and their form for their countries over the past 10 days, plenty of injuries have seen some superstars slide down our rankings.
Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.
Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections of the top 20 players in the PL right now.
- Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – Up 1
- Romelu Lukaku (Everton) – Up 1
- Leroy Sane (Man City) – Down 2
- Dele Alli (Tottenham) – Even
- N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) – Even
- Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – Even
- Diego Costa (Chelsea) – Even
- Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City) – Even
- Raheem Sterling (Man City) – Up 1
- David Silva (Man City) – Up 2
- Gary Cahill (Chelsea) – Up 3
- David De Gea (Manchester United) – Up 1
- Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) – New entry
- Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – Down 5
- Adam Lallana (Liverpool) – New entry
- David Luiz (Chelsea) – Even
- Michael Keane (Burnley) – New entry
- Marcus Rashford (Man United) – Even
- Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea) – Even
- John Stones (Man City) – New entry