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Week 28 of the Premier League season is here and the main talking points are the battle for the top four and the ever-changing relegation situation.
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Remember: due to the League Cup final on Sunday, finalists Arsenal will host Manchester City on Thursday, Mar. 1 as they were also scheduled to play in the PL this weekend. That worked out smoothly.
The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.
Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.
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If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.
Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.
FULL TV SCHEDULE
7:30 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Stoke City – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Ham – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Bournemouth vs. Newcastle United – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Brighton vs. Swansea City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Brom vs. Huddersfield Town – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Watford vs. Everton – NBC [STREAM]
The UEFA Europa League takes center stage on Thursday as the second legs of the Round of 32 take place.
[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]
Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Lyon, Sporting Lisbon, Marseille, AC Milan, Athletic Bilbao and RB Leipzig are a few of the clubs who can breath relatively easily after big first leg wins, but with nothing to lose we could well see plenty of stunning comebacks as we’ve seen many times in this tournament over the past few years.
The long Premier League representatives left in the competition, Arsenal, have a 3-0 advantage over Swedish minnows Ostersunds in the second leg at the Emirates and although Arsene Wenegr is set to give plenty of youngsters a chance to play, he remains wary of a comeback as he prioritizes ahead of the League Cup final on Sunday against Manchester City.
In USMNT watch, Borussia Dortmund and Christian Pulisic head to Italy to play Atalanta in the second leg taking a slender 3-2 advantage with them after an incredible first leg which saw Michy Batshuayi grab another two goals to continue his heroic start to his loan spell from Chelsea.
Celtic head to Zenit with a one-goal advantage, while Lazio must overturn a first leg deficit and Napoli have plenty of work to do at Leipzig if they’re to make it through to the last 16.
One team has already made it through to the Round of 16 with CSKA Moscow edging by Red Star Belgrade 1-0 on aggregate on Wednesday.
Below is the full schedule for Thursday’s games (the first leg scores are listed after the kick off time), while you can click on the link above to follow the action live and we will have reaction and analysis from all the Europa League right here on Pro Soccer Talk.
Thursday’s Europa League Round of 32, second legs
Lokomotiv Moscow v. Nice — 11 a.m. ET (3-2)
Atletico Madrid v. Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET (4-1)
Sporting Lisbon v. Astana — 1 p.m. ET (3-1)
RB Leipzig v. Napoli — 1 p.m. ET (3-1)
Villarreal v. Lyon — 1 p.m. ET (1-3)
Lazio v. FCSB — 1 p.m. ET (0-1)
Zenit Saint-Petersburg v. Celtic — 1 p.m. ET (0-1)
Plzen v. Partizan Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET (1-1)
Dynamo Kyiv v. AEK Athens — 1 p.m. ET (1-1)
Red Bull Salzburg v. Real Sociedad — 3:05 p.m. ET (2-2)
Atalanta v. Borussia Dortmund — 3:05 p.m. ET (2-3)
Arsenal v. Ostersund — 3:05 p.m. ET (3-0)
Milan v. Ludogorets Razgrad — 3:05 p.m. ET (3-0)
Athletic Bilbao v. Spartak Moscow — 3:05 p.m. ET (3-1)
Braga v. Marseille — 3:05 p.m. ET (0-3)
Manchester United and Chelsea square off at Old Trafford this Sunday (Watch live, 9:05 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with both teams coming off tough tests against La Liga opponents in the UEFA Champions League last 16.
[ MORE: Conte’s tactical masterclass ]
Chelsea held Barcelona to a draw at home, while United went to Sevilla and shut up shop to grab a 0-0 draw. Both Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte are masters of setting their teams up to defend resolutely, but we will see something a little different this weekend with just three points separating these teams in the Premier League table?
The onus will be on United to attack and put some more space between themselves in second place and Chelsea in fourth, while also seeing Mourinho’s side cement their spot in the top four as in-form Liverpool and Tottenham continue to rack up wins.
Make no mistake about it, Sunday’s game is a huge encounter and could well set the tone for how the final months of the season go for both United and Chelsea.
Below is a look at the projected lineups for both teams, with an explanation for the starting XIs.
Manchester United (4-3-3)
—– De Gea —-
— Valencia — Lindelof — Smalling — Young —
—– Matic —- McTominay —- Pogba —-
—– Sanchez —– Lukaku —- Martial —-
Explanation: With Ander Herrera limping off injured, it appears Mourinho’s stance over Paul Pogba is over and the Frenchman will come into a three-man midfield alongside Nemanja Matic and McTominay. The other option is to drop McTominay and play Pogba in a more advanced role in a 4-1-4-1 formation, but given Mourinho’s pragmatic approach and previous penchant for man-marking Eden Hazard, it feels like he may well stick with a 4-3-3. In defense, it will be intriguing to see if Luke Shaw comes back into the team after not traveling to Sevilla in midweek, while Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones being out limits Mourinho’s central defensive options. In attack Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku are automatic starters, while the third attacking slot is a straight fight between Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. The latter has come up big for United in terms of goals scored this season, so I’d expect him to get the nod.
—– Courtois —–
—- Azpilicueta —- Christensen —- Rudiger —-
— Moses — Kante — Fabregas — Alonso —
Explanation: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That will be Conte’s motto (I’m sure it sounds much cooler in Italian) for this game after he praised Chelsea’s attacking unit and their overall display against Barcelona in midweek. They should have won by at least two goals as Willian was on fire and hit the post twice, while Eden Hazard and Pedro also caused havoc. You’d think Conte would like to have the goal-shy Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud (who is still returning to full fitness) available off the bench for Plan B, but the rest of this Chelsea team really picks itself. Gary Cahill may come in for Andreas Christensen in central defense after his costly error against Barcelona, but Conte was delighted with how the Danish center back despite his loose pace which led to Lionel Messi’s equalizer in midweek. The big question is around Hazard playing once again in the false nine and if Morata will start up top in place of Pedro to give Chelsea’s attack a more targetman to build from. Hazard in a false nine did not work well for Conte away at Arsenal in the League Cup semifinal second leg, but he appears to favor this formation right now with neither Morata or Giroud in the starting lineup.
MADRID (AP) It seems Fernando Torres‘ time as an Atletico Madrid player is coming to an end.
One of the club’s most beloved players, Torres has lost favor with one of his biggest allies at the club.
Coach Diego Simeone, a longtime supporter of the former Spain striker, says he will not go out of his way to try to keep Torres.
The surprise revelation left fans wondering about the future of Torres when his contract ends at the end of the season.
Torres hasn’t had a major role in his latest stint with the club but remains cherished by fans. He repeatedly declares his affection for the team he grew up cheering for and joined at 11, and publicly says he hopes to end his career with Atletico.
But Simeone on Wednesday gave a blunt “No” when asked if he would try to keep Torres as hard as he was trying to keep Antoine Griezmann.
“Being fair to myself, I obviously said `No,”‘ Simeone said. “I say ‘obviously’ because I think about the team. The question made to me clearly wasn’t about the team, and the difference is that I think about the team and about the club.”
Simeone’s reasoning is understandable. The 33-year-old Torres is noticeably past his prime. The 26-year-old Griezmann was named the third-best player in the world behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo only two years ago.
But Simeone’s response about Torres was still unexpected, and one he likely could have avoided if he wanted to. Simeone recently said if he was an Atletico fan he would do everything possible to support Griezmann and try to keep him at the club for as long as possible.
The France forward, who reportedly received offers from many other top European clubs, was jeered by Atletico fans after a slump earlier this season, and didn’t hide his dissatisfaction with the criticism.
Torres, meanwhile, has been on good terms with the fans despite not having helped much on the field in recent years.
He has five goals in 27 appearances this season. A year ago, he scored 10 from 45 appearances, and the season before he had 12 from 44 matches with Atletico.
Simeone boosted the team’s attack this season by adding Diego Costa and Vitolo, further reducing Torres’ role. Other forwards fighting for a start include Kevin Gameiro and Angel Correa.
Torres thrived with Atletico from 2001-07, was prolific for Liverpool, and at Chelsea he won a Champions League and Europa League. After a brief stint with AC Milan, he returned to Atletico in 2015.
Capped 110 times for Spain, he’s won one World Cup and two European Championships, enough to leave his mark in history.
His past with Atletico also won’t be forgotten no matter what, but his future with the beloved Madrid club remains highly unclear.
More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni