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Premier League Sunday Preview: Four huge clashes await as Manchester United take on Arsenal

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On Sunday we have four massive games coming up for you, with three games back-to-back on NBCSN in hat trick of delight for soccer fans.

Sunday morning will be lively, try your best not to wake everyone up.

It all kicks off with Tottenham hosting Newcastle United at 7:00am ET, then Sunderland take on Manchester City at 9:05am ET, before the big one, Manchester United against Arsenal at 11:10am ET.

All of those games are live on NBCSN, plus Swansea vs. Stoke City at 11:10am ET is available on NBC Sports Live Extra and Premier League Extratime. You can watch all four games live online via the link below.

WATCH ALL THE GAMES LIVE ON NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

So, let’s take a quick gander at some of the story lines ahead of these four games as some mammoth clashes will have a big say in who’s sitting pretty towards the league’s summit at the end of the weekend.

Here goes…

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Newcastle United – live on NBCSN, 7am ET

This one is definitely worth getting up early for on Sunday, as Spurs face a resurgent Newcastle side at White Hart Lane. Buoyed by their 2-0 win over Chelsea last week, Alan Pardew’s Magpies are looking to take another big scalp against goal-shy Spurs. Andre Villas-Boas has been criticized by many fans for being too negative and the whole Hugo Lloris situation caused plenty of controversy last week. A resounding win for Tottenham will see them potential move into the top three. Expect plenty of goals in this one…

source: Getty Images
Can Roberto Soldado kick on and seal another win for Spurs?

Sunderland vs. Manchester City – live on NBCSN, 9:05am ET

Jozy Altidore and has Sunderland squad had a brief respite from the dismal season they’ve had so far when they beat Newcastle two weeks ago. But the USMNT striker and his teammates imploded last week at Hull and now have an incredible tough match with in-form Man City. The Citizens have scored 12 goals in their last two games and have so many fine attacking talents. Although the news that City’s playmaker David Silva is out through injury will give the Black Cats hope. Can the Mackems pull off a massive shock at the Stadium of Light?

Manchester United vs. Arsenal – live on NBCSN, 11:10am ET

Wow. This is it. The current league leaders travel to the home of the reigning champions as overwhelming favorites in many people’s eyes. Can Arsenal really grab their first win at Old Trafford since 2006 on Sunday? Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie have been in scintillating form for the Red Devils but the Gunners have won eight of their 10 PL games so far, beat Dortmund away from home in the Champions League in midweek and can open up an 11 point lead over United with a win. This match promises to be the best of the season so far. If United win their back in the title race, a win for Arsenal solidified their place at the summit and sends out a message to the rest. Will a new rivalry between David Moyes and Arsene Wenger be just as intense as when Sir Alex Ferguson was around? Sunday will be a great indicator as two PL giants clash head on.

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Arsenal are flying high at the top of the table, can Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey give United the runaround?

Swansea City vs. Stoke City – live on NBC Sports Live Extra, 11am ET

The Swans are falling by the way side a little bit, and will be down in the dumps after first losing the South Wales derby to Cardiff last Sunday and then letting in a late goal away at Kuban Krasnador in Europa League action on Thursday. They’re in midtable and things are okay, but a big win at home against Stoke will certainly lift the spirits at the Liberty. As for Stoke, the Potters are still struggling for goals and despite snatching a decent point against Southampton last week, Mark Hughes will want to get a few wins on the board to get the confidence flowing at the Britannia. Stoke are sitting ominously in the relegation zone and maybe heading to a slightly jaded Swansea will see them grab the win they badly need.

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-1 FC Dallas (video)

COMMERCE CITY, CO - JULY 23: Marlon Hairston #94 of Colorado Rapids celebrates after scoring a first half goal past Chris Seitz #18 of FC Dallas during a game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on July 23, 2016 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
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The game in 100 words (or less): In keeping with the the theme of “we never really learn anything in MLS, it just kind of happens,” both the Colorado Rapids or FC Dallas had the chance to make a massive statement in the two sides’ ongoing race for the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield (FCD entered Saturday’s clash at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park with a three-point lead), but they ultimately settled for a 1-1 draw, and we settle for “wait until next week, maybe we’ll actually learn something then.” At least the goals were great, though — Marlon Hairston opened the scoring by rounding the goalkeeper with traffic in all directions, and Victor Ulloa unleashed a rocket from well outside the penalty area to equalize late on. In that sense, the 90 minutes were befitting a first-versus-second matchup. The draw means the Rapids are unbeaten in their last 15 league games, but the LA Galaxy, who won away to the Portland Timbers and inched two points closer to the league’s elites, are ultimately the day’s biggest winners.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of the MLS weekend ]

Three Four moments that mattered

26′ — Akindele goes inches wide of the far post — Quick, decisive movement around the penalty area is the only way to create that half-yard of space needed to fire a shot off.

33′ — Hairston breaks out, Zimmerman makes the dramatic block — Hairston was thisclose to having a one-on-one chance on goal, but Walker Zimmerman made a spectacular recovery run and an even better last-second sliding tackle to deflect Hairston’s shot narrowly wide of the post.

44′ — Hairston rounds Seitz to make it 1-0 — Composure, quickness, finesse. Hairston displayed it all on this goal, his second in as many games.

82′ — Ulloa unleashes a blast from 25 yards out f0r 1-1 — If not for the net on the goal, Ulloa’s strike might still be traveling at an ever-so-slightly upward trajectory for the rest of time.

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Man of the match: Sam Cronin

Goalscorers: Hairston (44′), Ulloa (82′)

MLS Snapshots: Impact 5-1 Union | Toronto FC 4-1 DC United (video)

Didier Drogba
Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): Look out, America, for the Canadians of Major League Soccer are here, and they mean business. Saturday night saw the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC thrash the Philadelphia Union (5-1) and D.C. United (4-1), two playoff-caliber teams in their own right, each at home, to move to within four and six points, respectively, of New York City FC, the current leaders of the Eastern Conference. The stars for the two sides? Would you believe me if I told you Sebastian Giovinco and Didier Drogba each scored a hat trick on the night? Of course you would, because they’re Giovinco and Drogba. At their best, it’s hard to argue any team in the East is better than either Montreal or Toronto. Here’s to 180 minutes of Drogba vs. Giovinco in the Eastern Conference finals.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of the MLS weekend ]

Three moments that mattered

19′ — Silky smooth build-up ends with a Drogba tap-in — If you’re allowing Drogba chances that are this easy, good luck to you. The real story here, though, is the backheel by Piatti. A moment like this is enough to flip me into a second-assist advocate.

42′ — Drogba slots home a rebound for 2-0 — Unlucky carom on the rebound, but you’re really not doing a great job of “don’t give Drogba chances that are that easy,” Union defense.

52′ — Drogba gets his hat trick — The Union are really, really not doing a good job of making life even the least bit difficult for Drogba.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Didier Drogba

Goalscorers: Drogba (19′, 42′, 52′), Pontius (72′), Piatti (87′), Mancosu (90+1′)


Three moments that mattered

21′ — Giovinco ends his skid with a stunning free kick — It had been eight full games since Giovinco last scored a league goal for TFC, by far the longest such streak of his time in MLS. The wait was (almost) worth it. (WATCH HERE)

39′ — Giovinco does it again — What is there to say at this point? The angle is ridiculous. The power is ridiculous. The swerve is ridiculous. Giovinco is a ridiculous player. (WATCH HERE)

90+1′ — A hat trick for Seba — Not to be outdone, Giovinco bags his third of the night.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Giovinco (21′, 39′, 90+1′), Jeffrey (24′), Delgado (29′)

WATCH: Giovinco’s goal drought is over after a pair of stunning free kicks

Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Colorado Rapids during the first half of the MLS soccer game in Toronto on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Chris Young/The Associated Press via AP)
Chris Young/The Associated Press via AP
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Oh, how we have missed you, Sebastian Giovinco, scorer of amazingly beautiful, video game-like goals.

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If you can believe it, Toronto FC’s tiny superstar entered Saturday’s clash with D.C. United without a goal in any of his last eight league games. Six minutes before halftime, the drought was over after not one, but two “only Giovinco could do that” free kicks (videos below).

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of the MLS weekend ]

It was by far the longest such streak of Giovinco’s (brief) time in MLS, and at least he had the decency to make it worth our wait.

Scholes: Pogba “nowhere near worth” rumored Man United transfer fee

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05:  Paul Pogba of Manchester United looks on during Paul Scholes' Testimonial Match between Manchester United and New York Cosmos at Old Trafford on August 5, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
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If a player is only worth what a club is willing to pay them, then aren’t they also worth a price at the top of the pay scale, as long as a club is willing to pay it?

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Manchester United legend Paul Scholes doesn’t think so, at least not in the case of Paul Pogba, the highly-sought Juventus (and former Man United, which he left for free) midfielder. Rumored to be the subject of $113-million bid by the Red Devils, Pogba’s footballing future remains a question, though an answer will have to be realized in the coming days and/or weeks, as the 2016-17 Premier League season kicks off 21 days from today.

That’s a price that, according to Scholes, should be reserved for “someone who is going to score 50 goals a season like Ronaldo or Messi” — quotes from the Guardian:

“He was a very talented young player, I played with him and I knew how good he was. He played for the first team maybe once or twice, but from my understanding he was asking for too much money [when he left in 2012].

“For his age, he was asking for far too much money, for a player who hasn’t played first-team football. OK, he has gone on to great things. I think certainly there has been a lot of improvement. He needed to improve if he is going to be a player worth £86m.”

While United may have to pay closer to [$131 million], Scholes added: “I just don’t think he is worth [$86 million]. For that sort of money, you want someone who is going to score 50 goals a season like Ronaldo or Messi. Pogba is nowhere worth that kind of money yet.

[ PRESEASON: PL clubs in action with opening day three weeks ago ]

On Scholes’ assertion that Pogba was asking “for far too much money”: United have finished 7th, 4th and 5th in the last three PL seasons, while in that same time Pogba has gone on to become on of the top five players in the world; meanwhile, none of the world’s 20 best (or is it 50?) players currently play for United. It would have been a risk to pay a 19-year-old with three first-team appearances like a seasoned veteran, to be sure, but so much of succeeding at the top level of the sport is down to hitting pay dirt on exactly that kind of calculated risk. If everyone plays it by the book, no one’s ever going to get ahead.

On Scholes’ obviously fear he may no longer be United’s greatest “Paul”: It’s OK, Scholesy, it’ll be terribly difficult to top in 10 years what you achieved in 18.