Liverpool and Chelsea square off at Anfield, with the Blues not having happy memories of Merseyside in past seasons.

Premier League Sunday Preview: Chelsea host Liverpool, Newcastle and Arsenal clash

Leave a comment

If 26 Premier League games over the past seven days hasn’t been enough for you, don’t worry…. there’s four more coming your way on Sunday.

After Saturday’s jam-packed slate of games delivered plenty of goals, controversy and drama on and off the field, let’s take a peek at what Sunday has in store for us.

And remember, you can watch NBC Sports Network for our feature games and watch every single second of every single game live this season online via NBC Sports Live Extra and the NBC Sports Live Extra App. Via your TV you can watch the games live on Premier League Extra Time.

Let’s get to the action on Sunday, as four massive games are lined up.

Newcastle United vs. Arsenal, 8:30am ET, live on NBCSN

The Magpies are flying this season, as the French-heavy squad is finally fit and firing on all cylinders. Alan Pardew’s side have already beaten Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United this season and fancy another scalp when Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal roll into town. However the Gunners are a bit of ‘bogey team’ for Newcastle, who have won just once in their last 11 attempts versus the North London side. Arsenal will welcome Jack Wilshere back into the squad after his suspension but Aaron Ramsey is still missing through injury, while Newcastle have no new injury worries. Arsenal were knocked off the top spot by Manchester City on Saturday, only a win at St. James’ Park will send them back to the summit. They’ll have to be at their very best to get that, against a in-form Newcastle side who have won seven of their last nine.

source:
The Gunners are looking for more success against the Magpies to move back to the PL summit.

Everton vs. Southampton, 8:30am ET, live on Premier League Extra Time

The Toffees came unstuck against Sunderland last-time out, as USMNT ‘keeper Tim Howard took down Sunderland’s Ki, Howard was then red carded and the South Korean midfielder dispatched the game-winner from the penalty spot. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Roberto Martinez’ men who with 10-men for most of the game dominated proceedings and were unlucky to lose at home for the first time in 2013. As for Southampton, they grabbed their first win in seven games last time out as the Saints battered Cardiff 3-0 with Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert running riot. Ninth placed Southampton have only won once in 14 attempts in the PL at Goodison Park, can fifth placed Everton give them another hiding? This should be a great game between two sides who love to stroke the ball around and with the Toffees missing Howard and Gareth Barry though suspension and the Saints seeing players recalled to fitness… who knows what will happen.

Chelsea vs. Liverpool, 11am ET, live on NBCSN

source: AP
Can Mourinho’s Chelsea send a message out to the rest of the league?

This game will be massive, as Liverpool won’t want to lose two on the spin and Chelsea want to send out a message to the rest of the league that this title is theirs for the taking. In the build-up Jose Mourinho said in jest that he hoped Luis Suarez “got an injury, not a serious one, just something minor” as he asked about how good Liverpool’s top striker is. On top of his game, he’s unstoppable and Chelsea must quell the danger of Suarez if they want to win on Sunday. Last season Suarez bit Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, so expect special treatment from the Chelsea fans towards the Uruguayan. Like Suarez, the Blues have been in good form themselves and a win could see them go second and extend their lead over Liverpool to four points. But the Reds showed against Man City on Boxing Day that they can compete and trouble the best teams in the land, so Brendan Rodgers will fancy his chances against the club where he learned his coaching trade. Plus Chelsea have only won twice in their last 13 PL games against the Anfield club. Liverpool’s injury worries could harm them, as Mourinho’s men look to put down a marker heading into the new year. Do yourself a favor… don’t miss this match.

Tottenham vs. Stoke City, 11am ET, live on Extra Time

Tim Sherwood’s unveiling as Spurs’ new manager on a permanent basis didn’t exactly go according to plan on Boxing Day, as West Bromwich Albion came to White Hart Lane and grabbed a point. Spurs and Sherwood will be looking to dispatch Stoke City on Sunday, as the Potters head to London fresh off the back of that 5-1 thumped by Newcastle last time out. Albeit Stoke were reduced to nine-men in the first half after a crazy few minutes, but Mark Hughes’ men won’t be relishing a trip to North London so soon after being battered, bruised and bewildered. That said, this will be a rough and tumble affair as Spurs’ new physical and more direct approach is sure to clash with Stoke’s robust defensive unit. It might not be one for the purists but Spurs need a win to stay in touch with the top four, as a defeat could see them slip five or six points off top spot. It could be a rough afternoon for Stoke, as Tottenham aim to improve their already incredible record against the Potters (won 28, drawn 8, lost 2 of last 38 encounters) when this bruising encounter takes place to round of 2013.

Eight Premier League clubs among world’s Top 20 earners

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02:  Marcos Rojo of Manchester United slides in as Sergio Aguero of Manchester City and Wayne Rooney of Manchester United battle for the ball as during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United can spend because Manchester United prints money.

Maybe that’s an oversimplification, but the Red Devils earned more than $632 million this year. That’s better than second-place Barcelona and third-place Barcelona by $60-plus million.

It’s United’s first year atop the list since 2005. Here’s the full report.

[ FA CUP: Liverpool moves on ]

The UEFA Champions League heavy list sees eight Premier League sides: United (1), Man City (5), Arsenal (7), Chelsea (8), Liverpool (9), Tottenham Hotspur (12), West Ham United (18), Leicester City (20).

Serie A is second with four clubs, while La Liga and Bundesliga have three clubs on the list. Ligue 1 (Paris Saint-Germain) and the Russian Premier League (Zenit Saint Petersburg) complete the group of 20.

The Associated Press’ stalwart reporter Rob Harris has this handy chart:

Why Antoine Griezmann is exactly what Man United need

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07:  Antoine Griezmann of France celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
5 Comments

Multiple reports are linking Manchester United with a summer move for Antoine Griezmann.

Do they need him? Yes. Yes they do.

[ MORE: Costa back for Chelsea ]

An incredible stat emerged at the weekend which stated that United has the worst “big chance” conversion rate in the whole of the Premier League. Stats company Opta state that United have had 37 big chances (this stat is described as “a situation where a player should be reasonably expected to score”) this season, converting just 12 of them at a ratio of 32.43 percent.

The Independent claims that United are willing to pay Griezmann’s release clause of $106 million to sign him from Atletico Madrid and the French international said back in November that he would like to link up with his international teammate Paul Pogba.

Seems straightforward enough…

There is, however, a complication surrounding any deal as Atletico currently have a transfer ban and if their appeal falls through then the Spanish club won’t be able to buy or sell any players in the summer.

For United, 25-year-old Griezmann would be the major arrival at Old Trafford this summer and the report also suggests that Mourinho is eager to offload Luke Shaw this offseason, plus Memphis Depay will leave in January as Lyon’s pursuit continues.

Back to Griezmann though, and it is reported that United have been pursuing the diminutive striker since the summer when he stole the show at EURO 2016 as the top goalscorer in the tournament which saw the host nation France lose in the final to Portugal.

On paper, Griezmann would be a phenomenal buy for United. He is exactly what they’ve been missing this season.

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 10: Antoine Griezmann (L) and Paul Pogba (R) of France shows their dejection after their team's 0-1 defeat in the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Yes, Zlatan has been ruthless in recent weeks — 11 goals in his last 11 games in all competitions says as much — but he is 35 years old and can’t be expected to go on forever. He has also had bad moments in front of goal this season and when you look around United’s squad they have raw young talents in Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford but not much else, and certainly no clinical strikers like Griezmann.

When I think of United, I think of a team creating copious amounts of chances and with their direct play under Mourinho they have certainly missed plenty of “big chances” this season, dropping points after failing to finish teams off and drawing many games they should have won.

If Griezmann was at United this season he’d probably be leading the PL in goals scored. I’m sure of it. He is of the same ilk as a Javier Hernandez or Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, a lightning quick poacher who is cool in the box. Yet, Griezmann also offers more with his pace and creativity and that’s why United should break the bank to sign him this summer.

This season Griezmann has scored 12 goals in 25 appearance for an Atletico side battling back from adversity to position themselves in the La Liga title race once again. Over the course of his two-and-a-half seasons at the Vicente Calderon he has now scored 69 goals in 132 games in all competitions. Every step up he has made the striker has done it with ease.

For United to become title contenders and get back to the upper echeleons of Europe, Mourinho needs a predator in the box. Zlatan and Wayne Rooney are getting on and youngsters Martial and Rashford will take time to develop. With the likes of Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan putting chances on a plate for those in front of them, United’s fans must be salivating at the thought of seeing Griezmann in a red shirt.

If United go out and buy Griezmann this summer it will be yet another huge statement in their intent to be back among the elite.

Liverpool moves on: “Job done. Let’s go home”

Liverpool's Lucas Leiva, center, celebrates scoring against Plymouth Argyle during the English FA Cup, third round replay match at Home Park, Plymouth, England, Wednesday Jan. 18, 2017. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
Andrew Matthews/PA via AP
Leave a comment

Even given two youth-heavy lineups, Liverpool won’t forget Plymouth Argyle any time soon.

The Reds were held 0-0 two weeks ago as Plymouth forced a home replay in the third round of the FA Cup, and Liverpool only managed a single goal on Wednesday in advancing to face Wolverhampton.

[ MORE: Costa back for Chelsea ]

Jurgen Klopp admitted he was dreading extra time. The Reds nearly saw it when the League Two side hit a second-half post, but Lucas Leiva‘s first goal in seven years held up over 90 minutes.

Well, his first match goal in seven years.

“It’s that long? I scored last week in training,” Lucas said after the game.

Here’s what Klopp said, via the BBC:

“In the second half it was good, but then it became a bit static. We had a penalty, and 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 would have been OK, but 1-0 I’m fine with that. I was not too concerned for going through, but I thought ‘Oh my God another 30 minutes’, but it is all good, no extra-time, job done, let’s go home. As nice as it is here, we leave as early as possible, so all good.”

On a rare goal for Lucas Leiva, Klopp adds: “Every week in training we play old versus young and he is a top scorer for old, which is unbelievable.”

One thing to note: Liverpool has only scored multiple goals in one of its last six matches. Sure, two were young lineups, but they were also against League Two competitions (and one was a clean sheet).

Look for the Reds to break out soon, perhaps Saturday morning when Swansea City visits Anfield.

Real Madrid winless in three after Copa del Rey loss (video)

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 18: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid in action against Hugo Mallo of Celta de Vigo  during the Copa del Rey Quarter Final, First Leg match between Real Madrid CF and  Celta Vigo at Bernabeu on January 18, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Forty straight without a loss sure makes three without a win feel like a slump, even when one draw lives in both camps.

Real Madrid fell to Celta Vigo in the first leg of its Copa del Rey quarterfinal, a 2-1 loss that also stands as the club’s first home set back since a Madrid Derby loss to Atletico on Feb. 27, 2016.

[ MORE: Depay off to Lyon ]

Iago Aspas and Jonny scored for Celta Vigo, with Marcelo briefly making it 1-1. And we mean briefly. Jonny scored off the ensuing kickoff following Marcelo’s deflected laser.

Real lost to Sevilla on the weekend for its first loss in 41 outings, three days after drawing 3-3 at Sevilla in Copa del Rey play.

Zinedine Zidane’s club now sits just a point ahead of Sevilla in La Liga play, though it has played one less game than its closest competitors.

Alaves won at Alcorcon in Wednesday’s other first leg. Thursday sees Barcelona at Real Sociedad and Eibar at Atletico Madrid.