Premier League Sunday Preview: Chelsea host Manchester United, Spurs travel to Swansea

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On Sunday we have two more massive Premier League games coming your way.

First we take a trip to South Wales as Swansea host Tottenham Hotspur with Michael Laudrup’s side on a desperate run of form as they’re searching for their first PL win in eight games. While Spurs boss Tim Sherwood looks to keep his unbeaten league record going, and will be hoping another win can keep his side within touching distance of the top four.

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Then we head on over to London, as Chelsea host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge with both teams on very different paths at the moment. United are struggling just to make the top four, as right now Champions League qualification would be like winning the PL title for David Moyes. While Jose Mourinho insists Chelsea’s main aim is to finish in the top four… but we all know the ‘Special One’ harbors ambitions of bringing the PL crown to West London to mark his homecoming in style.

A monster clash awaits as these two global heavyweights lock horns to round off Sunday’s games.

So (because it would be rude not to) let’s take a closer look at both games taking place live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra on Sunday.

Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur, live on NBCSN 8:30am ET

  • Swansea are without a win in seven PL games
  • Tottenham have won their last four away PL games
  • Spurs are unbeaten against the Swans in six league games (W5, D1)
source: Getty Images
Can Spurs extend their unbeaten PL record under Tim Sherwood?

There’s been no real worry about Swansea City getting sucked into a relegation battle this season, as the Swans attractive style of soccer has won them many fans across the soccer world. However after a dreadful spell in the league — Swansea haven’t won any of their last seven games and they’re hovering just three points above the drop zone — means a few worried looks will adorn the faces of home fans at the Liberty Stadium. Meanwhile Tottenham are on the up after Andre Villas-Boas left and Tim Sherwood has taken charge with four PL wins from five to begin his reign as Spurs boss. With Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor striking up a great partnership up top, Tottenham are an extremely dangerous proposition away from home and as will be aiming to keep up with the top four by putting in a clinical and ruthless display in South Wales.

Andros Townsend could return for Tottenham, as the England international scored for Spurs’ U-21 side during the week, while Swansea could welcome back Micherl Vorm, Roland Lamah, Dwight Tiendalli, Nathan Dyer and Pablo Hernandez from injury in a welcome boost for Laudrup.

Chelsea vs. Manchester United, live on NBCSN 11am ET

  • Jose Mourinho will get his 100th PL victory with a win over United
  • United are unbeaten in their last seven PL games (W5, D2)
  • The Red Devils have only won two of 10 games vs. top-half teams this season (W2, D3, L5)
source: AP
Who will win the battle of the dugout at Stamford Bridge? Mourinho is one short of 100 PL wins for Chelsea.

Chelsea vs. Manchester United. Jose Mourinho vs. David Moyes. London vs. Manchester. Whichever way you play this game up, it’s a massive one for so many reasons. With managerial changes at both clubs over the summer, it’s safe to say Chelsea are faring a lot better with their new manager in charge, Mourinho has begun to see a real improvement from his squad as they’ve ominously clicked into place and will sit just two points off top spot with a win. While David Moyes and United haven’t been quite so fortunate as the Red Devils are currently in seventh spot and 14 points off top spot. United have not fared well against the top teams this season, but strangely they have won five of their last six and they are unbeaten away from Old Trafford in seven. Maybe playing away from that pressure-cooker atmosphere gives them hope? Then again Mourinho has never lost in 70 PL home games in charge of Chelsea, with his first-ever PL home victory coming back in August 2004 against, you guessed it, Manchester United. Surely his remarkable record won’t be broken by the same team it started off against all those years ago?

All roads lead to a home win, but if history has taught us one thing, it’s that we should never underestimate Manchester United. Mourinho has said that this week but the fact that Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are both out through injury will boost Chelsea, as the Blues aim to pile more misery on Moyes.

Allardyce: Referee Moss “wasn’t brave enough” to send off Wanyama

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
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Sam Allardyce is feeling strong these days (and every day).

The Crystal Palace manager is disappointed in referee Jon Moss after the head official failed to give Victor Wanyama a second yellow card following a tackle on Andros Townsend in the first half of Spurs’ 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Sitting on yellow for a foul on Luka Milivojevic, Wanyama slid late on Townsend. The midfielder certainly made sure it looked worse than it was, but even without the tomfoolery it could’ve been a yellow.

[ RECAP: Palace 0-1 Spurs | Pochettino reacts ]

Moss instead gave Wanyama a talking-to, and Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino subbed the fiery midfielder at halftime. Allardyce isn’t too happy, as a dismissal may have given his side a chance at adding Spurs to its list of defeated Top Four candidates.

From the BBC:

“The second challenge was the worst. Mauricio was very clever to sub him at half time. I think the referee made the wrong decision, I don’t think he was brave enough.”

Woah. That merits a punishment for someone like Jose Mourinho, so let’s see if the FA sends a fine Allardyce’s way. To be fair to Big Sam, we wouldn’t have been surprised to see that second yellow.

Yet it wouldn’t take that much “bravery” to send Wanyama off at Selhurst Park as opposed to, say, White Hart Lane. For what it’s worth, Moss has sent off three players this season and one of them was Granit Xhaka at home for Arsenal against Swansea.

La Liga wrap: Real, Barca boast blowouts

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La Liga isn’t exactly competitive from top to bottom, and both Real Madrid and chasing Barcelona took advantage of weaker competition on Wednesday.

[ RECAP: Palace 0-1 Spurs ]


Deportivo de la Coruna 2-6 Real Madrid

When your “B Team” includes James Rodriguez and a certain Alvaro Morata, life is pretty good.

Zinedine Zidane watched as Real took another step toward a first La Liga title since 2011-12 behind a James brace and markers from Morata (below, with style), Lucas Vazquez, Casemiro, and Isco.

Barcelona 7-1 Osasuna

Barca effectively relegated Osasuna. Despite braces from Lionel Messi, Paco Alcacer, and Andre Gomes, the headlines were stolen by Javier Mascherano.

The Argentine scored his first ever Barca goal in just his 318th appearance for the club.

Elsewhere

Leganes 3-0 Las Palmas – Luciano Neves bags brace.
Valencia 2-3 Real Sociedad – Visitors build 3-0 lead.

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Barcelona 34 24 6 4 101 33 68 13-3-1 11-3-3 78
 Real Madrid 33 24 6 3 90 38 52 12-4-1 12-2-2 78
 Atlético Madrid 34 20 8 6 60 25 35 12-2-3 8-6-3 68
 Sevilla 33 19 8 6 58 39 19 12-3-1 7-5-5 65
 Villarreal 34 17 9 8 49 27 22 10-3-4 7-6-4 60
 Real Sociedad 34 18 4 12 52 47 5 9-4-4 9-0-8 58
 Athletic 33 17 5 11 46 37 9 12-3-2 5-2-9 56
 Eibar 33 14 8 11 52 45 7 9-3-5 5-5-6 50
 Espanyol 34 13 11 10 45 44 1 8-5-4 5-6-6 50
 Celta Vigo 32 13 5 14 48 52 -4 9-1-6 4-4-8 44
 Alavés 33 11 11 11 32 40 -8 5-7-4 6-4-7 44
 Valencia 34 11 7 16 49 59 -10 7-4-6 4-3-10 40
 Las Palmas 34 10 9 15 52 61 -9 9-6-2 1-3-13 39
 Málaga 34 10 9 15 40 49 -9 8-2-6 2-7-9 39
 Betis 33 10 7 16 36 51 -15 6-6-5 4-1-11 37
 Deportivo 34 7 10 17 37 57 -20 6-5-6 1-5-11 31
 Leganes 34 7 9 18 30 51 -21 4-5-8 3-4-10 30
 Sporting de Gijón 34 5 9 20 37 67 -30 4-3-10 1-6-10 24
 Granada 34 4 8 22 27 72 -45 4-4-9 0-4-13 20
 Osasuna 34 3 9 22 35 82 -47 1-6-10 2-3-12 18

Pochettino: “Challenge is to keep going” ahead of North London Derby

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Mauricio Pochettino was thrilled to see Tottenham Hotspur’s title push continue with a win over in-form Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Spurs won 1-0 on a beautiful Christian Eriksen goal from distance, moving back to within four points of Premier League leading Chelsea.

[ RECAP: Palace 0-1 Spurs ]

Pochettino’s men didn’t stop fighting for the winner despite relentless fight from the home side, with improving mettle on display this season.

“Unbelievable. Very good performance. I think second half we played much better than in the first half. It was difficult in the first half for us to move the ball and find the space but we changed the shape at half time and it was more fluid, we started to find the space and started to push Palace deeper and deeper.”

After two tough London Derbies — Spurs fell 4-2 to Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal — Tottenham now has the big one: a visit from Arsenal in the North London Derby.

“It was good to get the three points and be alive in the race for the title. The challenge is to keep going. It is always better to win but it is true [the Arsenal game] is a big derby, perhaps the last at White Hart Lane and I think it will be an exciting game.”

We’re ready for it. Spurs will be favored to pick up all three points, but all bets are off when it comes to the NLD. That’s especially true considering the ticking Top Four clock for Arsenal and the title fight for Spurs.

Palace 0-1 Spurs: Eriksen saves the day

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  • Sakho stretchered off
  • Eriksen rescues title hope
  • Spurs four back of Chelsea

Palace made them work for it.

Tottenham Hotspur didn’t exactly sends chills down the spine of Chelsea with its performance, but Spurs found a way past tricky and in-form Crystal Palace on Wednesday at Selhurst Park.

Christian Eriksen‘s pretty goal sealed the three points for Spurs, who have five matches to chase down four points from the Blues.

Palace sits 12th, seven points clear of 18th place Swansea City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Two in-forms started with confidence, Harry Kane lashing wide of the frame for Spurs and Wilfried Zaha driving Palace on the right wing.

Another in-form Eagles attacker, Christian Benteke, did well to create space and hit a low shot that forced Hugo Lloris to ground.

Victor Wanyama was on yellow when he slid to intercept Andros Townsend, taking the Englishman to the turf. Jon Moss gave Wanyama a harsh warning, but did not produce the red card.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-min were called upon soon after the break to liven up Spurs attack.

The substitution that stood to shake up the match was Palace center back Mamadou Sakho, who was hurt with about 40 minutes to play.

Eriksen stung a shot across goal for the eventual winner, a rare moment of class from a three-match day that didn’t quite fit the standard of the Premier League.