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Championship Sunday preview: Title showdown on Premier League finale

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After 370 games, 266 days and over nine months of grueling action, the final day of the Premier League season is almost upon us.

On “Championship Sunday” the PL title is still on the line as Manchester City and Liverpool go for the ultimate prize in English soccer.

Man City know a win at home to West Ham will seal the title, regardless of what Liverpool do against Newcastle, however if City slip up then Liverpool can pounce to win their first league title in 24 years. Is there one more twist in the tale?

MORE: Premier League TV schedule set for “Championship Sunday”

Whatever happens, we have you covered for a stunning finale in the PL as this Sunday you can watch every single game live on NBC’s family of channels as the season ends with a bang. Before all the madness begins there will be a pre-match show will you can watch on CNBC from 9-10 a.m. ET. Then after all 10 games play out you can watch a special post-match show on NBC & NBCSN from 12-2 p.m. ET To round off “Championship Sunday” in style NBCSN will have also have a 30 minute special on whichever team wins the championship from 2:00-2:30 p.m. ET.

Below are details on where to watch the game, plus a brief preview on what’s at stake for each side. Relegation, European places, PL titles, there’s still a lot to decide. Make sure you don’t miss one last exhilarating matchday before one of the most exciting PL seasons in history  comes to an end.

Enjoy the finale.

Liverpool vs. Newcastle United – live on NBCSN, 10:00 a.m. ET and stream online via Live Extra

The home fans at Anfield were hoping for much more than this on the final day, as dreams of a title procession have been replaced by nightmares of what could’ve been. Steven Gerrard’s slip in the home defeat to Chelsea two weeks ago could well prove to be the pivotal moment, while that catastrophic collapse against Crystal Palace didn’t help matters. That said, if Liverpool beat a lackluster Newcastle team and City lose, Brendan Rodgers will have delivered the Reds’ first-ever PL title.

Manchester City vs. West Ham United – live on NBC, 10:00 a.m. ET and stream online via Live Extra

City are the champions elect and only need a point at home to West Ham to seal the title in Manuel Pellegrini’s first season in the PL. City only went back to the top of the standings earlier this week and have had to play catch up for the last month due to their schedule, yet they’ve been bang in form with four wins from their last five. Sergio Aguero is back fit and only a stubborn Hammers outfit stand in the way of the PL trophy being held aloft at the Etihad on the final day of the season. City’s fans are ready to rule Manchester again, are their players ready to deliver?

Southampton vs. Manchester United – live on SyFy, 10:00 a.m. ET and stream online via Live Extra

United’s nightmare is almost over, as they head to the South Coast to play Southampton on Sunday. If Ryan Giggs’ men win and Tottenham Hotspur lose to Aston Villa, the Red Devils will have the scant consolation of finishing in sixth place and qualifying for the Europa League. Saints have equaled their best ever PL finish of eighth and have accumulated a record number of points, so they will be no pushovers for the reigning champions, as Mauricio Pochettino has a talented young squad of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw et al.

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Aston Villa – live on USA, 10:00 a.m. ET and stream online via Live Extra

Spurs boss Tim Sherwood looks likely to be taking charge of his final game as Tottenham boss and the Londoner will want to make sure they finish in the top six. Since Andre-Villas Boas was fired earlier this season Spurs have been up and down with many of their new signings underachieving massively. Can they pull out one more good performance for Sherwood against a Villa side just happy to be safe for another season? Spurs only need a point to guarantee top six spot and European soccer next season.

Cardiff City vs. Chelsea – live on CNBC, 10:00 a.m. ET and stream online via Live Extra

Chelsea stuck in the title race almost until the end but in the last few weeks defeats to Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa has cost them dear. Jose Mourinho’s side are a work in progress but  came so close to reaching a UEFA Champions League final. They come up against a Cardiff team who are already relegated as eccentric Malaysian owner Vincent Tan has a lot to answer for after firing Malky Mackay. New boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer just couldn’t turn the ship around but can Cardiff shock Chelsea to finish the season in style?

Fulham vs. Crystal Palace – live on E!, 10:00 a.m. ET and stream online via Live Extra

A London derby down by the banks of the River Thames, as Fulham have also been relegated and Crystal Palace are all but set to finish in an impressive 11th place. When these two teams met in October Fulham won 4-1 and it was the end for old Palace boss Ian Holloway. Since new man Tony Pulis has arrived, he’s worked wonders and the Eagles have soared to safety and up the standings. No pressure on either side in this match when many thought it would be a relegation battle down to the wire.

Hull City vs. Everton – live on Bravo, 10:00 a.m. ET and stream online via Live Extra

The Tigers have one eye on the club’s first-ever FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley on May 17, as their PL season has petered out. Hull managed to stave off relegation and now their players have a chance to audition for the cup final when Everton roll into town. Roberto Martinez has had a superb first season in charge of the Toffees and has delivered European soccer for the first time since 2009 with a fifth placed finish guaranteed. They pushed Arsenal all the way for the top four, so can Everton’s silky attackers flourish one more time this season at the KC Stadium?

Norwich City vs. Arsenal – live on MSNBC, 10:00 a.m. ET and stream online via Live Extra

Mathematically the Canaries are not relegated… but they might as well be. Three points from safety and a 17 goals worse off than West Brom above them they would need a bizarre set of results, and to beat Arsenal heavily at Carrow Road, to stand any chance of staying up. A poor season from the PL’s lowest scorers who fired Chris Hughton and never recovered. As for Arsenal, their focus is also on the FA Cup final as they search for their first piece of silverware in nine years. Arsene Wenger has delivered a top four spot again but they were top of the standings for so long. That blip after the festive period hit them hard.

Sunderland vs. Swansea City – live on Esquire, 10:00 a.m. ET and stream online via Live Extra

Gus Poyet’s side have delivered a miracle in the final weeks of the season as the Black Cats looked dead and buried. Four wins on the spin to head into the final game has secured Sunderland’s safety as away wins at Chelsea and Manchester United have surprised everyone. Swansea are safe under young manager Garry Monk who took over midseason, as the shackles will be off and both teams aim to express themselves at the Stadium of Light.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Stoke City – live on Oxygen, 10:00 a.m. ET and stream online via Live Extra

As we mentioned, a mad swing in the goal differential could see the Baggies go down and Norwich stay up, but that isn’t going to happen. Stoke travel down the M6 having all but secured their first-ever top 10 finish in the PL, while West Brom are just grateful to be in the top-flight for another season. Two Midlands clubs will square off at the Hawthorns with both teams aiming to finish the campaign off on a high.

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.

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

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.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

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?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

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.