Six must-see Premier League games on NBC Sports early in 2014-15 season

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With the announcement of the 2014-15 Premier League TV schedule on NBC Sports Group arriving on Wednesday ahead of the new season, there are some cracking games coming your way.

There is just one month until it all begins on NBCSN, NBC, CNBC and across the network of channels.

[RELATED: 2014-15 PL TV schedule]

Massive clashes between title contenders, local derbies and plenty more mouth-watering matchups are coming your way during the first three months of the season. Below are details on the top six matches to pencil into your planner, plus every single game in the first three months of the season and how you can watch them via NBC Sports.

You will not want to miss these.

Don’t forget: all Premier League games will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets.

Is it August 16 yet?

NBC Sports Group’s “Pick Six” Matches for the First Three Months of the Season

LIVERPOOL V. SOUTHAMPTON: Sunday, Aug. 17, 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN

Two teams on the heels of a successful 2013-14 season will meet in the Premier League’s opening weekend: Liverpool, which earned a Champions League berth as league runners-up, and Southampton, which finished eighth, equaling their best-ever Premier League finish. The Reds acquired former Southampton teammates and England internationals Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert this summer, but face Southampton without Premier League leading scorer Luis Suarez (31 goals) who was transferred to FC Barcelona. The match will be Southampton manager Ronald Koeman’s first with the club.

MANCHESTER CITY V. LIVERPOOL: Monday, Aug. 25, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Last season’s top two teams face off as Liverpool head to the Etihad for a Monday matinee with defending champions Manchester City. In the most recent meeting between the two clubs on April 13, the Reds edged City, 3-2, in an unforgettable match that many consider the best of the 2013-14 season. The win put Liverpool in control of the title race, but a loss to Chelsea was followed by a shocking 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace, and Manchester City went on to win their final five games and lift the trophy on Championship Sunday.

source: AP
Chelsea and Man City will square off early in the season.

MANCHESTER CITY V. CHELSEA: Sunday, Sept. 21, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN

Last season, despite beating eventual champions Manchester City in both league meetings, Chelsea finished third under manager Jose Mourinho. This summer they’ve strengthened their attack by bringing in Spanish international forward Diego Costa, who led La Liga champions Atletico Madrid with 27 goals last season, and his World Cup teammate Cesc Fabregas, a 27-year-old playmaker who has starred for both FC Barcelona and Arsenal during his 11-year club career.

“DOUBLE DERBY DAY:” LIVERPOOL V. EVERTON: Saturday, Sept. 27, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN:

The sixth week of the Premier League season is highlighted by two of the biggest derbies in English soccer. First, the Merseyside derby takes center stage, as Everton and U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup goalkeeper Tim Howard (15 clean sheets last season, third-most among BPL ‘keepers) make the less-than one mile trip across Stanley Park to face neighbors Liverpool. Everton looks to build upon last year’s success under manager Roberto Martinez, who guided the Toffees to a fifth place finish in his debut season to earn a Europa League berth.

“DOUBLE DERBY DAY:” ARSENAL V. TOTTENHAM: Saturday, Sept. 27, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN:

Following Liverpool-Everton is a London Derby featuring rivals Arsenal and Tottenham at the Emirates, where Spurs haven’t won since 2010. Last season, the Gunners completed the season double over Tottenham with a pair of 1-0 wins and finished ahead of their rivals for the 19th straight year. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, the longest-tenured manager in the league, guided the club to the 2013-14 FA Cup title, ending a nine-year trophy drought. Spurs will be looking to re-establish themselves as top-four contenders under newly appointed manager Mauricio Pochettino.

MANCHESTER UNITED V. EVERTON: Sunday, Oct. 5, 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN

Everton travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United and new manager Louis van Gaal, who will join the squad this week after leading Netherlands to a third-place finish at the World Cup. The Toffees came out victorious in both meetings last season, completing the season double over United for the first time in 44 years.

Full NBCUniversal schedule for the first three months of the Premier League season

(NOTE: TBD indicates that there will be one match in that time slot on NBCSN, in some cases one match on mun2, and remaining non-NBCSN games on Premier League Extra Time. Final channel assignments for those matches will be made in the coming weeks.)

Date Time (ET) Home Away Network
Sat., Aug. 16 7:45 a.m. Man United Swansea City NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Aug. 16 10 a.m. Leicester City Everton TBD
Sat., Aug. 16 10 a.m. West Ham Tottenham TBD
Sat., Aug. 16 10 a.m. Stoke City Aston Villa TBD
Sat., Aug. 16 10 a.m. Queens Park Rangers Hull City TBD
Sat., Aug. 16 10 a.m. West Brom Sunderland TBD
Sat., Aug. 16 12:30 p.m. Arsenal Crystal Palace NBC, mun2
Sun., Aug. 17 8:30 a.m. Liverpool Southampton NBCSN
Sun., Aug. 17 11 a.m. Newcastle Man City NBCSN, Telemundo
Mon., Aug. 18 3 p.m. Burnley Chelsea NBCSN, mun2
***
Sat., Aug. 23 7:45 a.m. Aston Villa Newcastle NBCSN
Sat., Aug. 23 10 a.m. Chelsea Leicester City TBD, mun2
Sat., Aug. 23 10 a.m. Crystal Palace West Ham TBD
Sat., Aug. 23 10 a.m. Southampton West Brom TBD
Sat., Aug. 23 10 a.m. Swansea City Burnley TBD
Sat., Aug. 23 12:30 p.m. Everton Arsenal NBC, mun2
Sun., Aug. 24 8:30 a.m. Tottenham Queens Park Rangers CNBC
Sun., Aug. 24 8:30 a.n. Hull City Stoke City Extra Time
Sun., Aug. 24 11 a.m. Sunderland Man United NBCSN, Telemundo
Mon., Aug 25 3 p.m. Man City Liverpool NBCSN, mun2
***
Sat., Aug. 30 7:45 a.m. Burnley Man United NBCSN
Sat., Aug. 30 10 a.m. Man City Stoke City TBD, mun2
Sat., Aug. 30 10 a.m. West Ham Southampton TBD
Sat., Aug. 30 10 a.m. Aston Villa Hull City TBD
Sat., Aug. 30 10 a.m. Newcastle Crystal Palace TBD
Sat., Aug. 30 10 a.m. Swansea City West Brom TBD
Sat., Aug. 30 10 a.m. Queens Park Rangers Sunderland TBD
Sat., Aug. 30 12:30 p.m. Everton Chelsea NBC, mun2
Sun., Aug 31 8:30 a.m. Tottenham Liverpool NBCSN, mun2
Sun., Aug 31 11 a.m. Leicester City Arsenal NBCSN, Telemundo
***
Sat., Sept. 13 7:45 a.m. Arsenal Man City NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Sept. 13 10 a.m. Chelsea Swansea City TBD
Sat., Sept. 13 10 a.m. West Brom Everton TBD
Sat., Sept. 13 10 a.m. Sunderland Tottenham TBD
Sat., Sept. 13 10 a.m. Southampton Newcastle TBD
Sat., Sept. 13 10 a.m. Crystal Palace Burnley TBD
Sat., Sept. 13 10 a.m. Stoke City Leicester City TBD
Sat., Sept. 13 12:30 p.m. Liverpool Aston Villa NBC, mun2
Sun., Sept. 14 11 a.m. Man United Queens Park Rangers NBCSN, Telemundo
Mon., Sept. 15 3 p.m. Hull City West Ham NBCSN
***
Sat., Sept. 20 7:45 a.m. Queens Park Rangers Stoke City NBCSN
Sat., Sept. 20 10 a.m. Aston Villa Arsenal TBD, mun2
Sat., Sept. 20 10 a.m. Tottenham West Brom TBD
Sat., Sept. 20 10 a.m. Swansea City Southampton TBD
Sat., Sept. 20 10 a.m. Newcastle Hull City TBD
Sat., Sept. 20 10 a.m. Burnley Sunderland TBD
Sat., Sept. 20 12:30 p.m. West Ham Liverpool NBC, mun2
Sun., Sept. 21 8:30 a.m. Leicester City Man United CNBC
Sun., Sept. 21 11 a.m. Man City Chelsea NBCSN, Telemundo
Sun., Sept. 21 11 a.m. Everton Crystal Palace Extra Time
***
Sat., Sept. 27 7:45 a.m. Liverpool Everton NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Sept. 27 10 a.m. Hull City Man City TBD, mun2
Sat., Sept. 27 10 a.m. Man United West Ham TBD
Sat., Sept. 27 10 a.m. Chelsea Aston Villa TBD
Sat., Sept. 27 10 a.m. Crystal Palace Leicester City TBD
Sat., Sept. 27 10 a.m. Sunderland Swansea City TBD
Sat., Sept. 27 10 a.m. Southampton Queens Park Rangers TBD
Sat., Sept. 27 12:30 p.m. Arsenal Tottenham NBCSN, mun2
Sun., Sept. 28 11 p.m. West Brom Burnley NBCSN
Mon., Sept. 29 3 p.m. Stoke City Newcastle NBCSN
***
Sat., Oct. 4 10 a.m. Liverpool West Brom TBD, mun2
Sat., Oct. 4 10 a.m. Tottenham Southampton TBD
Sat., Oct. 4 10 a.m. Swansea City Newcastle TBD
Sat., Oct. 4 10 a.m. Hull City Crystal Palace TBD
Sat., Oct. 4 10 a.m. Leicester City Burnley TBD
Sat., Oct. 4 10 a.m. Sunderland Stoke City TBD
Sat., Oct. 4 12:30 p.m. Aston Villa Man City NBC, mun2
Sun., Oct. 5 7 a.m. Man United Everton NBCSN, mun2
Sun., Oct. 5 9:05 a.m. Chelsea Arsenal NBCSN, Telemundo
Sun., Oct. 5 11:15 a.m. West Ham Queens Park Rangers NBCSN
***
Sat., Oct. 18 7:45 a.m. Man City Tottenham NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Crystal Palace Chelsea TBD, mun2
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Arsenal Hull City TBD
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Everton Aston Villa TBD
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Newcastle Leicester City TBD
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Southampton Sunderland TBD
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Burnley West Ham TBD
Sun., Oct. 19 8:30 a.m. Queens Park Rangers Liverpool NBCSN, mun2
Sun., Oct. 19 11 a.m. Stoke City Swansea City NBCSN
Mon., Oct. 20 3 p.m. West Brom Man United NBCSN, mun2
***
Sat., Oct. 25 7:45 a.m. West Ham Man City NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Oct. 25 10 a.m. Sunderland Arsenal TBD, mun2
Sat., Oct. 25 10 a.m. Liverpool Hull City TBD
Sat., Oct. 25 10 a.m. Tottenham Newcastle TBD
Sat., Oct. 25 10 a.m. Southampton Stoke City TBD
Sat., Oct. 25 10 a.m. West Brom Crystal Palace TBD
Sat., Oct. 25 12:30 p.m. Swansea City Leicester City NBC
Sun., Oct 26 9:30 a.m. Burnley Everton NBCSN
Sun., Oct 26 Noon Man United Chelsea NBC, Telemundo
Mon., Oct. 27 4 p.m. Queens Park Rangers Aston Villa NBCSN, mun2
***
Sat., Nov. 1 8:45 a.m. Newcastle Liverpool NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Nov. 1 11 a.m. Chelsea Queens Park Rangers TBD, mun2
Sat., Nov. 1 11 a.m. Arsenal Burnley TBD
Sat., Nov. 1 11 a.m. Everton Swansea City TBD
Sat., Nov. 1 11 a.m. Hull City Southampton TBD
Sat., Nov. 1 11 a.m. Stoke City West Ham TBD
Sat., Nov. 1 11 a.m. Leicester City West Brom TBD
Sun., Nov. 2 8:30 a.m. Man City Man United NBCSN, mun2
Sun., Nov. 2 11 a.m. Aston Villa Tottenham NBCSN
Mon., Nov. 3 3 p.m. Crystal Palace Sunderland NBCSN, mun2
***
Sat., Nov. 8 7:45 a.m. Liverpool Chelsea NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Nov. 8 10 a.m. Man United Crystal Palace TBD, mun2
Sat., Nov. 8 10 a.m. Tottenham Stoke City TBD
Sat., Nov. 8 10 a.m. West Ham Aston Villa TBD
Sat., Nov. 8 10 a.m. Southampton Leicester City TBD
Sat., Nov. 8 10 a.m. Burnley Hull City TBD
Sat., Nov. 8 12:30 p.m. Queens Park Rangers Man City NBC, mun2
Sun., Nov. 9 8:30 a.m. Sunderland Everton NBCSN
Sun., Nov. 9 8:30 a.m. West Brom Newcastle Extra Time
Sun., Nov. 9 11 a.m. Swansea City Arsenal NBCSN
***
Sat., Nov. 22 10 a.m. Man City Swansea City TBD, mun2
Sat., Nov. 22 10 a.m. Chelsea West Brom TBD
Sat., Nov. 22 10 a.m. Everton West Ham TBD
Sat., Nov. 22 10 a.m. Newcastle Queens Park Rangers TBD
Sat., Nov. 22 10 a.m. Stoke City Burnley TBD
Sat., Nov. 22 10 a.m. Leicester City Sunderland TBD
Sat., Nov. 22 12:30 p.m. Arsenal Man United NBC, mun2
Sun., Nov 23 8:30 a.m. Crystal Palace Liverpool CNBC
Sun., Nov 23 11 a.m. Hull City Tottenham NBCSN
Mon., Nov. 24 3 p.m. Aston Villa Southampton NBCSN, mun2
***
Sat., Nov. 29 7:45 a.m. West Brom Arsenal NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Nov. 29 10 a.m. Man United Hull City TBD, mun2
Sat., Nov. 29 10 a.m. Liverpool Stoke City TBD
Sat., Nov. 29 10 a.m. West Ham Newcastle TBD
Sat., Nov. 29 10 a.m. Swansea City Crystal Palace TBD
Sat., Nov. 29 10 a.m. Burnley Aston Villa TBD
Sat., Nov. 29 10 a.m. Queens Park Rangers Leicester City TBD
Sat., Nov. 29 12:30 p.m. Sunderland Chelsea NBC
Sun., Nov. 30 8:30 a.m. Southampton Man City NBCSN
Sun., Nov. 30 11 a.m. Tottenham Everton NBCSN

Wenger: Sanchez, Giroud will both be with Arsenal next year

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Arsene Wenger thinks Alexis Sanchez will sign a new deal at Arsenal this summer, whether the manager changes or not.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s visit from Leicester City, Wenger did not offer any clues as to his future with the club. He also said it does not hinge on how the Gunners finish the current campaign, and that he is working on transfers for the benefit of Arsenal regardless of his future.

[ MORE: Will Real open door for Barca? ]

That’s no surprise, given his reputation and fidelity to the club. What may surprise some is Wenger’s confidence that Sanchez will stay at the Emirates Stadium.

From Sky Sports:

“I personally think he will stay and sign. First of all he is happy here, his desire is to stay, that is what I deeply believe.

“I don’t think you would sell him to any Premier League club, that is for sure. The question is why would you sell him to another club? You want to be as strong as you can be and not strengthen the other teams.”

Wenger said both sides want to work out a deal and that the hold-up resides in agent-related matters. He also said Arsenal does not have interest in selling Olivier Giroud, who backed Wenger just over a month ago.

Title fight in Spain: Will Real slip up again?

AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza
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Barcelona’s dramatic 3-2 win over Real Madrid has set La Liga’s title race on its ear, with both clubs level on points with 75.

Real still controls its own destiny in a bid for its first league title since 2011-12, but a single loss puts Barcelona in pole position for its fourth title in five seasons.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 4-2 Saints ]

The tiebreaker is head-to-head, which Lionel Messi lifted from Real with his thrilling stoppage time thriller on Sunday at the Bernabeu.

Here are the run-ins for both sides, with Real facing a more congested schedule thanks to its status as a UEFA Champions League semifinalist.

Real Madrid

Only two of Real’s remaining five La Liga matches are at home, a boon for Barcelona considering Real boasts a strong home mark. The loss to Barca was Real’s first at the Bernabeu this season, and the Merengues only drew three matches at home (Villarreal, Eibar, Atletico Madrid).

Those home matches, however, are against teams that beat Real in the sides’ other league meetings this year, Sevilla and Valencia.

Wednesday – at Deportivo de la Coruna (16th)
Saturday – vs. Valencia (12th)
May 2 – vs. Atletico Madrid (UCL)
May 6 – at Granada (19th)
May 10 – at Atletico Madrid (UCL)
May 14 – vs. Sevilla (4th)
May 21 – at Malaga (14th)

Barcelona

Barca is home for three of its remaining five matches. The Blaugranas drew Villarreal and blew out Osasuna and Eibar ahead of the return visits.

As for the road matches, Barca has the Derbi barceloni with Espanyol, having taken the Camp Nou meeting 4-1, as well as a trip to Las Palmas (5-0 at home).

Wednesday – vs. Osasuna (20th)
Saturday – at Espanyol (9th)
May 6 – vs. Villarreal (5th)
May 14 – at Las Palmas (13th)
May 21 – vs. Eibar (8th)
May 27 – vs. Alaves (Copa del Rey Final)

The verdict

Any whiplash Real faces from schedule congestion should be offset by Barcelona’s much tougher schedule. Real could lose again, perhaps versus Sevilla, but Barca will likely finish second thanks to dropped points against Espanyol, Eibar, or Villarreal.

Premier League Weds. preview: Desperation on display

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Two London powers face a race to stay alive for their lofty season goals, while two Northeast sides see their last chances to claim hope for another year in the Premier League.

[ STREAM: All PL games here ]

That’s what’s on the docket for Wednesday’s PL matches, one day after Chelsea buried Southampton 4-2 t0 move seven points clear of Spurs in the race for the league’s 2016-17 crown.

Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

No team has looked better than Spurs lately, though Palace won’t be bowed by a big name or good form. Sam Allardyce‘s Eagles boast wins at Liverpool and Chelsea, as well as a home defeat of Arsenal. Those have all come in 2017, as Palace has leapt to within striking distance of the top half.

Spurs need to win at Selhurst Park to keep pace with Chelsea and sit four points back of the No. 1 spot with five matches to play. Lose, concede, and feel like last April all over again. It was a year from Tuesday that Spurs coughed up a home lead to Leicester and saw any hopes of catching Leicester fade into the sunset.

Middlesbrough vs. Sunderland — 2:45 p.m. ET

This Tees-Wear Derby oozes desperation, with Sunderland knowing it needs to win its matches-in-hand on Hull City and Swansea to have any hope of staying up, and Middlesbrough nearly as desperate.

Boro’s 24 points is three more than Sunderland, who has played one less game. Hull sits 17th with 33 points while Swansea holds 31.

Middlesbrough hasn’t won in the Premier League since Dec. 17, a run of 16 matches. Their only wins of the year are over lower league opposition, a trio of victories against Sheffield Wednesday, Accrington Stanley, and Oxford United.

Sunderland has just one league win since that same date in December, and that came at Crystal Palace. The Black Cats have lost six of eight, and look destined to join Boro in the second tier as Northeast neighbors Newcastle comes up.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images )

Arsenal vs. Leicester City — 2:45 p.m. ET

Did Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal win over Manchester City snap Arsenal out of its funk, or was it just a matter of Alexis Sanchez’s class squeezing a bit of excellence out of the tube?

Arsene Wenger will hope for the latter, because Arsenal’s Top Four hopes hinge on winning its matches-in-hand on Liverpool and getting significant help from Man City and Manchester United. Their opposition will also be rested, having rested since bowing out of the UEFA Champions League on April 18.

Leicester’s five match winning streak, part of Craig Shakespeare’s new manager bounce, has died down a bit. The Foxes lost at Everton and drew at Palace, and get a third tricky road test in a row at the Emirates Stadium.

Pochettino calls out Xavi for Dele Alli-Man City “lie to lie to lie”

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“He tried to destroy our focus to win because he hates me because he’s Barcelona.”

Even half-kidding, the Derby Barceloni is alive and well for longtime Espanyol man Mauricio Pochettino and Barcelona legend Xavi.

At least that’s why the latter is trying to sabotage the former’s Premier League title fight, Pochettino says.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 4-2 Saints ]

Speaking from his club team in Qatar, Xavi claimed that Manchester City is going to bid high for Spurs’ young star Dele Alli.

Tottenham boss Pochettino says that’s just not true. Pochettino was joking a bit when he answered questions on the topic, but then told a story about Xavi diving for a penalty in the derby. Here are a few of his thoughts, from The Telegraph:

“It wasn’t a penalty but Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for Barcelona and they won the game. After in the replay it was very funny because it was clear no one touched him. Come on! It goes from lie to lie to lie.”

“He is working for Manchester City, maybe? He wants to help Guardiola and [Vincent] Kompany.”