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

Schweinsteiger waiting on visa, training in Mallorca

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Bastian Schweinsteiger is waiting on a visa to make his trip to Chicago official.

It’s a formality, albeit a bit trickier now given the political climate in the United States. The former Manchester United midfielder is training at Real Mallorca ahead of the move.

The transfer was announced one week ago, and Schweinsteiger is anxious to get back on the pitch. Set for a 1-year, $4.5 million deal, the midfielder has not missed any Chicago matches yet.

[ MORE: Under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

The Fire is 1-1-1 to start the new season under Veljko Paunovic, and has three home matches next: Montreal (Saturday), Columbus (Apr. 8), and New England (Apr. 15)

Report: Arsenal interested in Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel

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According to a report by The Sun, Arsenal is monitoring the progress of Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

The rumor does make sense. With Petr Cech at 34 years old and having a poor season in front of net and backup David Ospina failing to challenge him for the starting job, the Gunners are looking elsewhere to bring in a potential future starter.

Schmeichel has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League the past two seasons. Last season he led the Foxes to the Premier League title, organizing a stunningly good defensive line of patchwork players. This season, the defense has largely regressed and let Schmeichel down, but he has still performed well and has the metrics to remain one of the league’s top shot-stoppers.

The Danish keeper is 30 years old himself, but that puts him in his prime for a goalkeeper. He has been with Leicester City since 2011, and he will tick 250 appearances for the club with his next match. Schmeichel was rumored to be a member of the secret player delegation that worked hard to see Claudio Ranieri pushed out of the club, a sentiment which he and the other players have strongly denied.

Still, with an improbable Premier League title in hand and an appearance in the Champions League quarterfinals now on the cards, there probably isn’t much else for him at Leicester City. It’s possible Schmeichel could look to bank on his past performances and secure a move to a bigger club this summer.

Should Arsene Wenger stay with Arsenal past this season, a possibility that looks more and more likely, he could look to move on from Cech despite signing the former Chelsea goalkeeper just two summers ago.

Diego Costa injured, but will stay with Spain squad for friendly

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Chelsea striker Diego Costa pulled up in Spain training on Sunday, and with the Blues in first in the Premier League and Costa in great form, there were obvious concerns.

With Costa struggling with leg and ankle injuries, the RFEF informed Chelsea that there was an issue, and Costa was pulled from training and sent for tests. X-Rays at the local hospital in Madrid were negative, and he’s rejoined the squad.

According to the RFEF, doctors will continue to monitor the 28-year-old and he will continue with the national team for the rest of the international break. With a World Cup qualification win over Israel already in the books and just a friendly against France to go on Tuesday, it’s odd that Spain would risk Costa moving forward, but they will continue to keep him around.

Costa has scored 18 goals this season to lead the Blues, and he scored in the win over Israel. Spain takes on France in Saint-Denis on Tuesday, with both teams leading their World Cup qualification groups. Spain has a goal-differential lead on Italy with both teams miles above the rest of the Group G, and France is ahead of Sweden by three points in Group A, with the Netherlands back in fourth.

Foul or flop? Player “headbutts” referee, is sent off

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Well, there must be something in the water down in Brasilia, because things got a little weird this evening.

Flamengo drew with Vasco da Gama 2-2, but that was just the start.

In the 54th minute, with Vasco da Gama leading 1-0 at Estadio Nacional Mané Garrincha, 36-year-old Luis Fabiano was sent off for “headbutting” the referee. Headbutting is in quotes because looking at the video, it certainly appears there was little to no contact, and the referee flops.

Yes, the referee flopped. Take a look:

To be fair, Fabiano was already on a yellow, so getting in the referee’s face even without the headbutt/pelvic thrust would likely still have seen him sent to an early shower.

So the former Porto and Sevilla man was sent off, and Vasco da Gama was down to 10 men. Immediately after the red card, Flamengo took advantage, powering in a pair of goals via Willian Arao and Orlando Berrio to take the lead 2-1. But Vasco wouldn’t quit, and they earned a penalty five minutes into stoppage time, which Nene buried for the 2-2 draw.

To top things off, a player named Yago Pikachu scored the opener for Vasco da Gama, which was followed by a delay in the game seven minutes later after a power surge in the stadium. Go figure.