Howard rushed off his line to great effect in the first half to thwart Arsenal's offense.

Top five storylines heading into Week 2 of the Premier League

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Ahead of Week 2 in the Premier League, there are some intriguing matches heading your way.

The full TV schedule for the weekend can be found here, while below we break down the top five storylines from the upcoming PL matches.

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After an exhilarating start to the campaign, plenty of conclusions have already been made on teams after just 90 minutes of action, whether they like it or not.

Let’s have a gander at the top talking points this weekend…

Top four challengers collide at Goodison

Arsenal and Everton were battling tooth and nail for fourth place at the end of the 2013-14 Premier League, Arsenal prevailed and Everton tailed off. Over the offseason both teams have spent big and are battling to be in the top four once again. Arsenal splashed $60 million on Alexis Sanchez, Everton $50 million on Romelu Lukaku and this game will be a feisty affair at a fired up Goodison Park on Saturday (Watch live on NBC, 12:30 p.m. ET and online via Live Extra). After traveling to Istanbul in midweek for a Champions League play-off and grinding out a 0-0 draw against Besiktas, Arsenal’s players will be feeling the pressure at Everton. Arsene Wenger’s men are expected to challenge for the title but struggled to an opening day win over Crystal Palace. This could be the perfect time for Roberto Martinez’s Toffees to put down an early marker for why they deserve to be top four contenders this season. With U.S. national team ‘keeper Tim Howard in net for Everton, just 48 hours after announcing his sabbatical from international play until Sept. 2015, American fans will be hoping he can pull off yet another inspired display.

[WATCH: PL live online via Live Extra]

Runners up vs. the Champions, Manchester City vs. Liverpool

Last season the two most entertaining teams finished first and second, I think we can all agree on that. Over the summer, Liverpool lost Luis Suarez and have replaced him with a plethora of young exciting talent (with Mario Balotelli on the way too), while City have added a few bodies here and there. Manuel Pellegrini’s men won the title by scoring 102 goals last season, Liverpool scored 101 and finished second. Surely, this match at the Etihad on Monday (Watch live 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) will have plenty of goals in it? Liverpool’s defense looks much stingier, but if City score early it will force the Reds to attack. This match promises to be a thing of beauty.

source: Getty Images
Liverpool and Man City serve up a treat on Monday.

London derby between QPR, Spurs, Redknapp returns to White Hart Lane

Spurs beat West Ham 1-0 last weekend in a tight, tense London derby to open the campaign. Expect this match to be no different as Mauricio Pochettino manages his first game in charge of Tottenham at White Hart Lane vs. QPR on Sunday (Watch live on NBCSN, 8:30 a.m. ET and online via Live Extra). Spurs will work hard, press high and try to get at QPR but Redknapp will be eager to get one over his old club. Redknapp led Spurs from the relegation zone to the Champions League during his time in charge and is still a popular figure at the Lane. QPR played well against Hull City on the opening day in a fluid 3-5-2 formation and the R’s were punished for a missed PK and one piece of sloppy defending from a set piece. Tottenham played in Cyprus on Thursday and secured a comeback 2-1 win in their Europa League play-off. Their players may be tired from the traveling, so can Spurs win their second successive London derby to kick off the season or will QPR grab a shock victory?

Just how good are Chelsea?

After a good opening 45 minutes to the season against Burnley, you could be mistaken for thinking Chelsea have already won the Premier League title according to social media. Everybody was waxing lyrical about Jose Mourinho’s new-look side as Cesc Fabregas brought his silky skills to midfield and Diego Costa looks like the real deal up top. The truth is, they beat newly-promoted Burnley 3-1. They host another newly promoted side, Leicester City, at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Watch live on NBCSN, 10 a.m. ET and online via Live Extra) and will be expected to pound the Foxes. Yes, Chelsea’s squad looks to have been assembled superbly by the ‘Special One’ but we shouldn’t talk up their title credentials until they face Manchester City, Liverpool and the other title contenders. That said, a big win at home over Leicester will probably get people doing just that.

Manchester United’s injury woes continue

Heading into Sunday’s match against Sunderland, (Watch live on NBCSN, 11 a.m. ET and online via Live Extra) Louis van Gaal is still struggling to piece together his Red Devils outfit. United had nine players injured last week and they still have seven missing for their trip to the Stadium of Light. New signings Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera are both out, as are Rafael, Johnny Evans, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini. Star striker Robin van Persie is back to give his new manager a lift, but speaking ahead of the game, van Gaal admitted he’d never suffered an injury epidemic quite like this one. Sunderland snatched a point on the road at West Brom on the opening day and Gus Poyet’s side will be looking to snatch more than that when United come to town on Sunday. With LVG still settling into English soccer, he and his side won’t get a friendly welcome from the Black Cats on Sunday.

Everton’s Bolasie needs ACL surgery, will miss AFCON

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Jose Mourinho manager of Manchester United reacts as Yannick Bolasie of Everton is given treatment during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on December 4, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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This is a big blow to Everton, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Yannick Bolasie is set for a long spell on the sidelines after suffering an ACL injury in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

The 27-year-old attacker has played in every match for the Toffees, and is an electric attacking threat. He has one goal and four assists in PL play this season, after nabbing five and four for Palace last season.

[ PL: Grading the superstars’ seasons ]

A $32 million buy from Crystal Palace, Bolasie will miss the Africa Cup of Nations next month and likely send the Toffees into the transfer market.

Manager Ronald Koeman has made no secret of his Memphis Depay admiration, and this could tip Everton’s hand.

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Aubameyang raises transfer eyebrows in midst of otherworldy season

LISBON, PORTUGAL - OCTOBER 18: Pierre Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund in action at the warm up during the UEFA Champions League match between SC Sporting and Borussia Dortmund at Estadio Jose Alvalade on October 18, 2016 in Lisbon, Lisboa. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)
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Game changer, season changer, title changer.

It’s hard to find a phrase that would overstate what it would mean if a club could pry Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the hands of Borussia Dortmund.

Aubameyang raised eyebrows Monday with his non-dismissal of a transfer possibility. It wasn’t quite a “come and get me”, but the door is certainly open.

[ MORE: U.S. Soccer’s Player of Year finalists ]

“I don’t know if I will stay. I just think about playing good football right now. I want to give my best and win titles. I just think about the sport and nothing else.”

If you don’t pay a lot of attention to the Bundesliga, it might be easy to overlook Aubameyang. But the season he’s having with BVB’s wealth of playmaking midfielders is overwhelming. Give him less than a yard, and he’s all set.

Throw in the UEFA Champions League, and “Auba” has 18 goals in 18 matches. In the Bundesliga, he has a 4-goal night at Hamburg but also goals against Bayern and Hertha. Aubameyang has two braces, and has only been held off the score sheet three times (BVB is 1D-2L in those contests).

Put plainly, no one is doing what he’s doing right now.

Top Five leagues, 2016-17 goals (matches)

  1. Aubameyang, BVB — 15 (12)
  2. Edinson Cavani, PSG — 14 (14)
  3. Anthony Modeste, Koln — 12 (13)
  4. Mauro Icardi, Inter Milan — 12 (14)
  5. Eden Dzeko, Roma — 12 (15)
  6. Alexandre Lacazette — 11 (11)
  7. Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal — 11 (14)
  8. Diego Costa, Chelsea — 11 (14)
  9. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid — 10 (11)
  10. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City — 10 (12)
  11. Andrea Belotti, Torino — 10 (13)
  12. Lionel Messi, Barcelona — 9 (9)
  13. Luis Suarez, Barcelona — 9 (12)
  14. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich — 9 (13)
  15. Iago Aspas, Celta Vigo — 9 (13)
  16. Ciro Immobile, Lazio — 9 (15)
  17. Alassane Plea, Nice — 9 (16)

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Report: NASL’s New York Cosmos terminate all player contracts

SO KON PO, HONG KONG SAR - FEBRUARY 19:  Daniel Szetela (R) of New York Cosmos and Siu Kwan Chan of South China in action during the 2015 Lunar New Year Cup match between South China and the New York Cosmos at Hong Kong Stadium on February 19, 2015 in So Kon Po, Hong Kong.  (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
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As we await the future of both the North American Soccer League and its champion New York Cosmos, another dark cloud arrived regarding both.

Empire of Soccer reports that the Cosmos have terminated all of its player contracts, putting a 2017 season into the neighborhood of improbability.

[ MORE: Atlanta signs second DP ]

New York’s staff is on furlough, and the club has been “on the brink of collapse” for weeks (if not longer).

The USL avoided having its champion collapse by finding new owners for the Rochester Rhinos in the offseason. Will New York be able to do the same?

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U.S. Soccer announces Players of the Year nominees

HARRISON, NJ - JUNE 01:  John Brooks #6 of United States and teammates Clint Dempsey #8,Michael Bradley #4,Geoff Cameron #20 and Julian Green #16 wait for the corner kick in the second half against Turkey during an international friendly match at Red Bull Arena on June 1, 2014 in Harrison, New Jersey.The United States defeated Turkey 2-1.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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U.S. Soccer unveiled the finalists for its top 2016 Male, Female, and youth awards on Monday.

MLS stars Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey are joined by Geoff Cameron and Bobby Wood as top men’s player nominees. The winner will be announced on the eve of Saturday’s MLS Cup Final.

[ MLS: Best XI has historic American low ]

Stoke City’s Cameron and Hamburg’s Wood are the European-based players on the list, while Fabian Johnson did not make the cut. Dempsey has been limited by heart problems, but still found a way to the list.

John Brooks and Christian Pulisic are also notable exceptions, though the latter is a finalist for the younger award.

The five-woman list for Female Player of the Year sees Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, and Becky Sauerbrunn vying to finish second behind Carli Lloyd (Sorry, we couldn’t resist even with Heath’s incredible season).

The Young Male award promises to be a showdown between Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) and Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), though it’s difficult to see the latter edging the former. Also in the frame are Spurs back Cameron Carter-Vickers, Atlanta United teenager Andrew Carleton and U.S. U-17 star Josh Sargent.

The Young Female nominees are midfielders Emily Ogle and Andi Sullivan, defenders Kaleigh Riehl and Karina Rodriguez and forward Ashley Sanchez.

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