Top Premier League storylines ahead of Week 21

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Ahead of Week 21 of the 2016-17 Premier League season, we’re most looking forward to keeping an eye on the following storylines…

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Rivalry renewed (with meaning)

The last time both Manchester United and Liverpool finished in the top-four of the PL, the year was 2009 (when they finished first and second, respectively). For a pair of clubs their size, that’s almost unfathomable. Entering Sunday’s derby at Old Trafford (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and online via, five points are all that separate the northeast rivals (Liverpool in 2nd, Man United in 6th). The Red Devils are unbeaten in 11 straight league games, while the Reds haven’t lost in six. Something’s going to give.

The start of a new streak?

Chelsea’s unbeaten run (13 games) came to an end last week, away to Tottenham Hotspur, one short of new PL record. On Saturday, their attention must shift from their first league defeat since Sept. 24, to reasserting themselves in the title race. Liverpool sit just five points back of the Blues, as Antonio Conte‘s side visits the defending champions, Leicester City (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC and online via

The race for 4th is hot

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away Pts
 Liverpool 20 13 5 2 48 23 25 7-2-0 6-3-2 44
 Tottenham Hotspur 20 12 6 2 39 14 25 8-2-0 4-4-2 42
 Manchester City 20 13 3 4 41 22 19 6-3-1 7-0-3 42
 Arsenal 20 12 5 3 44 22 22 7-2-1 5-3-2 41
 Manchester United 20 11 6 3 31 19 12 5-4-1 6-2-2 39

Tottenham vs. West Brom — Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and
Everton vs. Manchester City — Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and

Relegation race rolls on

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away Pts
 Crystal Palace 20 4 4 12 30 37 -7 2-1-7 2-3-5 16

 Sunderland 20 4 3 13 19 37 -18 3-2-5 1-1-8 15
 Swansea City 20 4 3 13 23 45 -22 2-2-6 2-1-7 15
 Hull City 20 3 4 13 17 44 -27 2-3-5 1-1-8 13

Hull City vs. Bournemouth — Saturday, 10 a.m ET, on
Swansea City vs. Arsenal — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on
Sunderland vs. Stoke City — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on
West Ham United vs. Crystal Palace — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on

LIVE, FA Cup: Swansea v Tottenham kicks off quarterfinals

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Swansea City host Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (8:15 a.m. ET) at the Liberty Stadium with both teams perhaps having an eye on other things rather than winning the FA Cup.

[ LIVE: Follow Swansea-Spurs

Carlos Carvalhal‘s main aim for the Swans is to avoid relegation from the Premier League, while Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham will be fully focused on finishing in the top four.

In team news both Jordan and Andre Ayew miss out for Swansea as Carvalhal makes five changes, while Spurs are without the injured Harry Kane and make seven changes to their starting lineup with Hugo Lloris, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli on the bench.


Swansea City: Nordfeldt, Naughton, Van der Hoorn, Bartley, Mawson, Olsson, Ki Sung-Yeung, Carroll , Clucas, Dyer, Abraham. Subs: Mulder, Roberts, Fernandez, Britton, Byers, Routledge, Narsingh

Tottenham Hotspur: Vorm, Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Sissoko, Lamela, Eriksen, Lucas, Son. Subs: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Foyth Dembele, Alli, Moura, Llorente

Retailer removes T-shirt from sale over Hillsborough links

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LONDON (AP) A British retailer has withdrawn a T-shirt from sale in its stores and online following complaints that its design could be associated with the Hillsborough soccer disaster.

[ MORE: Liverpool, Man City drawn in UCL quarterfinals ]

Topman had on sale a red shirt with a large “96” on the back and the phrase “what goes around comes around” underneath. The word “Karma” is written on one of the sleeves.

Ninety-six people were crushed to death in the Hillsborough stadium disaster, which happened in Sheffield in April 1989 at an FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Topman said it “apologizes unreservedly for any offense caused by this T-shirt” and that the “garment has been removed from sale online and in stores.”

The retailer said the design was inspired by a Bob Marley track, with the number referring to the year of the re-release.

Cosmos, Miami FC petition USSF for 2018 U.S. Open Cup entry

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NASL’s decision to cancel the 2018 regular season has caused significant ramifications, with the latest forcing several clubs to be excluded from the U.S. Open Cup.

The New York Cosmos and Miami FC — both of whom participated in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup have not been named among the eligible teams for the 2018 edition following NASL’s cancellation of the league season.

Now, the two teams have petitioned to U.S. Soccer and its new president, Carlos Cordeiro, to rethink its decision and allow the clubs to play despite not belonging to a professional league.

Both clubs do boast reserve teams though — New York Cosmos B and Miami 2 — which is the lead argument from each organization as to why U.S. Soccer should grant the teams an exemption and a spot in the tournament.

Cosmos B and Miami FC 2 will both play in the NPSL once again in 2018, with both rosters largely comprised of senior team players.

As it stands, 94 teams have been placed in the 2018 Open Cup field, as announced by U.S. Soccer on Wednesday.

Both open letters from the respective clubs can be found below.

Brazil’s Luis could miss World Cup after leg fracture

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MADRID (AP) Brazilian left back Filipe Luis has a leg fracture that could stop him going to the World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Arsenal draws CSKA Moscow in Europa quarters ]

Atletico Madrid said Friday that Luis sustained the injury to his left leg in the second half of the Spanish team’s 5-1 rout of Lokomotiv Moscow in the Europa League round-of-16 match on Thursday.

The club did not say how long Luis will be sidelined. Similar injuries have required at least six weeks of recovery time and longer if surgery is required.

The 32-year-old Luis was called up by Brazil coach Tite for friendlies against Russia in Moscow on March 23 and against Germany in Berlin on March 27. Brazil’s first game at the World Cup is against Switzerland on June 17.

Luis was injured while trying to prevent Lokomotiv forward Eder taking a shot from inside the area in the 60th minute. He successfully cleared the ball but his leg was hit from behind.

Luis left the field on a stretcher and tests Friday in Madrid confirmed the fracture in his lower leg.

Atletico advanced 8-1 on aggregate after the victory in Russia.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: