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Do we really have a Premier League title race?

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Four points separate Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur with six matches to play, and that’s a surmountable deficit for second-place Spurs.

Given the near peerless form of Spurs and the relative lack of title races since 2013-14, many are salivating at the thought of a true title race.

Should they be? In theory, very much so. Chelsea is a season removed from a team that showed all the character of a soap opera, getting its manager fired and finished well off its aims of repeating as PL champs.

[ JPW: Three things from Man Utd-Chelsea ]

And Spurs can burnish its confidence while increasing the heat under Chelsea by winning a head-to-head bout at Wembley Stadium in an FA Cup semifinal on Saturday. A two-match losing streak, the loss of silverware, and a defeat at its closest rival would surely have Eden Hazard and Co. scrambling for confidence.

And the North Londoners will likely have a significant edge in goal differential and goals scored should they erase the 4-point gap by season’s end. With relegation candidates both on opposite sides for Decision Day, look out.

Yet the schedule says this is going to be a very difficult proposition for Spurs, who will have to win out over a tough schedule — three-straight London Derbies, a visit from Man Utd, a trip to resurgent Leicester — and hope a home-heavy schedule somehow doesn’t work for the Blues. Chelsea is 13W-2L at the Bridge this season.

[ MORE: Man Utd-Chelsea ratings out of 10 ]

Here’s what we’ll see, week-by-week:

April 22-25
Chelsea vs. Spurs — FA Cup semifinal (Saturday)
Chelsea vs. Southampton (4/25)
Crystal Palace vs. Spurs (4/26)

One more day’s rest for Spurs, but a trip to a lively and inspired Palace led by Tottenham outcast Andros Townsend.

April 30
Everton vs. Chelsea
Spurs vs. Arsenal

Spurs will know Chelsea’s fate at Goodison Park by the time an important North London Derby kicks off at White Hart Lane.

May 5-8
West Ham vs. Spurs (5/5)
Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough (5/8)

This time it’s Spurs who can set the tone with a Friday afternoon fight at the London Stadium, giving Chelsea the weekend to marinate in or ruminate on the score ahead of a Monday battle.

May 12-21
West Brom vs. Chelsea (5/12)
Spurs vs. Manchester United (5/14)
Chelsea vs. Watford (5/15)
Leicester City vs. Spurs (5/18)
Chelsea vs. Sunderland (5/21)
Hull City vs. Spurs (5/21)

If it comes down to this manic 9-day stretch, Spurs will have to earn their stripes while Chelsea has to wildly disappoint with losses against lesser side. The Blues also finish with two at home, while Spurs won’t see WHL over two final matches in four days.

Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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More midweek action is coming up in the Premier League. Let the festive fun continue.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ]

The full TV schedule for this weekend is below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at for all the goals as they go in. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Tuesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Burnley vs. Stoke City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Crystal Palace vs. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM

Wednesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Manchester City – NBCSN [STREAM]
2:45.m. ET: Southampton vs. Leicester City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Newcastle United vs. Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: West Ham United vs. Arsenal – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Brom – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brighton & Hove Albion – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Premier League notes: Wanyama, Bolasie return after long layoffs, Sakho injured

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Two Premier League clubs saw a pair of players return to the field after long spells on the sidelines.

Tottenham revealed that Victor Wanyama took part in training on Monday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in late August, which has kept him off the field since then. Wanyama started in both of Tottenham’s first two fixtures of the season before the injury.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

At the same time in the northwest of England, Yannick Bolasie returned to the field for Everton’s reserves for the first time since suffering a torn ACL last December against Manchester United. Everton manager Sam Allardyce hinted recently that Bolasie could even make the first team subs bench before the end of the calendar year as he continues his rehab.

(more…)

Report: Sporting KC on verge of signing French midfielder Croizet

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Sporting Kansas City could be adding some European flair to its midfield this offseason.

According to multiple reports, the MLS club is in negotiations to sign French midfielder Yohan Croizet, who currently plays for Belgian first division side KV Mechelen. Croizet, who reportedly cost Mechelen a transfer fee worth more than $1 million, has started all 15 games he’s played for his side this season but has been substituted off on seven occasions and Mechelen are currently struggling in the league, sitting in 13th place with 18 points from 18 games.

Croizet hasn’t played since November 17, and appears on his way out.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, a Hungarian-American, is no stranger to the European market and has brought over plenty of diamonds in the rough from Europe to star with Sporting KC. Some previous examples, though in different positions from Croizet, include current winger Gerso, Krisztián Németh, Uri Rosell, and Aurelien Collin.

It will be interesting to see where Croizet plays in the Sporting KC side should it sign him, and how he works with Benny Feilhaber, who is turning 33-years old in January.

Arsenal lands Ostersunds in Europa League draw

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Arsenal will face a team with an English connection in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32.

The Gunners were paired with Swedish side Ostersunds in the Europa League knockout stage draw Monday, with matches set to be played on February 15 and February 22. Ostersund are managed by Englishman Graham Potter, who played in the Championship and lower in England before starting his managerial career with Ostersunds in 2010 in the fourth tier of Swedish soccer.

[READ: UCL draw+analysis]

Ostersunds surprised many earlier this year winning the Swedish Cup to qualify for the Europa League, and then advanced out of a group that included Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao.

It represents an interesting draw for Arsenal, which will have to balance the squad during a tough February. The weekend prior to the first-leg match is the second leg of the North London derby against Tottenham, and following the second match with Ostersunds is a showdown with Manchester City.

Here’s a look at how the rest of the draw shook out: