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MLS Week 8: Litmus tests across the board

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Week 8 in MLS action could teach fans a lot about clubs with plenty to prove.

With questions still abound regarding teams like NYCFC, New England, Seattle, Portland, and New York Red Bulls, all those teams have a chance to make statements regarding their potential strength this season.

[ MORE: Week 8 MLS Power Rankings ]

In addition, struggling teams such as Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Montreal all have opportunities for much-needed points against arguably weaker opposition.

Let’s take a look at the weekend slate chronologically:

Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo
7:30 p.m. ET Friday

Toronto got a pair from Giovinco last time out, and sitting near the bottom of the crowded East mid-tier, they need points fast to avoid finding themselves in a hole behind the top of the table. There’s goals in this one, with Houston defensively challenged and Cubo Torres on fire to start the year.

Montreal Impact vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
3:00 p.m. ET Saturday

An all-Canadian clash actually serves as a vitally important match for both clubs. With each side near the bottom of their conference standings, they both need a result badly to jump-start the campaign. A draw does nobody any good here moving forward.

Orlando City vs. Colorado Rapids
4:00 p.m. ET Saturday

The Lions are one of 2017’s surprises, and Cyle Larin is on an absolute tear. Unfortunately, so far, anyone who shuts down Larin shuts down Orlando City. That said, good luck to Colorado shutting down an early MLS Golden Boot challenger.

Cyle Larin has 6 goals in 6 games this season (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images).

NY Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire
7:30 p.m. ET Saturday

New York has seen bumps on the early-season road, but overall remains a strong Supporter’s Shield contender. They face a big test against another strong Eastern Conference side, and a win here would make it three straight, all over good competition. Chicago is reeling after its defeat to Toronto, out-shot 9-1, but has another chance to pick up a road win before heading back home.

Columbus Crew vs. NYCFC
7:30 p.m. ET Saturday

Columbus has been poor on the road, but they return home to Mapfre Stadium to take on a strong NYCFC side. This game could potentially teach us a lot about whoever comes out on top, as both look to build separation from the rest of the pack in the East. Both have lost two of three, but both still appear strong up front, and three points in this game could prove to be a marquee win to point to later in the season.

Minnesota United vs. San Jose Earthquakes
8:00 p.m. ET Saturday

Minnesota United, owners of one of the worst starts to the season, has shown signs of life. Can they keep it going against another team struggling for points?

FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers
8:00 p.m. ET Saturday

This is a marquee matchup, and with FC Dallas unbeaten so far, represents a huge test but also a huge opportunity for Portland to announce itself as a true top contender in the West. They’re top of the table, but have played at least one more game than most teams just below them. Can the Timbers find a way through the strong Dallas D?

Sporting KC vs. Real Salt Lake
8:30 p.m. ET Saturday

A big rivalry game with big table implications, Sporting KC has the unfortunate luck of catching RSL after hiring Mike Petke and not before. This should be a fun one.

Seattle Sounders vs. New England Revolution
10:00 p.m. ET Saturday

We still don’t know exactly what New England is. For every step forward they’ve taken one back, and for every setback they’ve had they’ve found a way through. This is a fantastic test. There are plenty of excuses for a potential loss with the team going cross-country to face one of the league’s best attacks, but a result could be a true statement.

LA Galaxy vs. Philadelphia Union
10:30 p.m. ET Saturday

With Philadelphia struggling and now traveling a long way, this should be a chance for the Galaxy to turn things around. Should be.

Atlanta United vs. D.C. United
3:00 p.m. ET Sunday

Atlanta is back home for the first time in over a month. They have slipped a bit since the torrid start, but still appear a dangerous club. D.C. will have its work cut out.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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Week 24 of the Premier League is here and the race for the top four and against relegation is really heating up.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ] 

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

[ STREAM: Premier League “Goal Rush”

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for. 


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Burnley 0-3 Man United – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Man City 4-1 Newcastle – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) –  [STREAM

Southampton 0-3 Tottenham – (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Arsenal 3-1 Crystal Palace (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, CNBC) – [STREAM

West Ham 2-0 Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Swansea City 0-3 Liverpool – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

DON’T TOUCH THIS… 

Leicester City 2-1 Watford – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]

Brighton 1-2 Chelsea – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Stoke City 1-1 Huddersfield – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Everton 2-2 West Brom – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Premier League TV, streaming schedule: MD 24

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Drink in all the Premier League action you can get before the FA Cup takes center stage the weekend after next.

MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ]

The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are 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 around the grounds. 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

Saturday
7:30 a.m. ET: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Manchester United – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Everton vs. West Bromwich Albion – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Stoke City vs. Huddersfield Town – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Ham United vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Manchester City vs. Newcastle United – NBC [STREAM]

Sunday
11 a.m. ET: Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur – NBCSN [STREAM]

Monday
3 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM]

First Sanchez, now Seri: Manchester clubs lock horns

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Alexis Sanchez isn’t the only player wanted by both Manchester clubs…

[ MORE: Aubameyang to Arsenal? ]

Manchester City and Manchester United are both chasing Nice midfielder Jean-Micheal Seri, according to the Guardian.

A report claims that Man City have earmarked the defensive midfielder as a key target for the summer transfer window but United are also keen on the Ivory Coast international.

Seri, 26, came close to joining Barcelona in the summer but the Spanish giants pulled out of the deal late in the transfer window and he has struggled in Ligue 1 this season. That said, his talent is undoubted.

Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Everton are all said to be interested in Seri, but it appears United and City are most likely to offer close to the $50 million Nice want for the central midfielder.

Seri only has 18 months left on his current contract, so in the summer he could cost much less than $50 million.

Who needs him most: City or United?

Fernandinho has been solid for City this season and is often an unsung hero but some of his limitations did come to the fore in City’s 4-3 defeat at Liverpool last weekend with the Brazilian now 32 years old. Pep Guardiola will likely search for a long-term replacement for Fernandinho in holding midfield with Yaya Toure out of the picture out and of contract this summer.

As for United, they also need a holding midfielder. Nemanja Matic has been a key addition this season but there is arguably a slot alongside him with the futures of Ander Herrera, Maraoune Fellaini and Michael Carrick all up in the air beyond this season. Seri would add stability in midfield and Mourinho’s penchant for playing two defensive-minded central midfielders is well known.

Seri will be a man in demand this summer given the length of his contract and the fact that Barcelona came so close to signing him.

Andy Carroll’s Chelsea move in doubt due to injury

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Andy Carroll‘s hopes of securing a move from West Ham to Chelsea in January appear to be over.

The Telegraph is reporting that Carroll, 29, has suffered an ankle injury which will keep him out for at least a month but possibly as long as four months if he needs surgery. This comes after he has missed West Ham’s FA Cup win against Shrewsbury on Tuesday as he didn’t participate in training.

Carroll hasn’t played for West Ham since coming on as a late sub in their 1-1 draw at Tottenham on Jan. 4.

It has been widely reported that Chelsea had lined up Carroll and were willing to pay West Ham $30 million for the Englishman, with Michy Batshuayi potentially involved in a loan deal, but the former Newcastle and Liverpool forward has suffered yet another untimely injury.

Carroll has scored just two goals in the Premier League this season, with both coming in the 2-1 win against West Brom in January. The towering forward has been restricted to just 12 appearances in the PL in 2017-18.

What now for Chelsea? With his deal over, it appears they will continue their hunt for a back-up option to Alvaro Morata.

In the summer they tried to signed Fernando Llorente but failed as the Spaniard signed for Tottenham Hotspur instead, while they currently have only Batshuayi to back up Morata but it appears the Belgian forward could be heading out on loan in the coming days.

With Carroll suffering this injury, it appears Batshuayi may be staying at Chelsea after all as Antonio Conte looks around for an alternative striking option for the Blues. In truth, the vast majority of Chelsea’s fans were either bemused or hugely underwhelmed by this potential transfer deal in the first place.

Could Chelsea move to bring Daniel Sturridge back to Stamford Bridge? Would Liverpool sell a clinical forward to a direct rival in the PL? It’s unlikely, while Sturridge has previous with Chelsea after the way he left the club in 2013 and moved to Liverpool.

It’s back to the drawing board for Chelsea’s recruitment guru’s as Carroll’s injury appears to be worse than West Ham first feared.