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Top Premier League story lines – Week 37

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Here goes nothing everything.

Chelsea can clinch the Premier League, Hull City can be relegated, and both Man City and Liverpool can go a long way toward ensuring their Top Four fate with wins this weekend.

Will Chelsea make it official?
West Bromwich Albion vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN

Leicester City’s run as unlikely Premier League champions could be over as soon as 5 p.m. ET Friday, as Chelsea sits on the precipice of a league title. Three points will do the trick for Antonio Conte in his first season at Stamford Bridge. Standing in Chelsea’s way is a West Bromwich Albion team which hasn’t done much of anything since ensuring breaching the 40-point mark.

Can Spurs snap back to form in White Hart Lane goodbye?
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United — 11:30 a.m. Sunday on NBCSN

Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that Spurs’ mentality took a hit with last week’s loss to West Ham, and Tottenham could see its title hopes officially dead if Chelsea manages a win on Friday. But the club will not be able to avoid positive emotions in its final home match at White Hart Lane.

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United played Thursday with a full strength side in the UEFA Europa League, and the manager’s mind is far from anything but May 24’s UEL final in Sweden. That said, don’t expect the Red Devils to roll over on Sunday.

Palace has to hold its nerve after failing to seal safety
Crystal Palace vs. Hull City — 7 a.m. ET Sunday on CNBC

Sam Allardyce has never led a side to relegation, but would enter the final weekend of the season in danger with a loss to visiting Hull City. The visitors will know whether they have a chance to pass Swansea City by kickoff.

Palace still needs to implode to dip into the Championship, as a single point against Hull or a single loss from Swans would do the trick to ensure safety (barring two massive blowout losses from the Eagles). But with a trip to Manchester United left on the docket, a loss Sunday would provide nervy times for the Selhurst Park set.

 Crystal Palace 36 11 5 20 46 61 -15 5-2-11 6-3-9 38
 Swansea City 36 10 5 21 41 69 -28 7-3-8 3-2-13 35

 Hull City 36 9 7 20 36 69 -33 8-4-6 1-3-14 34

Swansea heads North for safety-clinching effort
Sunderland vs. Swansea City — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN

The already-relegated Black Cats of Sunderland rose up to knock off Hull last week, and can drastically alter Swans fortunes one week later. Swans will know that a win will heap pressure on both Palace and Hull ahead of Sunday, and also rest comfortably knowing a win and a Hull draw would save the relegation worries for another season.

Who will finish the weekend in third?
Manchester City vs. Leicester City — 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN
West Ham vs. Liverpool — 9:15 a.m. ET Sunday on CNBC

Both Liverpool and Manchester City control their Top Four destinies as we enter the league’s penultimate weekend, and wins will all but settle things for both sides. Liverpool enters Saturday with two matches left and 70 points, while Man City has three and 69. Arsenal maxes out at 75 points and Manchester United can gather 74, so wins aren’t simply nice, they still feel quite necessary.

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

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The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.