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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.

Mascherano out 6 weeks, will miss Argentina vs. Brazil

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano will be out of action for six weeks to recover from a right knee injury.

[ MORE: Luis Enrique leaves Barca with feeling of accomplishment ]

Barcelona’s season is over, but the injury will rule out Mascherano from Argentina’s friendly against Brazil on June 9.

Mascherano injured his leg early in Saturday’s final of the Copa del Rey, when Barcelona beat Alaves 3-1 to defend its title for a third straight season.

He also cut his head during the collision with an Alaves player that produced the leg injury. He returned on crutches to join the team celebration.

Argentina doesn’t play its next World Cup qualifier until it plays Uruguay on Aug. 28.

Courtois aiming at new Chelsea contract after strong season

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There’s a wide range of players that were integral in Chelsea’s Premier League-winning season in 2016/17, but one of the most underrated was arguably goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

[ MORE: PL clubs may miss on Celtic’s Dembele and more transfer news ]

The Blues shot-stopper started all but two PL matches this past campaign, and now the Belgian international is seeking an extension with the London club.

“Contract talks haven’t opened but I am happy at Chelsea,” Courtois told Sky Sports after Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal at Wembley.

“I hope they reward me with a good contract, then there will be no doubt I will sign it.”

The 25-year-old keeper has been in at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Genk in 2011, but Courtois spent three seasons in Spain on a loan spell.

Courtois likened this PL campaign to his time on loan at Atletico Madrid, stating that while his side’s achievements in the league were everything Chelsea could have hoped for that there was still more the Blues could have done.

“It’s not a good feeling now,” Courtois told Chelsea’s official website. “I had the same thing in Spain when I won the league and then lost the Champions League.

“We wanted to end on a high, now we feel sad. Winning is everything so this is hard to face but we have to try to forget it.”

Francesco Totti on bench for final Roma match

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Sunday marks Francesco Totti’s final match with Roma after a stellar 24-year career, but the striker won’t be starting at the Stadio Olimpico.

[ MORE: Reus could miss at least six months after suffering knee damage ]

The 40-year-old was named to the bench for his club’s 2016/17 Serie A finale against Cagliari, with Roma needing a victory to capture second position in Italy’s top flight.

Napoli currently sits just one point behind the Giallorossi and hold a slight two-goal edge in goal differential, which could be a decisive factor in which side finishes second.

It would be quite odd for Roma to not give Totti playing time in his final outing, after a career that featured over 300 goals across all competitions for his hometown club.

Transfer rumor roundup: PL clubs losing ground for Dembele and more

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With all the major leagues across Europe either closing or already have finished it’s the season of transfer rumors once again.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s FA Cup win vs. Chelsea ]

Here are several of the juiciest pieces from Sunday:

Three London sides could potentially miss out on Celtic star Moussa Dembele as AC Milan has emerged as a favorite to sign the top-rated Frenchman. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all expressed great interest in the promising attacker, who scored 17 goals this season for the Scottish champions.

After struggling at times this season to keep goals out, Liverpool could turn to France as a potential outlet to fix the cracks in their back line. AS Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy already has significant PL interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side could also put up a fight.

West Ham is looking to bolster its attack this summer, and with Pep Guardiola likely making significant changes at the Etihad Stadium, Kelechi Iheanacho could be on his way to the Hammers ahead of the 2017/18 PL season.

Manchester City higher ups are keen on having Guardiola bring back goalkeeper Joe Hart from Torino this summer. Hart spent last season on loan with the Italian club after Guardiola sent him away from England early in his managing tenure at the club.