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Top Premier League story lines – Week 3

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The EFL Cup, Liverpool, and Everton gave us tastes of Premier League play this week, but Week 3 of the top flight has been dancing through our minds for some time.

[ WATCH: Sigurdsson’s outlandish Everton goal ]

There are several fantastic match-ups on the docket for Saturday and Sunday, so much so that we crammed six matches into our Top Five story lines for the weekend.


Will the real Arsenal please stand up?
Liverpool – Arsenal (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN) STREAM ] 

Host side Liverpool could’ve easily had its name in the same question about, oh, 36 hours ago, but the Reds’ work in dispatching a decent Hoffenheim team from the UEFA Champions League deserves kudos.

So which Arsenal team is a better indication of the Gunners we’ll see for most of this season: the club that batted Leicester City to a 4-3 win, or the side that failed to find its finish (okay, okay, also got a load of bad decisions against it) in a loss to Stoke City? Probably the former, but Liverpool will be a step up in class.

Blues and Toffees aim to make significant statement
Chelsea – Everton (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) STREAM ] 

Two sides coming off quite decent results but still with plenty to prove. Chelsea won at Wembley against Tottenham but didn’t exactly look like the club that should’ve won the contest, while Everton came close to tossing away a 45-minute lead, up a man against Manchester City.

No shame in either of those facts, but here is a big chance to make a strong statement for the men of Antonio Conte and Ronald Koeman. That’s especially true for the latter, as Everton will be just over 60 hours removed from an elimination game in Croatia (The Toffees advanced and saw an amazing Gylfi Sigurdsson goal).

Jose Mourinho’s ruthless Red Devils step up in competition
Manchester United – Leicester City (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) STREAM ] 

At the risk of speaking too soon, the Foxes look pretty darn good and are a seven-minute collapse at Arsenal from 2-0. Want to impress some more folks? Try and hold down a Manchester United side which is already recalling some of the better sides in recent history, with twin 4-0 wins to start the season.

Are you for real, Messrs Wagner and Pulis?
Huddersfield Town – Southampton (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) STREAM ]
West Bromwich Albion – Stoke City (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, CNBC) STREAM ]

We snuck a pair of matches into this one, because both Huddersfield Town and West Brom have eyebrows threatening to leap off foreheads given 2-0 starts to the season. Town beat unimpressive Newcastle and Palace, while West Brom knocked off Burnley and Bournemouth. Neither is expected to contend for the Top Seven, but perhaps will give more people reason to consider the idea with strong performances against better opposition.

Nobody wants to go 0-3
Newcastle United – West Ham United (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) STREAM ] 

The Hammers have certainly looked much better than the Magpies, but both managers have been feeling the heat for different reasons. West Ham has spent good money this summer and last, and Slaven Bilic could have a red hot seat with a loss against the moribund Magpies. For the hosts’ part, Newcastle looked decent against Spurs before Jonjo Shelvey was sent off for a dirtbag move on Dele Alli. Then they didn’t bother to show up against Huddersfield Town. One may wind up 0-fer the season, though given what we discussed earlier a 2-2 draw sounds about fitting.

Leon Bailey stars but Bayer Leverkusen held 4-4 by Hannover

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BERLIN (AP) Jamaica striker Leon Bailey scored twice after coming on as a substitute but Bayer Leverkusen failed to hang on as Hannover grabbed a 4-4 draw in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

[ MORE: Liverpool smashes Bournemouth to move fourth ]

Bailey, who came on at the break, needed only two minutes to equalize after Hannover had gone 3-2 ahead, and he scored again 20 minutes later to put Leverkusen 4-3 in front.

But the 20-year-old missed another chance to complete a hat trick and Julian Korb scored late for Hannover to draw.

“I had a third chance, and I just know if I had taken that chance it would have been over for them. It’s just unlucky. But that’s football,” said Bailey. “A wise man learns from his mistakes. But a wiser man learns from others’ mistakes.”

Both teams traded goals on an afternoon to forget for the goalkeepers.

“It was worth the entrance price for the spectators,” Korb said.

Julian Brandt fired Leverkusen into an early lead with a brilliant volley but Ihlas Bebou replied straight away with a header for Hannover.

Niclas Fuellkrug put the home side ahead with a penalty, only for Admir Mehmedi to equalize four minutes later for Leverkusen.

Hannover went ahead again after Fuellkrug set up Felix Klaus with his heel before the break, when Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich reacted with two substitutions.

One of them was Bailey, who raced forward to reach Kai Havertz’s through ball and kept his cool to beat Hannover `keeper Philipp Tschauner.

Bailey claimed his sixth goal of the season after the game’s longest stretch without a goal when Mehmedi played him through on a counterattack after a Hannover corner.

But there was further drama to come as Bebou eluded three Leverkusen defenders to set up Korb for Hannover’s equalizer with seven minutes remaining.

Leipzig, level on points with Leverkusen, had the chance to go second again with a win at home against Hertha Berlin later Sunday.

The 2 Robbies podcast: Liverpool dominates, selling Coutinho discussed

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe start off today’s show by discussing Man United’s win at The Hawthorns as Lukaku scores for the second straight match with Juan Mata impressing with his link up play. The guys also look at Alan Pardew’s influence on the Baggies. Liverpool net four in a dominating victory over Bournemouth and with Mo Salah continuing to dominate, the Robbies ask: can Liverpool now afford to sell Coutinho? And finally, the guys discuss Bournemouth’s recent struggles.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Report: PSV likely to land Man City, USMNT’s Palmer-Brown on loan

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A number of well-known American players have completed moves to Europe over the years, and a former Sporting KC defender is about to embark on his own journey abroad.

[ MORE: Liverpool smashes Bournemouth to go fourth ]

U.S. youth national team centerback Erik Palmer-Brown is headed to Premier League side Manchester City, who currently leads the English top flight, after signing a pre-contract with the club back in September.

It is now believed though that the young player will go on loan once he arrives with the English side.

Metro is reporting is that Palmer-Brown is likely to complete a move to Dutch Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven on loan.

Palmer-Brown helped the U.S. Under-20 national team reach the quarterfinals at this year’s U-20 World Cup in South Korea, after previously representing several other U.S. youth national teams.

La Liga & Serie A: Barca routs Deportivo, AC Milan routed

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Barcelona 4-0 Deportivo

Although Lionel Messi’s stardom was rewarded prior to the match at the Camp Nou with the European Golden Shoe, the Argentine forward couldn’t crack the scoresheet one the game kicked off. That didn’t matter though, as Luis Suarez and Paulinho each bagged braces on the day to keep Barcelona six points clear of Atletico Madrid on Sunday. Messi, who had a penalty kick attempt saved in the second half, came close on several occasions, but couldn’t find the scoring touch for the Blaugrana.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Girona 1-0 Getafe
Celta Vigo 0-1 Villareal
Las Palmas 2-2 Espanyol

Hellas Verona 3-0 AC Milan

If AC Milan’s season wasn’t bad enough prior to Sunday, today’s performance at the Stadio Marc`Antonio Bentegodi could have only made the club’s outlook much, much worse. Hellas captured its third league win of the season, however, the team remains in 19th in Serie A despite picking up three points. Meanwhile, the Rossoneri fell to eight in Italy’s top flight, after Genaro Gattuso’s men were completely outplayed on the road. To make matters worse for the struggling side, Suso earned a straight red card in the dying minutes, leaving Milan to fend with 10 men.

Bologna 0-3 Juventus

At the top of Serie A, things are getting very intriguing as the season nears its halfway point. Juventus did its part to keep pressure on league leaders Napoli, but four teams currently sit within four points of one another at the league’s summit, making for a testy title race. Miralem Pjanic and Mario Mandzukic each scored before halftime, giving the Bianconeri a comfortable lead before the break. Meanwhile, ex-PSG man Blaise Matuidi capped off the game’s scoring in the 64th minute.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Atalanta 3-3 Lazio
Benevento 1-2 SPAL
Sampdoria 0-1 Sassuolo
Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa
Crotone 1-0 Chievo Verona