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Top 5 Premier League storylines in Week 10

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The likely suspects remain at the Premier League summit heading into Matchday 10, however, a titanic clash amongst two of the top three sides could change the complexion of matters.

An important meeting at Old Trafford kicks off the weekend’s action as Manchester United hosts a Harry Kane-less Tottenham Hotspur, while big names Leicester City and Everton face a crucial test against one another for an utterly different reason.

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PST takes a look at the top 5 storylines around the PL ahead of Week 10.

Spurs facing massive test at Old Trafford without Kane

Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur — Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN

 

Anyone that names a player other than Harry Kane as the engine that runs Tottenham probably isn’t watching the club’s matches closely enough. That’s not to say Spurs isn’t loaded with talent — because they certainly are.

However, the difference for Spurs over the last several seasons has been the matches where the English striker wasn’t available for selection. Saturday’s clash against United would normally be timely considering Jose Mourinho’s men are coming off of a defeat, while Spurs comfortably handed Liverpool last weekend.

It remains to be seen though if Fernando Llorente will be a suitable replacement for Kane in a match of this magnitude.

Relegation a reality for these two “giants”

Leicester City vs. Everton — Sunday, 12 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Say what you will from an Everton perspective about the Merseyside club being amongst the big boys, but Leicester managed to win the Premier League just two seasons ago — with a very similar squad.

Both clubs are in disarray, sitting firmly in the relegation battle through nine matches, and that certainly isn’t what either team expected. Everton fired manager Ronald Koeman this week, which makes the 18th place side all the more vulnerable, however, the Foxes’ managerial situation isn’t that much better after Craig Shakespeare‘s recent sacking.

[ MORE: How will Man United-Spurs line up on Saturday? ]

Upstarts Huddersfield finding their groove?

Liverpool vs. Huddersfield Town — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET on NBC

Regardless of what transpires the rest of the 2017/18 season, Huddersfield will always have October 21. The Terriers earned a signature victory against Manchester United last weekend, and while it wasn’t the prettiest match for the newcomers, David Wagner‘s team was the first to hand the Red Devils a loss this campaign.

Liverpool enters the weekend just one point ahead of Wagner and Co., and Jurgen Klopp‘s side are in a bit of disarray. The Reds were blasted last week against Tottenham, with a 4-1 defeat the outcome at Wembley.

The Terriers have already exhibited their ability to adapt and overcome obstacles early in the campaign, including their victory over United after having had lost their previous two fixtures.

Eagles, Hammers holding on for dear life

Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold

Palace had a moment of brilliance against Chelsea earlier this month, but all it seems to be was that; a moment. With just two goals in nine matches, the Eagles are already facing a massive uphill climb at the bottom of the PL.

For the Hammers, their beginning to the campaign hasn’t been much better. Two wins out of nine has West Ham in 16th place and manager Slaven Bilic is on the hot seat after making several big moves this summer, including bringing in striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

[ MORE: The top 15 players at the 2017 U-17 World Cup ]

Surprise top-10 clubs meet at the Turf Moor

Burnley vs. Newcastle — Monday, 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN

This is probably the sneaky good match of the weekend because both clubs continue to fly under the radar as mid-table clubs. Burnley is coming off of a brutal beatdown by Manchester City, but Newcastle has found its form as of late, going unbeaten in its last three matches.

The biggest issue with both sides is the lack of a consistent goalscoring threat, which could hinder the clubs down the road. Chris Wood leads the Clarets with three goals thus far, while Newcastle has managed to get contributions from several players in their return to the PL.

Nonetheless, a victory for either club could potentially move one team all the way into the top four by the end of the weekend.

Russian authorities fine hotels for World Cup price-gouging

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MOSCOW (AP) Russian authorities in two cities say they have issued hundreds of fines after finding many hotels were illegally hiking prices for the World Cup.

The Rospotrebnadzor consumer regulator says one Moscow hotel raised prices up to 570 percent above what is allowed by a government decree designed to prevent excessive profiteering during the tournament.

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The regulator’s Moscow branch says it issued fines totaling 5.95 million rubles ($105,000) to 198 legal entities and 181 people.

In the Ural mountain city of Yekaterinburg, where Mexico and France will each play a group game, the regulator said it fined seven hotels, some of which were charging almost three times the allowed rate for rooms.

Russian authorities have taken a hands-on approach to regulating hotel and travel costs during the tournament to prevent the negative publicity of visiting fans being charged large sums.

Spanish police dismantle match-fixing scheme in 3rd, 4th tiers

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MADRID (AP) Spanish police have dismantled a match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in the country’s lower divisions.

Authorities said more than 20 people have been detained as part of the police operation launched on Monday, including players, although no names were immediately disclosed.

The matches under suspicion were in the third and fourth divisions this season and last season.

The match-fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites.

The Spanish league said the operation was based on information collected by its analysts about suspicious activities.

UCL preview: Chelsea host Barcelona; Bayern vs. Besiktas

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  • Chelsea vs. Barcelona, at Stamford Bridge
  • Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas, at Allianz Arena
  • Champions League round of 16 resumes on Tuesday

[ UCL: Spurs fight back to draw Juventus | Liverpool thrash Porto in leg 1 ]

Chelsea, mired in some of their worst form since the disastrous 2015-16 season, welcome a Barcelona side enjoying one of the best six-month runs of results in the famed club’s entire history. The Blues have won just four of their last 12 games across all competitions, while the Blaugrana have lost once in 38 games.

On the plus side, Chelsea enter Tuesday’s colossal clash as winners of their last two games — back-to-back wins for the first time in 2018 — having outscored the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Hull City by a combined 7-0. Star striker Alvaro Morata returned to action against Hull after five weeks out with a back injury, thus Antonio Conte has something of a selection dilemma on his hands with the Spaniard perhaps only partially fit, and Olivier Giroud racking up a goal and three assists in the last two games, his first starts for the club.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have conceded just two goals in their last nine games (all competitions) and even managed to overturn their lone defeat, to Espanyol, and advance to the Copa del Rey semifinals (and eventually final). Despite losing Neymar in the summer, Barca mostly cruised through their Champions League group, only dropping points in draws away to Juventus and Olympiacos. Lionel Messi has, strangely, never scored a goal in his eight career appearances against Chelsea, a record which has been spoken about at length in the build-up to Tuesday — similarly to the goal-less record which plagued him against Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom he finally bested back in September.

[ MORE: Man City win big away to Basel | Real Madrid 3-1 PSG ]

In the other round-of-16 first-leg matchup on Tuesday, five-time (soon-to-be six) defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich host surprise winners of Group G, Besiktas, ahead of the likes of Monaco, RB Leipzig and Porto.

Since taking over on an interim basis (through the end of the season), Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has won 21 of 22 games of which he’s been in charge, including four of six games during the group stage en route to finish second behind Paris Saint-Germain, while also racing out to a 19-point lead back home in Germany.

Aguero involved in clash with Wigan fan after FA Cupset

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Sergio Aguero was involved in a confrontation with a Wigan fan as ugly scenes marred the end of the third-division side’s shock FA Cup win over Manchester City on Monday.

[ MORE: Wigan shock Man City, the world and themselves ]

Fans spilled on to the pitch at DW Stadium as the host celebrated its 1-0 fifth-round win against the runaway English Premier League leader.

Supporters from both clubs were involved in disturbances, while television pictures appeared to show a home supporter and striker Aguero involved in a physical exchange.

Aguero appeared to hit the supporter after the fan said something to the player, and Aguero had to be held back by his City teammates.

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Advertising hoardings were also ripped out and thrown as a pitch invasion by Wigan fans got out of hand while the defeated City players were being escorted off the pitch.

Footage also appeared to show objects, including an advertising board, being thrown at police officers by fans in the City end.