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Sunday PL preview: Man City hosts West Ham; Saints travel to Bournemouth

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A stunning display of form over the first third of the season has Manchester City well ahead of its challengers, so it’ll take something special from its opponent on Sunday to hand Pep Guardiola‘s side its first defeat of the 2017/18 season.

[ MORE: Bayern opens up six-point gap in Bundesliga ]

The Premier League leaders will play host to relegation side West Ham United in the day’s second match, which is preceded by two clubs hoping to crack the top 10.

Bournemouth will take on Southampton from the Vitality Stadium, as the Cherries and Saints currently sit within two points of one another.

Below is a more in-depth look at Sunday’s two top-flight matches.

Bournemouth vs. Southampton — 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN

The Cherries enter the weekend four points clear of the bottom three in England, but a victory over Southampton could potentially propel the side above their opponent.

Eddie Howe‘s squad is coming off of a 2-1 home defeat to Burnley on Wednesday, so the quick turnaround will test Bournemouth’s fortitude. Overall, the Cherries are unbeaten in three of their last five matches, with their only two losses coming to top 6 sides (Chelsea & Burnley).

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pellegrino’s team has had a rough go of things as of late with matches against Liverpool, Burnley and Man City all going in favor of the PL top dogs. The only win in Southampton’s last four came last weekend with a convincing 4-1 win over struggling Everton.

In this fixture, the Saints have had Bournemouth’s number as of late, picking up points in seven of their last eight meetings (5W, 2D, 1L).

Manchester City vs. West Ham United — 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN

Can anyone stop the Citizens? It seems to be a legitimate question as Guardiola’s men continue to trudge along at the top of the PL.

[ MORE: Chelsea cruises past Newcastle after Hazard brace ]

City’s form to start the season has many wondering if the Manchester side will amass Chelsea’s points record set back in 2004/05 when the Blues recorded 95 points. At the moment, the Citizens have secured 40 points out of a possible 42, and the side would acquire nearly 112 points if it kept up its current pace of 2.85 points per game.

Of course, that’s slightly unrealistic.

The numbers certainly aren’t on the side of West Ham, who lost all three fixtures to City last season by a combined scoreline of 12-1.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Andy Carroll remains out for the Hammers, while Winston Reid looks like he’ll also be on the shelf for David Moyes‘ group.

Osorio: Jonathan Gonzalez has a “promising future” with El Tri

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The Jonathan Gonzalez situation still stings for many U.S. Men’s National Team supporters, and the encouragement from Mexico’s camp regarding the midfielder’s bright future isn’t making things better for Americans.

[ MORE: Where does Zlatan rank among stars to come to MLS? ]

El Tri manager Juan Carlos Osorio reaffirmed his belief that Gonzalez is one of the many promising prospects within the Mexican national team ahead of the country’s friendly against Iceland on Friday.

Gonzalez, who switched his national team allegiance to Mexico from the U.S. earlier this year, has been called up for the match after the 18-year-old made his Mexico senior team debut against Bosnia back in January.

“Jonathan, to start with, is part of a group of Mexican players that I’ve referred as having a good present and a promising future and that excites me to continue, along with Edson Alvarez, Omar Govea and others that aren’t here like Orbelin [Pineda] and Erick [Gutierrez],” Osorio said at a news conference on Thursday.

“Gonzalez is a good midfielder and can fight for a place with anyone. Like everyone, he has to improve a lot of things to win a place.

“After deciding to play for Mexico, it is our responsibility to give him a platform to develop and consolidate himself as a player.

“That’s why he’s in this call-up, and hopefully he can establish himself and show the qualities I mentioned.”

The former USMNT youth prospect has quickly become a regular for club side Monterrey, who currently sits sixth in the Liga MX table.

Gonzalez has appeared in 38 matches across all competitions for the four-time league champions and earned honors in the Liga MX Best XI following the 2017 Apertura season.

USMNT reveals new kits ahead of Paraguay friendly

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U.S. Soccer’s teams has donned some pretty sweet kits in the past, but this go around has particularly patriotic feel about it, and we like it.

[ MORE: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has joined the LA Galaxy ]

The U.S. released a video on Friday (below) with several USMNT stars, including Bobby Wood and Tyler Adams wearing the new kits ahead of Tuesday’s international friendly against Paraguay.

The home jersey features a flag design engraved on a white kit, which is representative of the American flag. Meanwhile, the away version holds a similar design, but with a blue base for the jersey.

Meanwhile, the USWNT will don their new kits on April 5 when they take on Mexico in the first two matches in the U.S. The two rivals will meet three days later for the second meeting.

What do you think of the latest U.S. Soccer kits? Let us know what you like or dislike about it in the comments section below.

UEFA Nations League gets $94 million prize fund for 55 teams

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) UEFA says it has created a 76.25 million euro ($94 million) prize fund for the inaugural Nations League.

The first champion will earn 7.5 million euros ($9.25 million).

The Nations League is replacing most international friendlies. All 55 UEFA members will play group matches in four tiers through November. The Final Four will be in June 2019.

UEFA says 12 top-ranked teams in League A will each get 1.5 million euros ($1.85 million). Group winners will get 1.5 million euros ($1.85 million) extra and advance to the final tournament, and the winner will get another 4.5 million euros ($5.55 million).

League B will pay 1 million euros ($1.23 million) per team, while in League C it’s 750,000 euros ($925,000) and in League D it’s 500,000 euros ($617,000). Group winners will double their money.

Alexis Sanchez discusses Man United struggles

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Alexis Sanchez appears to be struggling with his disappointing start to life at Manchester United.

The Chilean star, 29, became the highest-paid player in the Premier League when he arrived from Arsenal in January in a swap deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but Sanchez has scored just one PL goal.

Sanchez has failed to make his mark on a consistent basis as United have also crashed out of the UEFA Champions League.

What does Sanchez put his lack of form down to?

In an Instagram post he left a caption saying that he was mentally exhausted: “I know you are tired. I know you are psychologically and emotionally exhausted. But you have to smile and continue”.

Speaking to the Chilean media ahead of their friendly against Sweden in Stockholm on Saturday, Sanchez revealed he has been struggling with the lack of impact he has had at United.

“The change of club was something that was very abrupt – it was the first time I’ve changed clubs in January – but many things have happened in my life that are difficult… As I am self-demanding, I expected something better. After my arrival at United, it was hard to change everything very quickly. I even hesitated to come here [to Sweden].”

Sanchez has looked better in a central role behind Romelu Lukaku but he hasn’t been used there often enough by Jose Mourinho.

At Arsenal he had the license to roam free in the attacking third but in Mourinho’s more defensive, rigid system he appears to be struggling to get on the ball in the right areas in and around the box. Sanchez has cut a frustrated figure out on the left wing and has given the ball away on multiple occasions as he tries to make the difficult passes and open up opposition defenses.

It appears that Sanchez is perhaps trying to hard to impress United and given his all-action displays, that is not easy to do.

United need more of him in the final third than out wide or tracking back to help out his own defense if they’re going to seal their top four spot and win the FA Cup to see out the final months of the season.

There’s no doubting Sanchez’s quality as we all know just how good he can be from his four seasons at Arsenal.

Yet, as he acknowledged himself, something at United isn’t quite right.