PL Sunday preview: Man City’s title trot; Wenger’s farewell tour

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Manchester City will play as the confirmed champions of the Premier League, though they won’t celebrate as such for a couple more weeks, on Sunday. Meanwhile, the only manager Arsenal have known for more than two decades begins saying goodbye

[ MORE: Man United come back to beat Spurs, reach FA Cup final ]

Arsenal vs. West Ham United — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

So begins the Arsene Wenger farewell tour, and with a London derby at that. Wenger announced on Friday that he’ll leave Arsenal at the end of the current season, which has little to no chance of seeing the Gunners finish in the PL’s top-five, let alone the top-four. Sunday’s clash with West Ham will be the first of Wenger’s three remaining games at the Emirates Stadium, including the Europa League semifinal against Atletico Madrid on Thursday. Unfortunately for Wenger, three of his final five PL games (four of seven in all competitions) will be played away from home, where his side has lost five straight in league play.

Speaking of lost and wayward seasons, 14th-place West Ham are almost mathematically clear of relegation (there’s currently three places and six points between themselves and 18th-place Southampton). It’s hardly the future they imagined upon moving to the London Stadium at the start of last season. Andy Carroll scored the late equalizer in the Hammers’ 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Monday, which rescued perhaps a perfectly timed point with all five remaining games to be played against sides currently in the top-nine (Arsenal, Man City, Leicester, Man United and Everton).

INJURIES: Arsenal — OUT: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (knee), Santi Cazorla (achilles); QUESTIONABLE: Jack Wilshere (ankle) | West Ham — OUT: James Collins (hamstring), Sam Byram (ankle), Winston Reid (knee), Michail Antonio (hamstring), Pedro Obiang (knee)


Stoke City vs. Burnley — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Here’s what’s at stake at the bet365 Stadium on Sunday:

Stoke sit two places and five points adrift of safety from relegation, with four games left to play (17th-place Swansea City have a game in hand, to boot). After 10 seasons in the PL, it’s looking more and more likely that Paul Lambert (with a tip of the cap to Mark Hughes earlier in the season) will take the Potters back to the Championship for the first time since they won promotion in 2008.

Burnley trail Arsenal by just two points (though the Clarets have played one more game than the Gunners) in the race for sixth place. A sixth-place finish would be the club’s highest top-flight finish since 1966 (3rd).

INJURIES: Stoke — QUESTIONABLE: Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting (groin) | Burnley — OUT: Steven Defour (knee), Scott Arfield (calf), Robbie Brady (knee), Jonathan Walters (fitness); QUESTIONABLE: Ben Mee (knock), Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (hamstring)


Manchester City vs. Swansea City — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

While Man City won’t lift the PL trophy until their May 6 clash with Huddersfield Town, Sunday’s visit from Swansea will be Pep Guardiola‘s side’s first outing since clinching the title courtesy of Man United’s defeat to West Bromwich Albion last weekend. Guardiola’s focus has turned to breaking the all-time PL points record (95 — they currently have 87 with five games still to play).

“In the past, I won the league at Bayern and at Barca with five, six or seven games (left) but the next games were not good,” he said this week. “We have to think about how many points we can get, it can be a good argument. What we need to do is already done, the points record is not the most important thing, but maybe it can help us to be focused. It would be uncomfortable to finish in a bad way, there always has to be a target and maybe scoring the most goals and winning the most points will be a good focus.”

INJURIES: Man City — OUT: Sergio Aguero (knee), Benjamin Mendy (knee); QUESTIONABLE: John Stones (thigh) | Swansea — OUT: Wilfried Bony (knee), Leroy Fer (achilles), Renato Sanches (hamstring)

Burnley 2-1 Everton: Comeback Clarets

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  • Wood heads home late winner
  • Everton took lead through Tosun
  • First win in 12 PL games for Burnley
  • Just 1 away win in 23 games for Everton

Burnley came from behind to beat 10-man Everton 2-1 at Turf Moor on Saturday, with Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood grabbing second half goals after Cenk Tosun gave Everton an early lead.

It marked the first time Burnley have come from behind to win a Premier League game under Sean Dyche.

The Clarets dominated large spells of the game but Sam Allardyce‘s side had plenty of chances to score and were made to pay for their lack of composure in front of goal. To add insult to injury Ashley Williams was sent off late on for elbowing Barnes in the face.

With the win Burnley solidify their spot in seventh and have 38 points, while Everton remain in ninth on 35 points after three defeats in their last four games.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Burnley had plenty of joy out wide early on but it was Everton who had the first big chance of the game. After the  ball was cut back from the left, Walcott fired well over with the goal gaping as his teammate Tom Davies seemed to get in his way.

At the other end Jack Cork blazed over and Johan Berg Gudmundsson’s cross caused Jordan Pickford to palm it away, but then Everton hit the Clarets with the opener.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Walcott’s cross from the right was flicked on by Seamus Coleman and Tosun nodded home his first Everton goal following his big money move from Besiktas in January.

Before the break the game opened as Burnley searched for an equalizer with Pickford brilliantly denying Ashley Barnes’ header, while Everton were dangerous on the break as Nick Pope denied Walcott.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Burnley kept up the pressure as Pickford denied Lennon, then stopping Ben Mee‘s header with another fine stop. The equalizer finally arrived for Burnley as Matt Lowton‘s fantastic ball caught out Michael Keane and Barnes raced in on goal before beating Pickford at his near post after poor positioning. 1-1.

Burnley went close to a winner soon after as Gudmundsson’s cross deflected just wide of onrushing attackers, while Everton introduced Wayne Rooney off the bench to try and go ahead for a second time.

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At the other end Barnes almost scored a carbon copy of his first goal but Pickford got his angles right to deny the English striker, while Oumar Niasse blazed over with Everton dangerous late in the game on the break.

Gylfi Sigurdsson showed fine composure in the box to set up a chance but the Icelandic playmaker pushed his shot just wide of the far post and Everton were made to pay for that.

A corner from the left found Wood at the back post and the sub headed home from close range to seal a first win in 12 for Burnley. Late on Williams was shown a straight red card for elbowing Barnes in the face as he waited for a free kick to compound Everton’s misery.

Premier League Preview: Burnley vs. Everton

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  • Burnley won 1-0 away on Oct. 1
  • Clubs separated by three points
  • Everton leads all-time 48W-29D-34L

The race for seventh in the Premier League pits a surprising top half contender with a club that planned to be much higher on the table (Watch live at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The latter is Everton, and Sam Allardyce‘s men look like his other stops at teams with aspirations: Disappointing. The Toffees have won just two of their last 10 kicks.

[ MORE: MLS Roundtable | Predictions ]

That’s stopped them from catching Burnley, who has not been able to maintain its early season pace. As high as fifth following a Dec. 16 draw, the Clarets have not won since (though Sean Dyche‘s men have posted six draws in 11 matches).

What they’re saying

Sean Dyche on Burnley pride“The journey here is about winning, but what often gets overlooked is the amount of good work done by my staff and the players themselves. Nick (Pope) is a case in example. A very short time ago he was playing at Charlton and they were relegated from the Championship. Now, we read he is being considered for England and a possibility for a World Cup. The work that (Goalkeeping Coach) Billy Mercer has put in, also with Tom Heaton, and all my staff here with players like Michael Keane, Kieran Trippier, Danny Ings, Charlie Austin, Andre Gray and, to bring it up to date with Tarky, Ben Mee and Corky.”

Sam Allardyce on returning defenders Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman““There is no doubt they contribute offensively and defensively. Not just with their passing ability or final-third attacking ability but, certainly from Seamus’ point of view, the added one on top of that is his goals – not just his assists. And Leighton is good on the assists side and penalties. Where we have been a bit light up front is in the number of goals people have scored – anybody who can pick up goals in the rest of our team adds to the tally and can contribute to the results we are looking for, particularly away from home.”

Prediction

The Clarets are due for a win, and would claim a surprising sweep of Everton with a win at home. Might they do it? Sure, but we’ll peg each side for a goal and a point. 1-1.

Burnley 1-1 Man City: Clarets snatch late point

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  • Man City extend lead atop the table to 16 points
  • Burnley just fourth team to take points off City this season
  • Clarets without a win in nine PL games

Burnley battled to a 1-1 draw against Premier League leaders Manchester City at Turf Moor on Saturday, with the Clarets making the most of City’s wasteful finishing.

City took the lead in the first half via a stunner from Danilo, but Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s late equalizer grabbed a point for Burnley.

With the win City briefly extend their leat atop the table to 16 points, while Burnley stay in seventh place.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

City dominated early on with Vincent Kompany going close at the back post, then Ben Mee clearing expertly under pressure at the back post.

The opening goal of the game arrived via a stunner from Danilo as the Brazilian full back curled home a beauty from outside the box following a short corner to make it 1-0.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Burnley responded well to going behind as Mee was found unmarked 12-yards out and volleyed at goal but Ederson saved well.

Mee also had an effort at the back post he couldn’t bundle home, but City looked dangerous on the break as De Bruyne forced a good save from Nick Pope.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

City pressed relentlessly for the second goal at the start of the second half with Sergio Aguero denied by Matt Lowton‘s block and going close from several short corner kick routines. A beautiful counter from City then saw Aguero tee up Sterling but under pressure he put his shot over.

Burnley hung in their valiantly and Mee had another chance from a set piece situation but couldn’t get enough on his header.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sterling had a glorious chance to wrap up all three points for City as KDB’s killer ball found Kyle Walker who crossed to the back post and unmarked and three yards out, Sterling somehow put the ball wide.

City were punished for that miss as Burnley finished the game strong. First a flowing move saw Aaron Lennon played in and on his first start for the club he smashed a shot on goal which looked destined for the net but Ederson pushed his effort onto the post.

Burnley kept pushing forward and were rewarded late on as Lowton’s long ball forward found Gudmundsson at the back post to slot home and seal a point for the home side.

Burnley 0-1 Manchester United: Martial leads the way

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  • United up to 53 points
  • Martial scores in third-straight
  • Burnley down to eighth
  • Shots even at 12

Anthony Martial scored and Manchester United kept its fifth consecutive clean sheet in all competitions as Manchester United beat Burnley 1-0 on Saturday at Turf Moor.

United moves nine points shy of Man City before the leaders host Newcastle on Saturday.

Burnley was game, but is now winless in eight league matches to slip eighth on the table.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A first half which provided nearly nothing was mercifully changed almost 10 minutes into the second half, when Martial fooled Nick Pope with a laser shot from the edge of the 18.

Burnley had plenty of chances to level it, in particular when no one could get on the end of Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s inviting ball through the 18.

Jesse Lingard saw a late chance to pad the lead stymied by a Ben Mee block, and Pope denied Martial in the 88th.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]