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Top Premier League storylines: Week 18

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The title is looking more and more like it’s heading to Manchester, so will Tottenham be able to slow the Premier League leaders on Saturday?

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Here are the four biggest storylines ahead of this weekend’s action.

Can anyone stop the Cityzens?

Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

Nobody has found a way to halt Pep Guardiola‘s side yet this season in PL play, so why would that change this weekend? City remain unbeaten through 17 matches, and while Spurs enter the weekend unbeaten in its last four, Mauricio Pochettino and Co. have their work cut out. The City attack, which has scored 52 goals this season, has shown no signs slowing down during the first four-and-a-half months of play, giving Tottenham a big test defensively. Harry Kane and his 12 goals will surely have a say in the get together, but Spurs has been lacking thus far in another go-to finisher.

Will the Toffees keep rolling under Big Sam?

Everton vs. Swansea City — 3 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

It’s been quite the turnaround recently at Goodison Park, and Everton has the chance to extend its unbeaten streak to six games on Monday. Sam Allardyce has brought life to the Toffees as of late, with Everton scoring 11 goals over the last five matches.

Foxes aim to climb higher, while Palace shoots for safety

Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace — 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

The Foxes have found their footing this season, and dare I say there are some glimpses of the team that won the title two years ago? Since Leicester’s 2-0 defeat to Man City, the Foxes have looked the part of a top-tier PL side, winning four of five matches, including victories over Tottenham and Burnley. Meanwhile, Palace has made the relegation battle a very intriguing one, as Roy Hodgson and Co. sit just a point inside the bottom three. Amazingly, Palace is unbeaten in seven of its last eight matches, but the club remains in 18th place.

Clarets aim for third consecutive victory

Brighton vs. Burnley — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Sports Gold (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

The Clarets don’t boast a bonafide goalscorer, but Burnley looks like a well-oiled machine as Sean Dyche‘s side sits on the edge of the top four. Although the side likely won’t be pulling off a Leicester-sided feat in 2017/18, what the Clarets are accomplishing is quite amazing given the squad currently in place. Brighton has gone through its share of struggles recently, going winless in its last six matches, and scoring just three goals in that span. They’ll likely have a hard time breaking past Burnley’s tough backline.

Newcastle 0-1 Everton: Rooney wins it for the Toffees

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  • Wayne Rooney scores only goal of the game
  • Everton unbeaten in four PL games
  • Newcastle have lost 7 of last 8
  • Shelvey sent off late on

Everton beat Newcastle United 1-0 at St James’ Park on Wednesday as Sam Allardyce remains unbeaten since taking charge of the Toffees.

Wayne Rooney popped up with the only goal of the game (his fifth in his last four games in the PL) in the first half as Newcastle hit both posts but failed to really get going as Everton held on for all three points and Jonjo Shelvey was sent off in stoppage time.

With the win Everton are in 10th place on 22 points, while Newcastle are just one point above the relegation zone as their former boss Allardyce inflicted another defeat on Rafael Benitez’s men.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Cuco Martina brought down USMNT man DeAndre Yedlin on the edge of the box early on with Benitez asking for a penalty kick, but the foul was adjudged to be outside the box.

Everton went close as Martina whipped in a delightful cross but Dominic Calvert-Lewin couldn’t get on the end of it.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Newcastle then broke with Matt Ritchie smashing the post with a fine effort but Everton went ahead after a howler from their goalkeeper.

A cross from the right was headed towards goal by Aaron Lennon and Darlow made a real hash of his save with Rooney popping up to prod home and put Everton 1-0 up with his 15th goal against Newcastle in his career.

Mikel Merino hit the post from 30 yards out as Newcastle went close to an equalizer in the first half but Everton were good value for their lead at half time.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Newcastle fought back in the second half as Florin Lejuene’s header just missed Mo Diame at the back post but Everton always looked dangerous on the break.

The home side huffed and puffed but Big Sam sent on another center back in Phil Jagielka to see the game it. It worked a treat.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Late on Shelvey was sent off for a lunging tackle as the Magpies’ misery was complete.

Premier League notes: Wanyama, Bolasie return after long layoffs, Sakho injured

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Two Premier League clubs saw a pair of players return to the field after long spells on the sidelines.

Tottenham revealed that Victor Wanyama took part in training on Monday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in late August, which has kept him off the field since then. Wanyama started in both of Tottenham’s first two fixtures of the season before the injury.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

At the same time in the northwest of England, Yannick Bolasie returned to the field for Everton’s reserves for the first time since suffering a torn ACL last December against Manchester United. Everton manager Sam Allardyce hinted recently that Bolasie could even make the first team subs bench before the end of the calendar year as he continues his rehab.

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The 2 Robbies podcast: Man City steps towards the title, Merseyside recap

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect Derby Day, where Man City set the Premier League single season all time consecutive winning streak against rivals Man United, Jurgen Klopp had a bad day at the office against the blue half of Merseyside and Arsenal stutter again away from home.

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

Liverpool 1-1 Everton: An absolute heist

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  • Reds boast 79 percent possession
  • Liverpool holds 22-3 shot advantage
  • Salah stays hot with goal
  • Rooney converts PK equalizer

Wayne Rooney‘s was Everton’s hero in his first Merseyside Derby in a decade, as a shocking turn of events saw the dominated Toffees claim a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

Mohamed Salah scored his 19th Liverpool goal in the first half, and Everton couldn’t find a chance for most of the match.

The draw moves Liverpool back into fourth with 30 points, while Everton moves 10th with 19.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rested Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino to start the match.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The tackles and energy were rampant under cartoonish large snowflakes as Liverpool controlled the ball but met blue resistance at the back.

Yet how long could Everton be expected to hold out as the Reds passed the ball around the outside of the 18?

About 42 minutes and change. Mohamed Salah cut into the left of the box and curled another pretty ball — these may need to be trademarked soon — beyond a flying Jordan Pickford and inside the far post.

Everton didn’t have any answers for the Reds’ onslaught, though the goals would not continue for some time at Anfield.

Would a rare Everton set piece in the 73rd minute provide a shock equalizer to punish Liverpool for a lack of finish? Nope: A corner kick was punched away by Simon Mignolet.

The fortunes did change, though, when Dejan Lovren‘s shove of Dominic Calvert-Lewin was deemed enough for an Everton penalty by referee Craig Pawson.

Rooney would not miss, fittingly providing a shocking equalizer in his first Merseyside Derby since arriving home rom Manchester United.

Pickford made a fine save late as subs Coutinho and Firmino attempted to find a winner.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]