Premier League Sunday Preview: Arsenal host Everton, Aston Villa travel to Fulham

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After plenty of big sides slipped up on Saturday in the Premier League, Arsenal have the perfect chance to extend their lead at the top of the table on Sunday.

But it won’t be easy.

Everton are the opponents for Arsene Wenger’s side and the Toffees have already beaten Chelsea and Manchester United this season, as they look to make it into the top four in Roberto Martinez’ first season charge at Goodison Park.

(MORE: Premier League Roundup – Upsets galore as Manchester United, Chelsea lose)

Elsewhere in England’s capital on Sunday, Fulham host Aston Villa at Craven Cottage with Rene Meulensteen looking for his first win since taking charge from Martin Jol.

Let’s break down both games, which you can watch live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

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Fulham have had a nightmare season… can a win vs. Villa help turn that around?

Fulham vs. Aston Villa – 8:30am ET, live on NBCSN

after six-straight defeats in the league, Fulham are second from bottom and sit three points from safety after sacking manager Martin Jol last weekend. New boss Rene Meulensteen has one heck of a job on his hands if he’s going to plug the holes and stop the Cottagers sinking ship as they battle relegation. After tough tests against the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United, this game presents a real chance for Fulham to not only stop their losing streak but also grab a massively important three points.

Paul Lambert’s Villa are on a roll though and haven’t lost in five games with their plethora of talented strikers — Gabriel Agbonlahor, Libor Kozak, Andreas Weimann — helping them to beat Southampton 3-2 on Wednesday. Will Dimitar Berbatov and Fulham’s other talented stars finally roll their sleeves up and dig themselves out of trouble? A big win on Sunday against Villa could be the catalyst for an upturn in fortunes… but it won’t be easy.

Arsenal vs. Everton – 11am ET, live on NBCSN

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Can the Gunners extend their lead at the top? Or will they come unstuck against the Toffees?

The Gunners now a win would extend their lead to seven points at the top of the table and put them 15 points clear of Manchester United. Do they need any more motivation than that? Arsene Wenger’s side have been in dazzling form the entire season but Everton will stretch them to their limit, as Roberto Martinez’ side turn up full of swagger after wining at Old Trafford for the first time in 21 years on Wednesday. The Toffees love to get the ball down and play, a style Arsenal are the masters of, but their direct approach may hurt Arsenal as Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku could give Per Mertsesacker and Laurent Koscielny a terrible afternoon at the back for the Gunners.

But Arsenal are flying-high for a reason, with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere they possess midfielder who can unlock any defense. Plus Olivier Giroud is as clinical as they come in the box. An intriguing battle between two teams who love to attack and entertain awaits, make sure you don’t miss this one.

Video: Ronaldo scores fourth goal, gives Portugal early lead

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He has four goals in less than two matches, and Portugal is off to another flying start courtesy of their star forward.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Portuguese a 1-0 lead against Morocco in the fourth minute after brilliantly heading home a corner kick.

The Real Madrid star gave Portugal a similar spark at the beginning of their 3-3 draw against Spain in their first Group B match when Ronaldo drew, and scored a penalty kick inside of the opening three minutes.

Is there anything this man cannot do?

Reports: Alli unlikely to play in England’s second Group G match

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The Three Lions may not have taken all good news away from the team’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in their World Cup opener.

[ MORE: Russia races past Egypt, likely en route to next round ]

Several reports are suggesting that England will likely be without Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli in their second Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

Alli was forced out of England’s opener with a thigh strain, which gave manager Gareth Southgate the decision to put in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There isn’t a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return to the pitch, but his absence will definitely present a major question for Southgate heading into the rest of group play.

Without Alli in the starting XI, it’ll likely be between Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to fill the role where Alli normally sits.

In the case of Lingard, who started against Tunisia, the England boss would have to bring in another starter if Southgate opts to have the Red Devils attacker sit in as the number 10.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.