Week 6: Top Premier League storylines – London calling, Euro-hangover

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As we head into Week 6 of the Premier League season, let’s take a quick look around at the top five storylines this weekend.

[ MORE: Mourinho – “I am a fantastic manager, win or lose” ]

With a huge London derby between Chelsea and Arsenal taking center stage on Saturday, tricky tests for Manchester United and Manchester City following disappointing defeats in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, plus three teams still desperate to get their first win under their belt, expect plenty of drama.

[ MORE: Ronaldo heading to United, PSG, MLS?

Here’s five things you need to look out for.

London Calling

All eyes will be on Stamford Bridge on Saturday as Chelsea host Arsenal (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) in a massive clash between two title contenders. Jose Mourinho is feeling confident ahead of this one, despite his side losing three of their opening five PL games this season — that’s the same number they lost throughout their entire title-winning campaign last season — and plenty of critics circling around the reigning champions. Chelsea dispatched a lackluster Maccabi Tel Aviv outfit in their UEFA Champions League opener on Wednesday, with many of Mourinho’s fringe players impressing to give the Portuguese boss a selection headache ahead of the derby.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

As for Wenger, he wishes he had that problem as his side lost 2-1 away at Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday and had Olivier Giroud sent off. Wenger has never beaten Mourinho in league play, and if Chelsea win on Saturday they could be just three points off the top four. Would that mean the crisis is over in West London? Either way, England’s capital will be divided come lunch time on Saturday local time in what has been an incredibly feisty encounter in years gone by.

No time for Euro-hangover, United and City 

Both Manchester clubs suffered tough defeats in midweek as United and City squandered leads in the Champions League. United lost 2-1 away at PSV Eindhoven in a game which was marred by Luke Shaw’s horrific double fracture to his right leg. Louis Van Gaal had raised concerns before the PSV defeat about whether or not his side is ready to make waves in the UCL, and many are asking that same question when it comes to them in the PL this season. Despite having David De Gea back, United will be sweating on the fitness of captain Wayne Rooney this weekend as Van Gaal travels to face his fellow Dutchman Ronald Koeman at Southampton.

[ WATCH LIVE: Stream every PL game via Live Extra ]

Last season Saints beat United 1-0 at Old Trafford and lost 2-1 at St. Mary’s, despite dominating large swathes of the latter game. You just feel like a big home win would kick-start Saints’ season and this could be the perfect time to play United. As for City, Manuel Pellegrini isn’t panicking after their late collapse against Juventus at home in the UCL, but City have put themselves in a tough spot to start off with in Europe once again. They host West Ham who have three wins from five under new boss Slaven Bilic and in their two away games so far they’ve beaten Arsenal 2-0 and Liverpool 3-0. Surely they can’t start off their away schedule by making it three wins on the spin and adding City to their list of sensational scalps?

Three teams still searching

Stoke City, Newcastle United and Sunderland are the only three teams yet to record a win in the PL. All three will be very confident of grabbing their first three points of the season on Saturday, but if they don’t, man, they will be getting jittery. Stoke host Leicester City at home and, on paper, they should beat the Foxes. But Claudio Ranieiri’s side have yet to be beaten this season and are coming off the back of an incredible comeback win at home against Aston Villa. With Bojan close to returning, the Potters need the Spaniard to start and have a big impact. Speaking of having an impact, not many of Newcastle’s players had a positive one during their dismal defeat at West Ham on Monday.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Steve McClaren has a big job on his hands to turn around their fortunes and perhaps its too early to say this home game against Watford this weekend is a must-win, but if they lose, the boo boys will be out in force at St James’ Park. Then, there is Sunderland. Despite an improved display against Tottenham last Sunday, Dick Advocaat’s side went down 1-0, but if they play like that away at Bournemouth on Saturday, expect them to bag their first win of the season. Look out for Jermain Defoe to play the hero on his return to his former club.

Europa League complaints

Every season around about this time, the Thursday night football kicks in. This year, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are the PL’s reps in the Europa League, UEFA’s much-maligned second-tier continental tournament. Brendan Rodgers has left six first-team players at home for their trip to Bordeaux on Thursday, while Mauricio Pochettino will likely rotate his squad for Spurs’ clash against Qarabag.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Thursday-Sunday schedule will become a grind between now and the festive period for Liverpool and Spurs, and both teams will be relieved they have home games on Sunday following Thursday night action. However, Liverpool face Norwich, who will be buoyed by their big win against Bournemouth last weekend, while Spurs play Palace who sit in sixth place after a brilliant start to the current campaign. Let’s see what Rodgers and Pochettino have to say about the Europa League after Sunday’s games.

Martinez, Monk reunited

When you scanned the schedule for this weekend (if you haven’t, here is the link) Everton vs. Swansea City may have not jumped out at you at a first glance. But it should have. Both Everton and Swansea have enjoyed superb starts to the new season, with the Toffees coming off the back of that 3-1 shellacking of Chelsea at Goodison last weekend. Swansea’s progress under young manager Garry Monk came to shuddering halt with an away defeat to Watford last week, but overall the Swans sit one place being Everton and level on points, as Monk is working his magic with plenty of shrewd signings and building on the past success at the Liberty Stadium.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Toffees boss Roberto Martinez made Monk his captain when he managed Swansea from 2007-09, and the duo have a long history together which has seen them both play for and then go on to manage Swansea. Martinez and Monk have similar philosophies and at times both Swansea and Everton are the best teams to watch in the league. Expect plenty of possession and clever flicks and tricks at Goodison on Saturday as two old Swans collide.

Leicester – Burnley: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Leicester – Burnley: Brendan Rodgers seeks to become just the 23rd manager to win 100 games in the Premier League, and becoming the fourth-fastest Brit to reach the mark, when Leicester City host Burnley at the King Power Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 2 pm ET, on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).


Rodgers moved one step closer to his century of PL wins last weekend when the Foxes began their 2020-21 campaign with a 3-0 thrashing of newly promoted West Bromwich Albion. Burnley, on the other hand, are set for their season debut this weekend after their opening-day clash with Manchester United was rescheduled.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Leicester – Burnley this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.

Team news: Leicester – Burnley (INJURY REPORT)

Leicester will be missing three players Ricardo Pereira (knee), Jonny Evans (thigh), Filip Benkovic (groin) — with absolutely certainty, plus James Maddison (hip) is unlikely to feature and Wes Morgan (thigh) is expected to face a late fitness test to determine his availability.

Meanwhile, Burnley aren’t expecting to have Johann Berg Gudmundsson (knee) or Jack Cork (ankle).

What they’re saying: Leicester – Burnley

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, on transfer target Cengiz Under: “He’s a very, very good player. There have been negotiations with the club [Roma] and we’re hopeful there. We need a different kind of attacking player to help out at the top end of the pitch. It’s clear we have pace and power, but I feel we need more football in there.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche, on the club’s desperate transfer approach: “Lastminute.com — [it] started back in the day of Charlie Austin, two days before the first game of the season. There are many different ways that clubs operate. It is very difficult, it is tricky, but it’s the reality of it. I’ve been here eight years. This is not new news. I’ve been saying this for three years at least, saying we’ve got to stretch, we’ve got to pre-plan. But you can only offer these opinions. I don’t sign the checks, I can assure you.”

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Leicester (-165) are heavy betting favorites with Burnley (+460) widely expected to simply roll over and concede the three points up for grabs. Even the draw (+290) is though a bridge perhaps too far for the Clarets.

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Prediction: Leicester – Burnley

Leicester managed to shake off the rust and disappointment that was the end of the 2019-20 season (just two wins from nine games during “Project Restart”) and win going away last weekend. On the other hand, Burnley finished with just two losses from their final nine games, and won four of them. We’ll see if either side is in the midst of a trend, or simply a blip on the radar. Leicester 2-1 Burnley.

How to watch Leicester – Burnley stream and start time

Kickoff: 2 pm ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Newcastle – Brighton: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Newcastle v Brighton: A pair of sides that impressed on the opening weekend of the 2020-21 Premier League season — but only one of them with anything to show for it — will meet at St. James’ Park on Sunday (Watch live at 9 am ET, online via Peacock).


Newcastle United were far and away the better side in their season-opening victory away to West Ham United last weekend, while Brighton looked the better part of Chelsea’s equals for 54 minutes but ultimately fell to a 3-1 defeat at the Amex Stadium.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Newcastle v Brighton this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.

Team news: Newcastle v Brighton (INJURY REPORT)

Newcastle will be without five players — Matty Longstaff (thigh), Martin Dubravka (ankle), Fabian Schar (shoulder), Paul Dummett (thigh), Dwight Gayle (knee) — leaving Steve Bruce with an increasingly thin squad.

Jose Iquierdo (knee), Florian Andone (knee) and Christian Walton (ankle) have all been ruled out for Sunday, with rising star Ben White (ankle) likely to face a late fitness test after picking up a minor injury last week.

What they’re saying

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce, on starting with a win: “I’m like everybody else, we all like to get off to a start and we couldn’t have had a better week in terms of results. The players have hit the ground running, which was always part of the reason why we went after who we went after. We’ve got a chance to get off to an outstanding start.”

Brighton manager Graham Potter, on Newcastle: “Newcastle will be strong. They were worthy winners at West Ham and they will be a tough test for us. Impressive, the business they have done. They have added to the squad and they will be really strong. Everyone knows what Andy Carroll brings to the team and physically he is very strong, and aerially he is strong. Him and [Callum] Wilson will be a strong partnership.”

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

There’s almost nothing to separate Newcastle (+160) from Brighton (+185) as the oddsmakers see Sunday’s clash a near-tossup. Even the draw (+210) isn’t far out of line with either side winning.

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At the risk of placing too much importance upon a game in week no. 2, this one has the feel of an important litmus test for Newcastle. West Ham have been chaotic for quite some time now, but Brighton, despite finishing 15th last season, have appeared far more stable and trending upward under Potter. They’re likely a mid-table side this season, and Newcastle could be, too. In the end, it ends Newcastle 1-1 Brighton.

How to watch Newcastle v Brighton stream and start time

Kickoff: 9 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Europa League qualifying – playoff round draw results

Europa League draw
Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images
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Europa League draw results: Tottenham Hotspur will be rather pleased with their draw for the final round of UEFA Europa League qualifying — should they advance to reach it, of course — as they plod toward the group stage.

[ MORE: Is Gareth Bale’s return to Tottenham a good idea? ]

After surviving their brush with disaster and embarrassment on Thursday, Jose Mourinho’s men will next be away to Macedonian side Shkendija in the third round of qualifying next Thursday. Should they come on top there, Tottenham will then host either Russian side Rostov or Israeli outfit Maccabi Haifa the first week of October. The winner of that single-leg showdown will qualify for the group stage.

Elsewhere, Serie A giant AC Milan, who face Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt next week, were handed a slightly tougher draw: away to Turkish giant Besiktas or Portuguese side Rio Ave.

[ MORE: Transfer news: Diogo Jota to Liverpool; Yedlin to Besiktas ]

Scottish rivals Celtic and Rangers are also still alive in their quests to reach the group stage and learned their potential future opponents in the Europa League draw. Celtic, the nine-time reigning champions of Scotland, will face Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina) or Buducnost (Montenegro) if they get past Riga (Latvia) first. Rangers will see Galatasaray or Hajduk Split (Croatia) if they advance past Dutch side Willem II next weekn.

Notable Europa League playoff round matchups

Shkendija/ Tottenham Hotspur v Rostov/Maccabi Haifa
Besiktas/Rio Ave v AC Milan/Bodo/Glimt
Sarajevo/Buducnost Podgorica v Riga/Celtic
Willem II/Rangers v Galatasaray/Hajduk Split
Rosenborg/Alanyaspor v Mura/PSV Eindhoven
St. Gallen/AEK Athens v Wolfsburg/ Desna Chernihiv
Sporting CP/ Aberdeen v LASK/ Dunajska Streda

Everton – West Brom: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Everton – West Brom: The Toffees and Baggies are set to kick off weekend no. 2 of the 2020-21 Premier League season on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 am ET, online via Peacock).


Everton were one of the PL’s most impressive sides last weekend, as they began their campaign with a 1-0 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur. Most impressively, though, was the instant impact of three newcomers — James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure — who slotted into the team and played important parts in collecting three points on their debuts.

As for West Bromwich Albion, returning to life in the PL brought something of a rude awakening in the form of a 3-0 home defeat to Leicester City. After two seasons in the EFL Championship, West Brom undeniably have their work cut out for them if they’re to stay up this season.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Everton – West Brom this Saturday with team news, odds, stream link and more.

Team news: Everton – West Brom (INJURY REPORT)

Everton will be without four players — Mason Holgate (ankle), Cenk Tosun (knee), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (calf), Fabian Delph (calf) — none of whom were available for selection to the 18-man squad a week ago.

West Brom will be missing Danish forward Kenneth Zohore (calf), who also missed out on the opening weekend.

What they’re saying

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti, on his squad’s depth: “They are experienced players, all three of them in different ways, James, Allan have international experience. Doucoure has played really well in the Premier League. They have brought more confidence to their teammates. We have a more competitive squad. It is difficult to do the lineup, difficult to make the bench and the most difficult part is to tell the player to stay home and watch the game on TV. But if we want to be a more competitive team we have to have competition in the squad.”

West Brom manager Slaven Bilic, on wanting more signings: “We would love to do it. It is important we bring a different type of striker to what we have into the club. We are trying to get it done but it’s not easy, but it is instrumental for us. Then the next phase is to improve the team from last season. We got Button the goalkeeper, we got Kipre from Wigan – two good additions to our squad. We’ve got [Branislav] Ivanovic, and now [Conor] Gallagher, and we’re hoping and trying to get a couple more. It’s not a secret — we have good numbers of strikers, but we’re looking to add a bit more quality.”

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Everton (-190) are, predictably, heavy favorites for this one, with West Brom checking in at +525. The draw is currently sitting +320, if you’re a firm believer that West Brom stand a chance.

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It’s a mighty tough schedule to start the season for West Brom, as they go from last season’s fifth-place finishers to a side with similar aspirations this season. For as long as James and Co., stay healthy and fit, Everton look set to be a handful and a half for bottom-half sides like West Brom. They will have to wait another week for their first points — and their first goal. Everton 2-0 West Brom.

How to watch Everton – West Brom stream and start time

Kickoff: 7:30 am ET Saturday
Online: Stream via Peacock