Less than 48 hours until the big one — Arsenal versus Manchester City, on Monday. But first comes Sunday with a pair of Premier League fixtures featuring a trio of teams currently dreaming of a top-four finish this season.
[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup ]
Watford, West Ham United and Liverpool could all go, or stay, as high as 7th in the PL table, while a win would catapult Swansea City out of the relegation zone and back into safety.
Watford vs. Liverpool — 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra
Liverpool are the obvious top-four dreamers set to take the field at Vicarage Road on Sunday, but let’s not forget about newly promoted Watford, who you’ll be thoroughly shocked to realize currently sit seventh in the PL, two spots and a point ahead of the Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds. The Hornets have won three straight league games ahead of Sunday’s clash, which makes them the third-most in-form side (Leicester City and Crystal Palace, obviously) in the league over the last month. Meanwhile, Liverpool are winless in their last two (Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion) after winning two in a row (Manchester City and Swansea City).
The injury list remains quite long for Klopp’s side, which will once again be without Daniel Sturridge (hamstring), James Milner (calf), Dejan Lovren (knee), Danny Ings (knee), Joe Gomez (knee) and, perhaps, Mamadou Sakho (knee). Meanwhile, Watford are mostly healthy, with their only two players listed with injuries, Valon Behrami (calf) and Sebastian Prodl (calf), hoping to return to the side on Sunday. Liverpool and Watford haven’t played in the league since 2007, when the Reds won 3-0 away from home. The last time Watford beat Liverpool in the league, the year was 1999 (four PL meetings ago).
Swansea City vs. West Ham United — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra
The side that separates Watford and Liverpool in the table, West Ham, is away to a struggling, manager-less Swansea City side on Sunday. Since Garry Monk was fired, the Swans have slipped into the relegation zone, where they currently sit 17th in the league, three points from safety. Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins has since said the club “will not rush” to appoint a new manager. The Hammers sit 8th in the league, just four points behind Tottenham Hotspur for fourth. Slaven Bilic‘s side is winless in its last six league games (four draws, two losses), a run which has dropped them from the top-three to very nearly mid-table.
On the injury front, Swansea will likely be without midfielder Jonjo Shelvey (calf), who was injured in training this week. For West Ham, the once-potent attacking quartet of Dimitri Payet (ankle), Manuel Lanzini (thigh), Victor Moses (hamstring) and Diafra Sakho (thigh) will be missing once again, as will defender Winston Reid (hamstring). The two sides drew 1-1 in this fixture last season, and West Ham are unbeaten in five PL meetings with Swansea, having last lost in 2012, 3-0, at the Liberty Stadium, site of Sunday’s clash.