PL Sunday preview: Manchester Derby, Tyne-Wear Derby, Spurs’ title chances

0 Comments

A pair of local derbies — one with top-four implications, the other a relegation six-pointer with two months remaining in the season — a title hopeful needing a win to stay in the race, and mid-table battle with European qualification implications … Sunday’s four-game slate of Premier League action has a little bit of everything.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Newcastle United vs. Sunderland — 9:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

The Tyne-Wear rivalry has been an exercise in futility in recent years, as both Newcastle and Sunderland flounder in the relegation zone for much of the year, only to escape at the tail end of the season. In the on-field derby, it’s been little more than a training exercise for the Black Cats, who have beaten the Magpies in six straight PL meetings by a combined score of 13-1 beginning in April 2013. Newcastle’s last derby win came nine tries ago, on Aug. 20, 2011. In their first meeting of the 2015-16 season, back in October, Sunderland triumphed at the Stadium of Light, 3-0.

Newcastle (24 points) currently sit 19th in the league table, with Sunderland a single point and spot ahead of them. Norwich City (28 points) currently occupy 17th and the safety that comes along with it. On the injury front, Newcastle will be without Paul Dummett (hamstring), while Papiss Cisse (knock), Fabricio Coloccini (calf) and Chancel Mbemba (heel) will all face late fitness tests to be available. As for Sunderland, Lee Cattermole (concussion) and Jeremain Lens (groin) are expected to return to action.

Southampton vs. Liverpool — 9:30 a.m. ET, on Live Extra

After knocking off Manchester United in the Europa League on Thursday, spirits are at an all-time high under first-year manager Jurgen Klopp, which makes Sunday’s trip to St. Mary’s Stadium a real banana skin-in-waiting. The two sides have already drawn at Anfield this season, 1-1 back in October, and they find themselves now separated only be goal differential (Saints’ +8 to Liverpool’s +6), sitting in eighth and ninth. James Milner will be suspended for Liverpool, while Roberto Firmino (undisclosed) and Alberto Moreno (hamstring) are both doubts to be available.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Leicester go 8 points clear again ]

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Bournemouth — 12 p.m. ET, on Live Extra

With Leicester City’s 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday, Tottenham once again sit eight points back as the side most likely to spoil the Foxes’ unlikely title triumph (it’s still unbelievably to weird to type that). When Spurs and Bournemouth met for the first time this season, back in October, the final score was 5-1 in favor of the visitors. Jan Vertonghen (knee) is still a week or two away from returning for Spurs, while Eric Dier is a slight doubt for Sunday with a slight knock. Alongside Bournemouth’s season-long injuries, Harry Arter (achilles) will undergo a late fitness test to determine his status for Sunday.

Manchester City vs. Manchester United — 12 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

Sunday will mark the 171st installment of the Manchester Derby, as Man City hope to hold off their city rivals in the race for a top-four finish and UEFA Champions League qualification next season. Ahead of Sunday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium, four points is all that separates fourth-place City from sixth-place United in what can only be described as a thoroughly disappointing season for either side.

After winning for straight Manchester Derbies from April 2013 to November 2014, City are winless in the last two after drawing 0-0 in October. On the injury front, Vincent Kompany is once again out for an unknown period of time due to a calf injury, while Kevin DeBruyne (knee) remains out until next month, and Nicolas Otamendi could be available after picking up a knock in the Champions League on Tuesday. As for United, Wayne Rooney (knee), Phil Jones (knee) and Luke Shaw (broken leg) remain out long-term, while Ashley Young (groin) and Ander Herrera (groin) are both questionable.