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Greatest managerial lineup in Premier League history will see philosophies clash

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No league in soccer history has ever been blessed with this many world-class managers all at the same time.

Ever.

[ MORE: Every PL season preview ]

Ahead of the 2016-17 Premier League season kicking off, much of the talk has been about how the men in the dugouts will succeed rather than the focus being on the players they pick to go out on the pitch.

When you sift through the 20 managers in the PL this season, it’s easy to understand why.

In no particular order Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, Mauricio PochettinoAntonio ConteArsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola will all be managing in the Premier League.

Oh yeah, did we mention Slaven BilicRonald KoemanClaudio Ranieri and Eddie Howe will also be around after overseeing stunning campaigns in 2015-16?

[ MORE: Ranking top 10 players in each position

And, just to cap it off, there’s plenty of intrigue around new boys Claude Puel and Walter Mazzarri who’ve had plenty of success in Europe, plus David Moyes is back and Aitor Karanka and Sean Dyche will fancy their chances of solidifying their newly-promoted teams in the PL. Then there’s Hull City, who have yet to appoint a manager but Sir Alex Ferguson‘s former assistant manager Mike Phelan will take charge for their PL opener and then go from there.

Who have I left out? Some of the more unfashionable names but they are shrewd tacticians who have got the best from their resources: Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, Francesco Guidolin and Mark Hughes.

This is insane. No wonder Wenger called this season’s lineup a “world championship of managers” as all-conquering Guardiola arrives as the messiah following domination with Barcelona and Bayern Munich and Conte also lands on English soil for the first time after excelling with Italy and Juventus.

The charisma levels are on overload. The twisting subplots are plentiful. The tactical ingenuity is at an all-time high.

Quite simply we are about to witness a managerial battle unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - JULY 16: Head coach of Chelsea Antonio Conte gestures during an friendly match between SK Rapid Vienna and Chelsea F.C. at Allianz Stadion on July 16, 2016 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)

Of course, whether or not a team wins has to do with performances out on the pitch from the players themselves but all of the prep work, the tactics and the decisions on how each team will play comes from the main men.

Styles will clash. Emotions will run high. Technical areas will become war zones.

Pep Guardiola vs. Jose Mourinho in Manchester derbies following their heated battles in Spain with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Arsene Wenger vs. Jose Mourinho will see their bitter rivalry renewed. Arsene Wenger vs. Mauricio Pochettino in the north London derby. Jurgen Klopp vs. Ronald Koeman in the Merseyside derby. Jurgen Klopp vs. Jose Mourinho as two new-look Liverpool and Manchester United sides clash. Jose Mourinho vs. erm… Jose Mourinho because that’s just the way he is.

My head is spinning.

The battles will intrigue. The intensity will be unbearable. The tactical awareness will be astuter than ever before.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 13: Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool and Arsene Wenger Manager of Arsenal look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on January 13, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

One of the most exciting things about this conglomeration of the game’s brightest minds all in one place is that each of their managerial style’s is very different.

From the high-pressing of Pochettino to the rapid counters of Klopp to the fluidity of Wenger and the directness of Mourinho, from the defensive solidity of Conte to the dominant possession game of Guardiola, however you view the best way to play the game, it’s highly-likely a manager in the PL will set his team up to do just that this season.

The Premier League is often a gift that keeps giving. With world-record $120 million players performing in front of packed out stadiums and high drama, it is held up as the beacon for what every major league wants to become in the modern era.

Then, this happened. Something nobody would’ve ever predicted but something that is happening before our very eyes.

Never before has any league at any time in history had such a talented group of managers at its disposal.

There can be only one winner and Klopp, Mourinho, Pochettino, Conte, Wenger, Guardiola and even Ranieri believe they should be lifting the title this season.

Let the fun begin in dugouts up and down the land.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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Matchweek 16 is here in the Premier League as things are heating up very nicely ahead of the festive season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

While you can download the NBC Sports Predictor app (below) and play the Premier League Pick ‘Em game yourself to predict the scores and win the prizes.

DOWNLOAD NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Tottenham 3-0 Burnley – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM] 

West Ham 1-3 Arsenal – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Newcastle 1-1 Southampton – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]

Man City 2-2 Man United – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]

Watford 1-2 Crystal Palace – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM


“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

 

Everton 2-1 Chelsea – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Aston Villa 2-2 Leicester City – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Brighton 2-1 Wolves – (Sunday 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Norwich 2-0 Sheffield United – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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Matchweek 16 of the Premier League season is here, as the busy festive season has well and truly arrived.

Get in there.

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The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today, Sky Sports News, NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Saturday
7:30 a.m. ET: Everton v. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Bournemouth v. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Tottenham v. Burnley – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Watford v. Crystal Palace – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Man City v. Man United – NBC [STREAM]

Sunday
9 a.m. ET: Aston Villa v. Leicester City – NBCSN [STREAM]
9 a.m. ET: Newcastle United v. Southampton  – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
11:30 a.m. ET: Brighton v. Wolves – NBCSN [STREAM]
9 a.m. ET: Norwich City v. Sheffield United – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Monday
3 p.m. ET: West Ham v. Arsenal – NBCSN [STREAM]

The 2 Robbies podcast: Analyzing chaos at Everton, Arsenal

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In the latest The 2 Robbies podcast, Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle discuss Everton’s decision to sack Marco Silva after their 5-2 defeat to Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby (0:50), Arsenal’s shocking defeat at home to Brighton (14:00) and Tottenham’s 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford thanks to a brace from Marcus Rashford (22:25).

Plus, thoughts on Gabriel Jesus‘ long-term role at Manchester City (29:00), Jamie Vardy and Leicester City can’t stop winning (35:10), back to winning ways for Chelsea (39:00) and the Underappreciated Performances of the week (43:40).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Projected lineups: Man City v. Man United

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A feisty Manchester Derby takes center stage at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) as Man City and Man United need the points for their respective title and top four bids.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

With key players missing or injury doubts for both teams, there is plenty of debate about who will line up for Man City and Man United.

Below we look at how Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should set up their teams and give our own analysis of the situation.


Man City

—– Ederson —–

— Walker — Stones — FernandinhoAngelino

—- Rodri —- Silva —-

—- Bernardo —- De Bruyne —- Sterling —-

—– Jesus —–


Man United

—– De Gea —–

— Wan-Bissaka — Lindelof — Maguire — Young —

—- McTominay —- Fred —-

— James — Lingard — Rashford —

—– Martial —–


Analysis: Man City have a few big decisions to make in defense, with either John Stones or Nicolas Otamendi expected to partner Fernandinho at center back, with Otamendi likely to get the nod after playing against Burnley in midweek. At full back Pep has been rotating his options with Angelino maybe edging ahead of Mendy, while Walker seems to be winning the battle with Cancelo. For now. Midfield picks itself with Rodri the holder and Kevin De Bruyne playing ahead of him, but the big decisions is who out of David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan starts alongside Rodri. Up top Riyad Mahrez is pushing Bernardo Silva for a start with Raheem Sterling on the other flank and Gabriel Jesus continuing up top with Aguero out injured.

Given their injury issues, which have eased a little, Man United’s lineup choices are a little simpler. De Gea will have Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire and probably Young ahead of him, while McTominay’s return in midfield is a big boost and he will likely line up with Fred. Up top they are sweating on the fitness of Anthony Martial who missed the midweek win against Tottenham and is questionable to start, but Rashford, Lingard and James are expected to start behind either Martial or Mason Greenwood.