PL Sunday Preview: North London Derby; Liverpool, Foxes also in action

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Manchester City’s draw on Saturday opens the door for both Liverpool and Arsenal to leap over Pep Guardiola‘s side, while Tottenham looks to remain in the race at the top and stay unbeaten.

Bob Bradley searches for his first Premier League victory on Sunday as Swansea hosts Manchester United, who is coming off of a disappointing loss in the UEFA Europa League to Fenerbahce.

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Arsenal vs. Tottenham — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Spurs has dropped its share of points in the opening 10 matches, but Mauricio Pochettino‘s side has the opportunity to remain unbeaten on Sunday against the Gunners, who look to go atop to the Premier League. Tottenham failed to pick up a win midweek in the UEFA Champions League, falling 1-0 to Bayer Leverkusen, but Sunday’s North London Derby will have to bring out the best in Spurs.

The two clubs have each won once and drawn three times in their last five meetings, leaving very little separating the teams. Arsenal will be led by Alexis Sanchez, who has posted six goals and three assists in the team’s opening 10 matches, while the expected return of Harry Kane could give Spurs a much needed bounce in its step.

Hull City vs. Southampton — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSports.com

After its hot start, Hull has fallen heavily into the relegation zone. Sunday’s task against Southampton won’t be an easy one, particularly considering the Saints’ dominance against Hull over recent seasons. Since 2013, Southampton has defeated Hull by a combined 8-1 scoreline in their four PL matches, all of which have been Saints victories.

Robert Snodgrass is the only current Hull player with more than one goal and Mike Phelan‘s side will definitely need his production if they are to take a result from Southampton.

Liverpool vs. Watford — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The Reds have really begun to click under Jurgen Klopp, and a victory over Watford could potentially put Liverpool at the top of the PL. With the league’s top five sides separated by five points heading into Sunday, every point matters for Klopp’s group, who have won four of its last five fixtures against the Hornets.

Watford will have a lot to handle at Anfield with the talented Liverpool attack to deal with. Phillippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firminho are among the strong attacking core for the Reds, all of whom have notched four goals each in the PL this campaign.

Swansea City vs. Manchester United — 10 a.m. ET, on CNBC and NBCSports.com

Criticisms are beginning to surround Jose Mourinho and Manchester United, and a failed result on Sunday would certainly put the heat on the Portuguese manager once more. Bob Bradley comes into the weekend without a victory since taking over at Swansea, but a win against United would surely change the team’s mentality.

Swansea has won three of the last five times the two teams have faced one another, which could give Bradley and co. some hope as they face Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the host of United talent. That said, the Swans have had difficulty in front of goal this season, with Leroy Fer largely being held to the goalscoring duties for the club. Meanwhile, Ibrahimovic has cooled off significantly for United after notching five goals in his first five matches for the team.

Leicester City vs. West Brom — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The Foxes have dropped off significantly from a season ago, currently sitting 13th in the table, but a meeting with West Brom could be exactly what Claudio Ranieri‘s boys need to get their mojo back. Leicester is unbeaten in its last three meetings with West Brom, with the club having scored eight goals in those matches.

Jamie Vardy has been far from the man that was in the conversation for PL Player of the Year in 2015/16, and his two goals through 10 games must change quickly if Leicester is to mount a comeback this season.

Dele drives Spurs past Norwich City

Tottenham Hotspur match recap and highlights
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A win is a win, even if Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 home defeat of Norwich City was anything but convincing in London.

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Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son scored as Spurs climbed sixth in the table with 34 points.

Teemu Pukki scored for the spot for the Canaries, who remain dead last and six points off the safe spaces.


Three things we learned

1. Spurs can score in 2020: The Premier League had not been kind to Jose Mourinho’s men since a they twice came back in a 2-2 draw with these same Canaries at Carrow Road. In fact, Spurs went 315 Premier League minutes without a goal before Dele got his first half marker on Wednesday. Losses to Saints and Liverpool were joined by a weekend draw at Watford, so this win was vital (Spurs thrice scored over two FA Cup matches versus Middlesbrough).

2. Bounces go the way of Spurs: Norwich can forgive itself for feeling a bit snakebit considering how poor Spurs looked for most of the day. Dele’s shot or cross was deflected high toward the back post, where Heung-min Son was able to nod it over the line from extreme close-up range.

3. Serge Aurier shines: Bad Serge Aurier shows up quite a bit, but the full back had a great day on Wednesday. Aurier had an assist to go with two interceptions and three tackles. He was a menace and stuck into 50-50 battles, earning plaudits on the day.


Erik Lamela was lively early for Spurs, seeing a free kick deflected out for a corner and another chance saved by Tim Krul.

Dele put Spurs ahead when he lunged past Christoph Zimmermann to poke a Serge Aurier cross past Krul. Heung-min Son set up the play with a lay-off to the Ivorian.

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VAR was kind to Todd Cantwell early in the second half, as the sliding midfielder put his studs into Lamela and it was worth only a yellow card.

Spurs youngster Ryan Sessegnon fouled Max Aarons in the 68th to give Norwich a chance from the spot, and a long review did not lead to a reprieve. Pukki beat Lloris low and to the right for 1-1.

But Dele’s cross floated to Son for a back post winner and blushes were spared for Mourinho.

Leicester City smashes West Ham, loses Vardy

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Leicester City snapped a two-match losing run with a 4-1 defeat of West Ham United on Wednesday.

The third-place Foxes move to 48 points, but lost Jamie Vardy and Nampalys Mendy to first half injuries.

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Harvey Barnes and Ricardo Pereira set each other up for goals and Ayoze Perez scored twice late in the win.

Mark Noble scored a penalty of his own for the losing side, whose 23 points are out of the drop zone on goal differential. The Irons have played one fewer match than everyone but Liverpool.


Three things we learned

1. Barnes rides high:  Harvey Barnes is having an uneven season in the Premier League, like many to just turn 22. But the youngster is certainly on an upswing, having scored in a weekend loss at Burnley and collecting a goal and an assist on Wednesday. His six assists lead the Foxes, and may just be the tip of the iceberg.

2. More of the same from West Ham (and that’s not good): David Moyes‘ West Ham looks a lot like Manuel Pellegrini‘s West Ham, which isn’t a surprise given the latter’s better reputation in recent seasons. It’s a draw and two losses since the 4-0 win over an abject Bournemouth, and the Irons’ match-in-hand on the relegation field is against Liverpool (who they still face twice). Felipe Anderson is set to miss a month and that won’t ease concerns either.

3. Vardy injury, defense a big concern: The league’s leading scorer got his leg stretched out on the pitch and was favoring his gluteal area in the first half, eventually limping off the field. Losing him would ask a lot of Kelechi Iheanacho.

The Foxes also would be wrong to overlook another goal conceded, even if it came by controversial penalty. Leicester has conceded in seven of eight league matches,  and five included multiple goals. It’s not a huge worry in a 4-1, but a trend indeed.

Man of the Match: Barnes.


Jamie Vardy cut into the box early but his first touch betrayed him and couldn’t get full power on a shot to Darren Randolph.

The in-form Barnes got the Foxes in front by turning a Ricardo Pereira dinked pass into the open goal.

An injury to Nampalys Mendy accelerated the return of Wilfred Ndidi to the pitch, the midfielder returning in the 34th minute.

Vardy was then forced off the pitch with an apparent back injury, bringing Kelechi Iheanacho into the fold in the 44th minute.

Barnes then returned the favor to Pereira, who whistled his effort into the goal in the fifth minute of first half stoppage time.

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But hold on.

Noble needed just five second half minutes to pull one back for David Moyes’ men, as Sebastien Haller won a suspect penalty off Ndidi.

Kasper Schmeichel made a fine save on Michail Antonio to keep it 2-1.

Leiceste regained control and looked the only threat to make it 3-1 after that, with Perez converted a penalty after Angelo Ogbonna fouled Kelechi Iheanacho.

The Nigerian forward then set up Perez for his second to salt away the win.

Leicester City’s Vardy limps off pitch versus West Ham

Jamie Vardy injury
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January is not being kind to English forwards.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy limped off the pitch at King Power Stadium on Wednesday, an apparent upper leg injury the cause.

It was a non-contact injury, as Vardy pulled up lame after clearing the ball.

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Kelechi Iheanacho replaced Vardy, who leads the Premier League Golden Boot race by one goal over Sergio Aguero.

Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham was injured in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal, while Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford are all nursing long-term injuries.

That had led many to infer that England manager Gareth Southgate might ask Vardy to reconsider his international retirement, but here we are.

Leicester City is in the thick of a Top Four chase in the hopes of returning to the UEFA Champions League, and losing Vardy would be a monumental blow.

Griezmann’s second half brace saves Barcelona from shock upset in Ibiza

Barcelona survives Copa del Rey scare
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Like a college kid on Spring Break, Barcelona vastly underestimated the power of Ibiza.

One of the biggest clubs in the world had loads of trouble in its Copa del Rey Round of 32 meeting at UD Ibiza on Wednesday.

Barcelona barely got past the third-tier side thanks to two Antoine Griezmann goals and a comeback 2-1 win at the Estadi Municipal de Can Misses.

UD Ibiza playing in a 5,000-seat stadium, took a ninth-minute lead and had more shot attempts as late as the 65th minute. New manager Quique Setien was left to sweat it out.

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Somewhat fitting that a man named Pep got the early goal. Josep Caballe Martin has more yellow cards than goals in Segunda B this season.

Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, and an injured Luis Suarez were among the players left behind, but this wasn’t a massively depleted Barcelona side. Arturo Vidal and Jordi Alba were brought off the bench.

Frenkie de Jong set up Griezmann for a 72nd minute equalizer, and Griezmann added his second off an Alba feed in the fourth minute of stoppage time.