Bob Bradley: Swansea City entering “critical period” in season

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Bob Bradley is looking to build on his first win as Swansea City manager.

Bradley, 58, became the first-ever American coach to win a Premier League game last Saturday as the Swans beat Crystal Palace 5-4 in an incredible game at the Liberty Stadium.

[ MORE: Cazorla out injured ]

This Saturday Bradley takes his team on the road to White Hart Lane (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSports.com) and he knows the challenge will be a tough one.

But it isn’t just the upcoming battle against Mauricio Pochettino‘s men which is in his focus. Bradley also has one eye on the run of six games coming up after Swansea’s trip to Spurs as they face Sunderland, West Brom, Middlesbrough, West Ham, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.

“I think it’s a critical period between now and the beginning of the new year,” Bradley said. “I keep getting asked questions about the January transfer window, but I also understand that between now and then, there are a lot of important matches. It’s a busy schedule through the holidays, and it’s an opportunity for us to turn things around – to put a bad start behind us and really give a bit more belief to the idea that we are ready to end the season in a strong way.”

For Swansea, heading to Spurs is almost a free hit. Nobody expects them to get anything at the Lane (they’ve never beaten Spurs in the Premier League, in case you were wondering) and a point would be a great result for Bradley’s side.

However in the run of six games following this weekend, 18 crucial points are up for grabs and 12 points would be a great haul from those matches around the festive period and they’d go a long way to pushing the Swans towards midtable.

First up Bradley will look for Swansea to win the home games against Sunderland, West Ham and Bournemouth and then nab a win on the road at West Brom, Middlesbrough or Crystal Palace. All of those six teams are right around the South Wales club and if Bradley is going to drag them out of the relegation zone then winning as many of these “six pointers” (nope, it’s not too early to call them that) is crucial. Especially when you look at the schedule in January…

Arsenal, Liverpool, Southampton, Manchester City and Leicester City come in the five games after this “critical period” for Swansea.

The main thing Bradley will try to improve is the defense because we saw how bad some of the set piece defending was against Palace, plus a severe lack of luck has gone against the Swans with own goals flying in too. Those are the kinds of things which happen when you’re down there.

That said, Bradley has the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Leroy Fer scoring regularly and if Fernando Llorente stays fit, he will also be a danger man.

If Swansea can get through December with three wins under their belt, things will be looking a lot better for Bradley.

Watch Live: Liverpool v. Arsenal

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2-0 to start the season, Liverpool and Arsenal are both bidding for their first marquee three points when they tangle at Anfield on Saturday (Watch live on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Alexandre Lacazette is on the bench for Arsenal as record signing Nicolas Pepe starts for the Gunners, who have beaten Burnley and Newcastle United.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Liverpool’s wins have come against Norwich City and Southampton, and Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is deploying his very best to face the Gunners.

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Liverpool:

Arsenal:

AT HALF: Manchester United trails, 10-man Brighton loses goal to VAR

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We’ve got goals. We’ve got red cards. We’ve got fun.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

All four Premier League 10 a.m. ET Saturday kickoffs have reached halftime. Here’s your primer to select which second half to stream live.

Watford 1-1 West Ham United

Chances and entertainment for days at Vicarage Road, where Mark Noble‘s early penalty was quickly offset by Andre Gray‘s emphatic finish of a Will Hughes through ball.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Southampton

Florin Andone has been sent off for the hosts after a gnarly challenge on Yan Valery, and further insult for Brighton came when VAR spotted a clear foul on Lewis Dunk‘s headed goal.

Sheffield United 0-1 Leicester City

Jamie Vardy may not tire of throwing parties, and James Maddison sure designs delightful invitations.

Manchester United 0-1 Crystal Palace

Possession doesn’t matter much if you can’t handle a 70-yard goalkeeper pass, and Victor Lindelof‘s lost header to Jeff Schlupp allowed Jordan Ayew as much time as he needed to slot past David De Gea.

United probably should be up a man after Gary Cahill chopped down Anthony Martial, but only a yellow arrived at Old Trafford.

Lampard, Abraham react to first Chelsea win, goal

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Frank Lampard was all business in being asked about his first Premier League win as Chelsea boss.

Coming on the heels of a loss and draw heading into Saturday’s 3-2 defeat of Norwich City, Lampard was ready to talk about the big picture (especially considering the Blues dealt with a pre-match injury to Pedro).

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform? ] 

With a lot of young players and a tricky transfer ban, Lampard has to walk a fine line between the expectations of Chelsea and the reality of working with a side he hasn’t been able to improve through the transfer window. From the BBC:

“We want to compete. We know this year is difficult on different levels. We’ve had a tough start, and yep, we needed a win. It helps confidence.”

On the other end of the spectrum is Tammy Abraham, who has no qualms whatsoever with his first Chelsea goal in the Premier League.

“I didn’t even know how to celebrate so I just ran over to the management and the staff. It always gives confidence to me and the young boys when the coach believes in you.”

Sheffield United is next, a real chance for the Blues to round into form even if the Blades have been plucky early in their Premier League return.

Watch Live: Four Premier League games at 10am ET

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Four Premier League games kick off at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, as Matchweek 3 is in full swing.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

Man United host Crystal Palace, Southampton head to Brighton, Watford and West Ham do battle and Leicester travel to Sheffield United.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for all four games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


10 a.m. ET: Man United v. Crystal Palace – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Brighton v. Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Sheffield United v. Leicester – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Watford v. West Ham – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]