A light weekend for Premier League play doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of intrigue surrounding Matchday 28.
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Litmus test for Top Six daydreamers
Everton vs. West Brom — 10 a.m. EDT Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com
There aren’t too many sides in the Premier League that aren’t either:
A) Competing for a European place
B) Battling the drop
Everton and West Brom are two of these teams, and the former sure would like to join category A by toppling the Baggies on Saturday.
The Toffees sit seventh, six points back of fifth-place Arsenal and four points ahead of West Brom. Tony Pulis‘ Baggies dropped the ball big time in losing to Crystal Palace last week, a loss that would’ve irked him on several levels. Will they make amends at Goodison Park?
Can Liverpool expel demons in double?
Liverpool vs. Burnley — Noon EDT Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com
Burnley stunned the Reds with a 2-0 win at Turf Moor on Aug. 20, the first of many Liverpool stumbled against lower half sides. So here lies a chance for Jurgen Klopp to assert power over a team that beat him while also exorcising Liverpool’s knack for playing down to its opponents. There’s really a third question here, too: Is this Reds side capable of standing up to a more physical, traditional PL style?
Six-pointer at the KCOM Stadium
Hull City vs. Swansea City — 10 a.m. EDT Saturday on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com
The hosts and visitors have looked a lot better since making managerial changes, but only Paul Clement‘s Swans have climbed out of the drop zone. The gap between Hull and Swansea sits at six points, and Swans can put the Tigers in the rearview for good, more or less, with a win on Saturday.
Cherries rotting on the tree
Bournemouth vs. West Ham United — 10 a.m. EDT Saturday on Premier League Extratime and online via NBCSports.com
Bournemouth had 24 points on New Year’s Day, and has managed just three in eight matches since the calendar hit 2017. That happens to coincide with Nathan Ake heading back to Chelsea — and Antonio Conte isn’t using the influential youngster — and the Cherries have not found an answer for Ake’s departure.
Meanwhile it’s been fits and starts for West Ham, which is playing much better since a horrible start to the season. The Irons need to keep winning matches like this, though, if they are going to make the leap to contender.