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Top 5 Premier League storylines in Week 10

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The likely suspects remain at the Premier League summit heading into Matchday 10, however, a titanic clash amongst two of the top three sides could change the complexion of matters.

An important meeting at Old Trafford kicks off the weekend’s action as Manchester United hosts a Harry Kane-less Tottenham Hotspur, while big names Leicester City and Everton face a crucial test against one another for an utterly different reason.

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PST takes a look at the top 5 storylines around the PL ahead of Week 10.

Spurs facing massive test at Old Trafford without Kane

Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur — Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN

 

Anyone that names a player other than Harry Kane as the engine that runs Tottenham probably isn’t watching the club’s matches closely enough. That’s not to say Spurs isn’t loaded with talent — because they certainly are.

However, the difference for Spurs over the last several seasons has been the matches where the English striker wasn’t available for selection. Saturday’s clash against United would normally be timely considering Jose Mourinho’s men are coming off of a defeat, while Spurs comfortably handed Liverpool last weekend.

It remains to be seen though if Fernando Llorente will be a suitable replacement for Kane in a match of this magnitude.

Relegation a reality for these two “giants”

Leicester City vs. Everton — Sunday, 12 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Say what you will from an Everton perspective about the Merseyside club being amongst the big boys, but Leicester managed to win the Premier League just two seasons ago — with a very similar squad.

Both clubs are in disarray, sitting firmly in the relegation battle through nine matches, and that certainly isn’t what either team expected. Everton fired manager Ronald Koeman this week, which makes the 18th place side all the more vulnerable, however, the Foxes’ managerial situation isn’t that much better after Craig Shakespeare‘s recent sacking.

[ MORE: How will Man United-Spurs line up on Saturday? ]

Upstarts Huddersfield finding their groove?

Liverpool vs. Huddersfield Town — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET on NBC

Regardless of what transpires the rest of the 2017/18 season, Huddersfield will always have October 21. The Terriers earned a signature victory against Manchester United last weekend, and while it wasn’t the prettiest match for the newcomers, David Wagner‘s team was the first to hand the Red Devils a loss this campaign.

Liverpool enters the weekend just one point ahead of Wagner and Co., and Jurgen Klopp‘s side are in a bit of disarray. The Reds were blasted last week against Tottenham, with a 4-1 defeat the outcome at Wembley.

The Terriers have already exhibited their ability to adapt and overcome obstacles early in the campaign, including their victory over United after having had lost their previous two fixtures.

Eagles, Hammers holding on for dear life

Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold

Palace had a moment of brilliance against Chelsea earlier this month, but all it seems to be was that; a moment. With just two goals in nine matches, the Eagles are already facing a massive uphill climb at the bottom of the PL.

For the Hammers, their beginning to the campaign hasn’t been much better. Two wins out of nine has West Ham in 16th place and manager Slaven Bilic is on the hot seat after making several big moves this summer, including bringing in striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

[ MORE: The top 15 players at the 2017 U-17 World Cup ]

Surprise top-10 clubs meet at the Turf Moor

Burnley vs. Newcastle — Monday, 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN

This is probably the sneaky good match of the weekend because both clubs continue to fly under the radar as mid-table clubs. Burnley is coming off of a brutal beatdown by Manchester City, but Newcastle has found its form as of late, going unbeaten in its last three matches.

The biggest issue with both sides is the lack of a consistent goalscoring threat, which could hinder the clubs down the road. Chris Wood leads the Clarets with three goals thus far, while Newcastle has managed to get contributions from several players in their return to the PL.

Nonetheless, a victory for either club could potentially move one team all the way into the top four by the end of the weekend.

Las Vegas Lights keen on bringing Usain Bolt to USL

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It wouldn’t be the first time a star athlete has made the move to the United Soccer League — the second tier in the U.S. Soccer professional pyramid — however, the magnitude of the deal would transcend soccer.

[ MORE: Spurs sign Son to contract extension ]

Although reported interest from Australia, Turkey and Hungary could derail a move, former Jamaican track star Usain Bolt is being courted by USL side Las Vegas Lights FC, who are currently in their first season in the league.

“Of course we have an interest in Usain Bolt. Why wouldn’t we?” said Las Vegas owner and CEO Brett Lashbrook.

“He’s the world’s fastest guy and he’s trained at some of the best clubs in the world. To come play Division 2 soccer in the U.S. actually makes all the sense in the world. This guy is an absolute specimen of an athlete and we think he could absolutely succeed at the USL level.”

While the possibility of having Bolt play alongside Freddy Adu next to the Vegas Strip is an enticing one, the Jamaican’s salary demands are likely far too much for a USL side to take on.

Lights FC currently sit 13th in the USL Western Conference, eight point outside of a playoff spot.

Bolt is an eight-time Olympic gold medalist, having competed at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

ICC 2018: Dortmund tops Man City in Mahrez debut

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A relatively young squad took the pitch for Manchester City on Friday night, but Pep Guardiola‘s newest signing made his first appearance at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Borussia Dortmund topped Man City, 1-0, in the first match of the 2018 International Champions Cup — a game that saw Algeria international Riyad Mahrez debut for the Citizens after joining from Leicester City.

It was the Germans that capitalized on one of the game’s few opportunities, which came from the penalty spot just before the half-hour mark when U.S. Men’s National team star Christian Pulisic drew the foul inside the Man City area.

Mario Gotze stepped up and buried the spot kick in the 28th minutes, ensuring Dortmund would earn the tournament’s first victory.

Guardiola removed Mahrez after 73 minutes, while first-team regular Leroy Sane made a brief appearance in the final quarter hour for the Citizens.

For Dortmund, Pulisic was one of the few regulars to start the match for the German giants, however, the 19-year-old was one of 10 substitutions made by new manager Luicen Favre at halftime.

Report: Whitecaps teen Davies nears Bayern Munich transfer

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The Vancouver Whitecaps stated on Friday that their teenage star Alphonso Davies might not be available for their clash over the weekend with Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders, and now we may have a better scope of why.

[ MORE: LAFC cleared after Timbers drop U.S. Open Cup appeal ]

The Athletic is reporting that Bundesliga giant Bayern Munich is close to completing a $12 million transfer for Davies, which could increase “with add-ons and clauses contingent on performance.”

Davies, 17, turned professional in 2016 after signing a Homegrown contract with the Whitecaps, and his near-immediate stardom has risen to the point where the Canada international has become a significant talking point across Major League Soccer.

The young attacker is enjoying a strong season thus far for Carl Robinson’s side, with three goals and eight assists, while also being selected to the MLS All-Star team that will take on Juventus on August 1.

Although Davies’ absence from the squad at training on Friday wasn’t explained by the club, his time in Vancouver could be coming to an end as Bayern and several other big European sides chase the promising teen.

The Athletic’s report also suggests that various Premier League clubs have expressed interest in Davies, however, obtaining a work permit could be an issue for the player.

LAFC cleared after Timbers withdraw U.S. Open Cup appeal

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U.S. Soccer has cleared Los Angeles FC of any wrongdoing in Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals win over the Portland Timbers, after the latter dropped their appeal against the expansion MLS franchise.

[ MORE: MLS preview — TFC, Sounders running out of time ]

The Timbers had lodged a claim following the 3-2 LAFC win regarding the number of international players to suit up for Bob Bradley‘s squad.

Under the laws of the Open Cup, teams are allowed up to five international players in an 18-man gameday roster — a total that LAFC exceeded due to misleading information provided by U.S. Soccer and MLS.

Mark-Anthony Kaye, a Canada international, was ruled eligible to play by the competition, despite not meeting the requirements set forth by the Open Cup of an American player.

Kaye does not currently hold a green card.

The 23-year-old appeared in the match, making him the sixth international to suit up for Bradley’s squad, and theoretically could have cost LAFC a spot in the next round if the Timbers had stuck with their protest.

Kaye was listed as a domestic player on the matchday roster for LAFC, though, after general manager John Thorrington consulted with the USSF regarding the player’s status.

The USSF released the following statement on Friday night, declaring that the Timbers “gracefully” withdrew their appeal despite miscommunication between LAFC, MLS and U.S. Soccer.

“After a thorough review of the Portland Timbers’ official protest, it has been determined that the inclusion of additional foreign players was a result of a good faith misunderstanding among the U.S. Soccer, Major League Soccer and Los Angeles Football Club. Each organization involved has agreed to determine an improved process to ensure this will not happen again. In recognition of this fact, the Timbers have gracefully withdrawn their protest.”

LAFC will now either take on the Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo or Philadelphia Union in the semifinal stage of the competition, with a draw expected to be held in the coming days.