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.
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.
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.Follow @MattReedFutbol