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Top Premier League storylines — Week 19

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As Manchester City run away with the Premier League title, we turn our attention to the battles for top-four spots, and places in the PL next season…

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | JPW’s PL picks ]

When Will Man City lose drop points?

We’re still asking this question, huh? With each passing week and win, it feels more and more like Pep Guardiola‘s side has a real, legitimate shot at finishing the season unbeaten. It’s nigh impossible to envisage Man City dropping points in a game anytime soon, let alone losing one. While they’ve outscored their opponents by an eye-popping sum of 53-11 during their current 16-game winning streak (a PL record), they’ve also won their fair share of close games — seven of 16 games were one by one-goal margins. Even when they don’t hammer you for four or five or six goals, they have had to find their way through adversity on a number of occasions, and come out the other side every time. Up next: Bournemouth visit the Etihad Stadium (Watch live, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).


Top-four credentials on show

Fifth hosts fourth at the Emirates Stadium on Friday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com), as Arsenal seek a bit of revenge for the 4-0 thumping given to them by Liverpool back in August. Despite the gulf in class being so evident on that day, only a single point separates the two sides in the table four months later. The Reds have dominated the Gunners in recent meetings, winning the last three by a combined score of 11-4.


Pogback — but it’s too late now

Paul Pogba missed Manchester United’s last three games but the (former) world’s most expensive player is back for Saturday’s trip to Leicester City (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBC and NBCSports.com). Alas, he returns with the Red Devils a seemingly insurmountable 11 points behind City. At the very least, one of the world’s most exciting stars is back where he belongs and United can continue growing together as they eye another (perhaps equally futile) title challenge next season.


Unexpected relegation six-pointer

Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion have, for the most part, enjoyed life as mid-table teams for most of the last decade. Suddenly, the Potters and Baggies find themselves facing a five-month relegation battle if things don’t turn around in a hurry. West Brom have already made a managerial change this season (Alan Pardew replaced Tony Pulis last month), and Mark Hughes‘ position is looking more and more tenuous with each passing defeat. Saturday’s meeting at the bet365 Stadium (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold) could see either side remain or fall into the relegation zone.


Any hope for Swansea?

It’s tough to conjure up a situation worse than what Swansea are currently going through — bottom of the table, four points adrift of safety, and now manager-less with a still-active player taking charge of the team when a suddenly resurgent Crystal Palace side visits the Liberty Stadium on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports). Recent form favors Eagles over Swans: unbeaten in seven games (three wins), versus one win (and one draw) from their last 10 games, respectively.

Watch Live: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final

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The 2019 U-17 World Cup final takes place in Bezerrão Stadium on Saturday as favorites Brazil host an inspired Mexico.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

With four goals and one assist, Kaio Jorge has been Brazil’s most productive attacking player this tournament, while Mexico’s and Los Angeles Galaxy’s Efrain Alvarez is hoping to end an incredible tournament in triumphant fashion.

History between both national teams in a U-17 World Cup final dates back to 2005, when LAFC’s Carlos Vela and Mexico routed Marcelo and Brazil 3-0 in Lima, Peru.

Click on the link above to watch the game live.


U-17 World Cup final
Brazil v. Mexico – 5 p.m. ET

England finishes EURO 2020 qualifying by beating Kosovo

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England’s 2020 European Championship qualification campaign wrapped up on Sunday with a slightly flattering 4-0 victory away to third-place, and playoff qualifiers, Kosovo.

[ VIDEO: Game stopped for racist chanting; player targeted later scores goal ]

Gareth Southgate‘s side was hardly at its best just three days after thrashing Montenegro and securing qualification to this summer’s tournament. They only led by a score of 1-0 through 78 minutes, before scoring a trio of late goals to put the game out of reach and rob the hosts of any potential moral victory.

Harry Winks opened the scoring, and his England account, in the 32nd minute. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found Winks near the top of Kosovo’s penalty area and though Winks’ first touch appeared quite poor, every player in blue stopped and stood as the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder walked in on goal and coolly slotted the ball home to make it 1-0.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

From that point forward, Kosovo enjoyed control of the game’s tempo and looked every bit the Three Lions’ equal. That is, until Harry Kane finished an open chance at the back post in the 79th minute and opened the floodgates.

Marcus Rashford added a third four minutes later, followed by another first England goal — this time, scored by Mason Mount — in the 91st.

England finishes EURO 2020 qualification with a record of 7W-0D-1L and a +31 goal differential, which is second only to Belgium who sit at +32 with one game still to play. England required Sunday’s victory to confirm its place as a Pot 1 team at the draw for the group stage.

Arsenal beat Spurs in front of WSL-record crowd of 38,262

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LONDON (AP) The first north London derby in the Women’s Super League produced a record crowd of 38,262 for the competition on Sunday when Arsenal claimed a 2-0 victory at Tottenham.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

The newly fully professional side held out until the 66th minute when Kim Little struck for the champions and Vivianne Miedema extended Arsenal’s lead in the 82nd minute.

It was the first time Tottenham, in its first top-flight campaign, had staged women’s football at its main 61,000-capacity stadium, which opened earlier this year.

The crowd surpassed the 31,213 at Manchester City for the visit of Manchester United on the opening weekend of the season in September.

Tottenham hosted Arsenal on the first designated Women’s Football Weekend in England which also saw 23,500 at Anfield for Liverpool’s 1-0 loss to Everton.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Lionel Messi negotiating a new deal ]

Chelsea opened the season by hosting Tottenham in front of around 25,000 at Stamford Bridge.

League leaders Chelsea were back at their usual home of Kingsmeadow on Sunday. Maren Mjelde’s penalty sealed a 1-0 victory over promoted Manchester United in front of 4,790 fans – a WSL record crowd for a game not played in a large stadium usually used by the men’s team.

VIDEO: Dutch 2nd-division game stopped for racist abuse; player later scores goal

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A Dutch second-division game between Den Bosch and Excelsior was temporarily stopped on Sunday due to suspected racist chanting and Nazi salutes performed by some of Den Bosch’s fans.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Lionel Messi negotiating a new deal ]

The game was halted by referee Laurens Gerrets in the 30 minute. Dutch winger Ahmad Mendes Moreira, who plays for Excelsior, was the player targeted by the racist chanting. He was at that time seen gesturing toward the crowd, indicating to Gerrets and teammates that he was hearing racist abuse from the stands.

In a mixed zone for media availability after the game, Den Bosch manager Erik van der Ven is reported to have called Mendes Moreira a “pathetic little man” for pointing out the racist abuse to Gerrets. Den Bosch released a statement claiming that no racist abuse occurred, that the fans were instead making “crow sounds” and treating Mendes Moreira to a “crow concert,” which they claim is part of customary treatment of opposing players.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

Mendes Moreira appeared emotional after scoring a goal to put Excelsior 2-1 ahead fewer than 15 minutes after the game was restarted.