Top Premier League storylines — Week 21

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The Premier League’s festive fixtures continue to test squad depth, and one in particular is in danger of losing its surefire Top Four footing.

[ MORE: JPW’s PL picks | PL streaming schedule ]

That’s the lead of our top storylines this weekend in England.


Will Mourinho get Man Utd back in the win column?
Manchester United vs. Southampton — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC [ STREAM ]

[ PL PREVIEW: Man Utd vs. Saints ]

Back-to-back draws have Jose Mourinho’s men 15 points back of Man City, but the manager will be more concerned about his status just one point ahead of Chelsea and six clear of fifth place Spurs. The good news is that Saints defense looked awful in getting buried by Spurs, and Mauricio Pellegrino has some big questions to ask of his men — and himself — at Old Trafford.


Is Liverpool going to continue its charge up the table?
Liverpool vs. Leicester City — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Unbeaten in 15, the hosts are looking for the first season sweep in this series since 2001-02, but history says it won’t be easy: The last two seasons have seen both sides take a win from each other in Premier League play. The Reds and Foxes have allowed 53 goals between them this season, so there’s a good chance of offense on Saturday at Anfield.

[ PL PREVIEW: Liverpool vs. Leicester City ]

 (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

 

Was sloppy midweek a sign for City?
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City — 7 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Manchester City produced a lot of chances but only converted one at Newcastle United, its first 1-0 match in the Premier League since late September. City is a win away from tying Pep Guardiola‘s Bayern Munich record for consecutive wins (19), and have yet to lose this season. Palace will be facing a City back line still looking for health, so is there some danger at Selhurst Park?


Will the Baggies make it four calendar months without a win?
West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal — 11:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Alan Pardew‘s West Brom has not won since it was Tony Pulis‘ West Brom, and that means September, October, November, and now perhaps December will pass without a league win if the Baggies cannot manage an upset against Arsene Wenger‘s bunch. Arsenal hasn’t lost in five matches, but boasts just two wins from that bunch. Ripe for an upset, or a breakout performance?


Here’s the new boss, and the old boss
Newcastle United vs. Brighton and Hove Albion — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]

Chris Hughton‘s done a fine job at several Premier League stops, and the ex-Newcastle manager looks for a season sweep of his old charges when he matches wits with Rafa Benitez at St. James’ Park. More importantly, a win would boost the Seagulls six points clear of the Magpies and multiple results clear of the drop zone.