Top Premier League storylines – Week 32

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Chelsea puts its Top Four dreams on the line against a North London power, while the Premier League’s other giants look to take advantage of lesser competition as part of a big weekend in England.

[ MORE: #AskJPW on Chelsea job, relegation scrap ]

With plenty at stake in the relegation battle, will there be a big upset or two as the season’s home stretch continues Saturday and Sunday.

Spurs aim to end jinx, put Chelsea’s Top Four hopes to sleep
Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur —  11 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN

Spurs haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since 1990, and can both end that miserable run and crush Chelsea’s Top Four hopes with an away win. Is there a chance Harry Kane could make a surprising early return from injury? Mauricio Pochettino seemed to point to next weekend, but did not commit to a Kane-free Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

Will Reds, Red Devils fail to take advantage?
Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool —  7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN
Manchester United vs. Swansea City —  10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN

It’s the case in most weeks when a pair of giants match up, but Liverpool and Manchester United see relegation scrappers on the other side of the pitch and chances to cement their Top Four plans simply by following the plot. United can be as many as 12 points clear of fifth and Liverpool 10 points clear should with wins and a Spurs defeat of Chelsea.

Man City can get revenge while moving to title precipice
Everton vs. Manchester City —  12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC

Manchester City has dropped points four times this season, and the only occasion before Week 21 was a 1-1 August draw which featured a pair of red cards. Sam Allardyce has done little to inspire thought that he’s a manager who can deal with a top squad this season, though he worked some magic with Palace last season. Minor miracle on the cards? Probably not, as Man City can also avenge a 4-0 loss at Goodison Park last season.

Will Saints or West Ham (or neither) ease their relegation fears?
West Ham United vs. Southampton —  10 a.m. ET Saturday on CNBC

The stakes could hardly be higher; A winner is guaranteed to finish outside the drop zone. It’s double trouble for West Ham if it loses, as this will be the first contest since a group of its fans took protesting to the pitch in an ugly incident at the London Stadium. This is high drama and a sneaky good match in London.

Liga MX wrap: Xolos beats Chivas as Apertura begins

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Liga MX’s Apertura season is off and running with all 18 clubs partaking in a match this weekend.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

Club Tijuana 2-1 Chivas Guadalajara

Scoreless at the half, the weekend’s marquee match sprang to life in the final 45. Juan Martin Lucero gave TJ a 54th minute lead before Jose Van Rankin knotted it up five minutes later.

Lucero assisted Jose Rivero’s 75th minute winner, which was helped in its status when Michael Perez took a red card in the 80th.

Cruz Azul 3-0 Puebla

Elias Hernandez scored a goal and added an assist, and Milton Caraglio put one of his five shots on goal into the net. Andres Renteria also scored in the win.

Tigres 2-0 Leon

Andre-Pierre Gignac scored, and Lucas Zelarayan marked a goal and an assist in the win.

Elsewhere
Necaxa 2-1 Club America
Toluca 2-0 Morelia
Santos Laguna 2-1 Lobos BUAP
Pachuca 0-1 Monterrey
Veracruz 0-2 Pumas UNAM
Atlas 0-0 Queretaro

Report: Colorado acquires USMNT mid Acosta for Badji

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The West’s first place team is switching it up in a big way.

FC Dallas is sending Homegrown Player and USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta to Western foes Colorado Rapids in exchange for striker Dominique Badji, according to a report by The Dallas Morning News.

[ MORE: Pulisic rips up Liverpool ]

Acosta, 22, has 17 caps and a goal for the U.S., and is primarily a defensive midfielder. He’s also played right and left back.

He’s appeared 139 times for Dallas, scoring 13 times with nine assists, but had fallen out with head coach Oscar Pareja. He’s also struggled mightily on the field, according to WhoScored.

Badji, 25, has seven goals and three assists in 16 matches for the Rapids this season, building on an eight-goal, five-assist campaign last season.

FCD has gotten six goals out of forward Maxi Urruti, and there’s been little production from anyone else. Cristian Colman is out with an ankle injury and managed just a pair of goals in 399 minutes.

The risk of trading Acosta is mitigated by the continued speculation that he may test the waters of European soccer. Badji’s a quality player, but Colorado may’ve gotten a bargain in its push to escape the dregs of the West.

Quintero, Loons pick LAFC apart in five-star win (video)

Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP
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Minnesota United throttled LAFC on Sunday, using a Christian Ramirez brace to batter the hot expansion team 5-1 in Minnesota.

Darwin Quintero had a goal and two assists for the Loons, who took advantage of LAFC’s decision not to start dominant forward Adama Diomande and center back Walker Zimmerman.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

Quintero ripped off seven shots, putting five on goal. He now has 10 goals and five assists since joining the Loons after scoring two and eight in 29 matches for Club America last year.

Miguel Ibarra recorded a goal and an assist, while Rasmus Schuller also scored. LAFC’s goal came courtesy Benny Feilhaber.

Minnesota’s Bobby Shuttleworth and LA’s Tyler Miller each made six saves in their goals.

LAFC fails in a bid to make up points on Western Conference first seed FC Dallas, while the Loons now can eye a playoff spot in the West.

Already-thin Liverpool center back corps loses Matip to quad injury

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Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund featured an injury to a position with very little depth.

The Reds lost Joel Matip to what Jurgen Klopp said could possibly be a “small tear” in one of his quads.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

If Matip, 26, needs any significant time to heal up, he’ll put a major question mark into Liverpool’s opening day center back pairing.

Virgil Van Dijk, who scored against BVB on Sunday, already won’t have Dejan Lovren as a partner thanks to a post-World Cup vacation.

That leaves Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan as options next to Van Dijk.

Matches at Crystal Palace and home to Brighton and Hove Albion follow the Aug. 12 visit from West Ham.