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Top Premier League storylines for Week 15

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It’s a quick turnaround from the weekend as the Premier League launches into a round of midweek fixtures on Tuesday and Wednesday — round 15 of the 2018-19 season.

[ MORE: Modric ends Messi, Ronaldo’s 10-year duopoly on Ballon d’or ]

Here are the five storylines we’ll be watching most closely over the next 48 hours…


Struggling Man United host surging Arsenal
Man United vs. Arsenal, 3 p.m. ET, Wednesday, on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

While Arsenal spent the latter days of Arsene Wenger‘s reign scraping and clawing their way to fourth-place finishes, Manchester United were still living the glory days of competing for, and winning, titles. Now, fast-forward a few years since Sir Alex Ferguson‘s retirement, and the Red Devils would bite your hand off if you offered them so much as a chance at finishing fourth come May. Following the club’s worst start in the PL era, fortunes haven’t improved all that much for Jose Mourinho’s side: just two points to show for their last three PL outings, while Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 12 and enter Wednesday’s trip to Old Trafford on the back of a 4-2 thrashing of Tottenham on Sunday.

Man City, Liverpool continue title race marathon
Watford vs. Man City, 3 p.m. ET, Tuesday, on NBCSN [ STREAM ]
Burnley vs. Liverpool, 2:45 p.m. ET, Wednesday, on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]

Manchester City and Liverpool have combined to drop just two points between them over the last six rounds of fixtures. Those two points, dropped by Liverpool away to Arsenal, are the difference between first and second heading into this midweek round of games. Both will be away from home against eminently beatable opposition, as City visit 10th-place Watford (winless in four games, including three losses) while Liverpool will take on 19th-place Burnley (winless in their last seven games, including five losses).

Post-Hughes era begins at Southampton
Tottenham vs. Southampton, 3 p.m. ET, Wednesday, on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]

Mark Hughes became the second PL manager to be fired this season when Southampton sent the former Blackburn, Man City, Fulham, QPR and Stoke boss packing. Saints sit 18th in the table with just nine points after 14 games, and have grown more and more desperate for a turn of luck with each passing week. Saturday’s draw with Manchester United might prove a decent place to begin, but it clearly wasn’t enough to save Hughes’ job. On the other side, Spurs will be just as desperate to bounce back from their north London derby defeat to Arsenal and move back into the top-four.

Harsh reality check for Wolves
Wolves vs. Chelsea, 2:45 p.m. ET, Wednesday, on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ return to the PL went just swimmingly for the first two months, at which point Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side sat seventh in the table. Since then, the harsh reality of competing in arguably the world’s most competitive league has set in with five defeats during their ongoing six-game winless skid. Heading into Wednesday’s visit from third-place Chelsea, Wolves sit a modest 12th place in the table, but their points total now closer to 16th place than they are to seventh.

10-man Real Madrid comes back to draw 10-man Arsenal

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Maybe Zinedine Zidane ought to rethink his stance on Gareth Bale?

Of course it’s just preseason, but the on-the-market Real Match forward subbed into Tuesday’s match in Maryland on Tuesday and spearheaded a comeback 2-2 draw against Arsenal.

Real won in penalties, as all International Champions Cup matches must have a winner.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

Real was down a man after 10 minutes when Nacho Fernandez handled a ball on the goal line, and Arsenal also went down a man when Sokratis Papastathopoulos saw his second yellow of the contest in the 40th minute.

Alexandre Lacazette converted a penalty, then set-up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a goal 14 minutes later as the Gunners handled their business early.

The chemistry between two remains very real.

Real started new boys Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy, and Luka Jovic in addition to Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, and Sergio Ramos.

Bale came in for Hazard at halftime and poked a 57th minute rebound home and Marcelo set up Marco Asensio two minutes later to complete the comeback.

Asensio, sadly, would only last a few more minutes, needing to be stretchered off with injury.

Champions League wrap: PSV strikes late to win thriller (video)

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Five first legs of the UEFA Champions League’s second qualifying round are in the books, including a thrilling back-and-forth with a show-stopping stoppage time winner.

[ MORE: Rodgers talks down Maguire sale ]


PSV Eindhoven 3-2 FC Basel

Bruma scored a debut opener for the Dutch hosts, who fell behind 2-1 in the 79th minute before Sam Lammers and Donyell Malen struck in the 89th minute and second minute of stoppage, respectively, to put PSV ahead.

Basel will be okay taken two away goals home via Albian Aljeti and Omar Alderete.

Lammers came in for Mexican star Hirving Lozano in the 79th minute to score the leveler within 10 minutes before Malen, who went the full 90, kept his focus to deliver this clever winner.

The New Saints 0-2 Copenhagen

Pieros Sotiriou and Robert Skov scored on either side of halftime to give the Danish powers a healthy advantage heading into the second leg.

Elsewhere
FK Sutjeska 0-1 APOEL Nicosia
Saburtalo 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb
Viktoria Plzen 0-0 Olympiacos

Wednesday
BATE Borisov v. Rosenborg — 1 p.m. ET
Ferencvaros v. Valletta — 2 p.m. ET
CFR Cluj v. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2 p.m. ET
Maribor v. AIK — 2:15 p.m. ET
Red Star Belgrade v. HJK Helsinki — 2:45 p.m. ET
Dundalk v. Qarabag — 2:45 p.m. ET
Celtic v. Nomme Kalju — 2:45 p.m. ET

Rodgers says no close bids for Maguire

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Those tired of seeing Harry Maguire‘s name in the headlines, hoping his transfer saga had concluded with weekend reports that Manchester United agreed to a fee with Leicester City, well, they are going to be sorely disappointed.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers credited Maguire for his professionalism — the center back scored in a friendly win on Tuesday — and said that the club’s vice chairman Aiyawatt “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha has not received a fitting bid for the 26 year old’s services.

From The Leicester Mercury:

“There’s no big pressure to sell any player. If a player does leave Leicester City, then the player would need to be met because we have a top-level player, coveted by top-level clubs and I respect that,” Rodgers said. “Harry is on a long contract here and there’s been no valuation or near to that which would make Top have a look.”

Nooooooooooo.

Look, we’ve still got a few weeks until the close of the window, and every supporter has a target they want their club to acquire and some have some assets they hope stay in the same shirt at the deadline.

The Maguire story is getting a bit tedious now. He wants to go to Manchester United, but Rodgers is happy to keep him at Leicester. Maguire’s not the player who will quit on the club if he’s not sold, and Leicester’s hope of landing a replacement will dip as the deadline draws nearer and clubs like Burnley (James Tarkowski) realize their replacements options have been lessened by the wait.

Janssen leaves Spurs for Liga MX in $8M deal

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Vincent Janssen‘s less-than-ideal tenure with Tottenham Hotspur has come to its end, and he’s moving his way to this side of the Atlantic.

Liga MX side Monterrey has agreed to buy Janssen, Spurs announced Tuesday. The deal is for a reported $8 million.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

The Dutchman turned 25 this summer. He played just 42 times for Spurs after arriving from AZ Alkmaar for around $25 million in 2016, scoring six times, but did manage five goals and four assists in a half-year loan to Fenerbahce in 2017-18.

Janssen saw his time with the Netherlands national team peter out during his tenure at Spurs. After a red-hot start, he has not been capped since 2017. Janssen has seven goals in 17 caps.

His time at Spurs cannot be labeled as anything but a gigantic bust, but Janssen is still pretty young and has a chance to recapture his career momentum.

And he looks pretty happy about it.