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Top Premier League storylines for Week 16

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The Premier League begins its third round of games in eight days when Liverpool visits Bournemouth early Saturday.

[ LISTEN: Rebecca Lowe’s new podcast ]

Here’s what we’ll be watching the closest in England and Wales this weekend.


Sorry form could sound death knell for Chelsea’s title hopes
Chelsea vs. Manchester City, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC STREAM ]

The visitors are undefeated, reigning champions, and will be considered favorites when they enter Stamford Bridge to meet a Chelsea side which has won just four of the last 12 points available to it.

Maurizio Sarri‘s men will have to do better against Man City than they did in 2017-18 under Antonio Conte, when the Blues lost a pair of 1-0 contests. A loss Saturday would sink Chelsea 13 points back of City.

Gunners go for 21 against game Terriers
Arsenal vs. Huddersfield Town, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on CNBC STREAM ]

Arsenal toppled Spurs before drawing Manchester United, but would do well to consider Huddersfield Town as ornery as the big boys. The desperate Terriers have found some goals in recent weeks, but need results more than hope now. It seems unlikely to come at the Emirates, but that’s why they play the games.

Hasenhuttl takes charge of Saints for big six-pointer
Cardiff City vs. Southampton, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Sports Gold STREAM ]

Saints have been in the frying pan for some time, but will feel in the center of the fire should they manage to lose to improving Cardiff City on Saturday in Wales. It’s the first match on the bench for new Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, who has an impressive record in Germany.

Tottenham heads to Leicester to face tough-to-topple Foxes
Leicester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 2:45 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN STREAM ]

Unbeaten in six league matches despite the tragic story of their owners’ death and a trip to Thailand to mourn him, Leicester now gets a visit from a Tottenham Hotspur side who’s rebounded from a North London Derby loss to paste Southampton at midweek. Will the Foxes be able to continue their run up the table against a very good Spurs side?

Klopp, Howe match attack-happy wits at the Vitality Stadium
Bournemouth vs. Liverpool, 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN STREAM ]

The Cherries have proved tough-to-beat at home with a 4W-2D-2L record so far but also unable to take down the big boys. Bournemouth is now 0-4 against Top Four contenders despite its seventh-place start to the season. Enter a Liverpool side just as willing to entertain and the chance to hop into first place for at least a few hours, and this has all the ingredients for a fine start to the season.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.

Man arrested after English soccer player reports homophobia

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TRANMERE, England — A footballer in England’s third tier reported being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands, leading to police making one arrest.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop told the referee of the abuse at halftime of the League One soccer game at Tranmere as his team won 2-0.

Tranmere says it is very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made.

In a statement, Merseyside Police condemned abhorrent incidents.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Crellin added that “hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

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Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.

EURO qualifying wrap: France, Iceland, Turkey earn wins

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With their tickets already booked to next summer’s big tournament, France and Turkey picked up wins in Sunday’s Euro qualifying action, which saw defending champions Portugal clinch qualification.

[ READ: Defending champions Portugal qualify to EURO 2020 ]


Albania 0-2 France

Albania opened their new, 22,500-seat stadium with a hard-fought loss against France.

Early on, Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso gave the impression that the home fans were in for a long night at the inaugurating Air Albania Stadium, opening the score just eight minutes in with a well-placed header. In the 31st minute, an unfamiliar face, Leo Dubois, connected with Antoine Griezmann, who slotted the ball into the bottom-right corner. France finish the qualifiers leaders of Group H with 25 points. Throughout the 10 matches, the world champions lost only once, a 2-0 loss against Turkey.

Andorra 0-2 Turkey

Real Valladolid’s Enes Unal scored a first-half brace as Turkey coasted past Andorra 2-0. Turkey, who clinched a spot next summer after finishing Group H two points behind France, controlled possession and chances at goal.

Moldova 1-2 Iceland

Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the visitor’s second and winning goal in the second half, as Iceland walked away from Zimbru Stadium with a 2-1 win on Sunday.

With 19 points throughout 10 games, Rúnar Kristinsson and company felt five points short of qualifying directly for next year’s competition. That said, they’ll partake in the Euro 2020 playoffs, looking to squeeze their way in.

Elsewhere

Luxembourg 0-2 Portugal

Serbia 2-2 Ukraine

Kosovo 0-4 England

Bulgaria 1-0 Czech Republic