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Top Premier League storylines: Week 30

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After a crazy week in European play that saw Manchester United come back to beat PSG, Tottenham defeat Dortmund, Man City win a wild one against Schalke, Arsenal fall to Stade Rennais, and Chelsea hammer FC Salzburg, the teams return to league action in the English top flight.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

The Premier League title race returns to focus as Manchester City has taken control with Liverpool slipping in form. While the Reds lick their wounds, the teams at the bottom also face a perilous home stretch of the season.

Below are a look at the top five storylines ahead of this weekend.


Champions League spot on the line at the Emirates
Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET: Arsenal v. Manchester United – NBC [ STREAM ]

While much of the focus the last few weeks has been the race at the top of the table, the battle for the final Champions League place has been just as fierce, and there is a critical matchup in that contest on Sunday. Manchester United, on the backs of its improbable escape midweek in Champions League play, takes on Arsenal at the Emirates with any potential winner claiming the advantage in the struggle for fourth. The visitors currently hold just a one-point lead, so victory by either side would change the course of the season’s final two months.

Man City can tighten Premier League control
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET: Manchester City v. Watford – NBC [ STREAM ]

After taking a one-point lead atop the Premier League table and meandering to a 3-2 victory over Schalke in Champions League play midweek, City now hosts Watford at the Etihad looking to strengthen its hold at the league summit. It will be a tough test against a Hornets side that has won four of its last five. Without Fernandinho, Manchester City will have to earn all three points to avoid remaining vulnerable to a quick stay at the top.

Pochettino returns to St. Mary’s… in the stands
Saturday, 10 a.m. ET: Southampton v. Tottenham Hotspur – NBCSN [ STREAM ]

The Spurs boss has two wins and two draws at St. Mary’s since joining Tottenham from Southampton in 2014, but this time he will be forced to look on from the crowd after being handed a two-match touchline ban for his clash with the referee last time out against Burnley. While Spurs now are out of the title race, they must focus on fending off Manchester United and Arsenal below them or risk finding themselves on the less desirable end of one of the more notable Premier League collapses in recent memory.

Southampton, meanwhile, continues to battle relegation and will be motivated to earn a shock result for the home fans as they sit just two points above the drop in 17th. After nearly pulling off a result against Manchester United last time out, Southampton is not to be taken lightly by their former boss.

Liverpool clinging to title hopes
Sunday, 7 a.m. ET: Liverpool v. Burnley – NBCSN [ STREAM ]

The Reds may have fallen out of the lead, but just a point back of an injury-riddled Manchester City, the race is far from over. Facing a Burnley team that’s tasted two defeats in a row, Liverpool can meet the perfect opportunity to get back on track. The Reds saw a 10-point gap at the top closed after dropping points in three of their last five league matches, facing an inconsistency that plagued them last season as well. Any more dropped points against a vulnerable Man City squad could see the window of opportunity close as Pep Guardiola tightens his grip around the trophy.

Everton looks to return to form
Saturday, 10 a.m. ET: Newcastle United v. Everton – CNBC [ STREAM ]

The Toffees have just one win in their last five and visit a surging Newcastle side that has pulled itself away from the drop in another second half Rafa Benitez masterclass. The Magpies fell to West Ham on the road last time out, but have won their last four home matches to leap into 14th, six points above the relegation zone. As Everton flirts with a bottom-half table position, the 10th-placed Toffees must regain their form in a hostile environment.

On This Day: Bornstein becomes national hero – in Honduras

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You know what today is? It’s Jonathan Bornstein day in Honduras.

Ten years ago today at RFK Stadium in our nations capital, a young, hot-shot kid with plenty of hair named Michael Bradley and Bornstein helped the U.S. Men’s National Team come back to draw Costa Rica, 2-2, in World Cup qualifying. In fact, it’s eerie watching Bornstein’s celebration, running to the corner flag and diving headfirst as he’s mobbed moments after by his teammates. It’s a bit similar to what Lanson Donovan did about nine months later.

[READ: USMNT looks to build in match v. Canada]

To add some context, it was the final day of qualifications matches in the Hex. Three days earlier, the U.S. had already secured a place in the World Cup with a wild 3-2 win at Honduras, meaning Los Catrachos needed to win over El Salvador on the final night and hope that the U.S. would keep Costa Rica from winning in the final match.

Who else, but Carlos Pavon gave Honduras a 1-0 win over El Salvador that night. Then, it was Bornsteins goal later that night that put Los Catrachos into the World Cup for the first time since 1982, and left Costa Rica to battle for the shared spot between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.

In honor of the big day, hundreds of Honduras fans had been mentioning Bornstein on social media, and the veteran defender – currently of the Chicago Fire – retweeted quite a few of the thankful messages to him. Below, here’s video of the call from Honduras TV, as well as from Ian Darke and the ESPN crew.

Unfortunately for Bornstein, this may be the highlight of his national team career. He did make the 2010 World Cup squad and started twice, including the matches against Algeria and Ghana, but he never truly took the next step in his career to become a star left back.

After a calamitous performance against Mexico in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, which also Bob Bradley his USMNT job, Bornstein was dropped and hasn’t been seen from again on the national team stage.

However, even though he’s only a club player these days, he’ll never have to buy a drink in Honduras, that’s for sure.

Euro 2020 qualifying: France settles for draw with Turkey

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Euro 2020 qualifying continued on Monday and included a top-of-the-group clash in Group H.

[READ: England rout Bulgaria in game marred by racist chants]

France 1-1 Turkey

France spoiled a chance at home to put one foot in Euro 2020 after conceding late in the match and settling for a draw with Turkey.

Despite playing without a lot of starters – Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, and Hugo Lloris are all out injured – France still was strong in the first half and peppered Turkey with 12 shots. Goalkeeper Mert Gunok made an outstanding double-save in the first half and Leicester City’s Çağlar Söyüncü did his best to keep Antoine Griezmann in front of him.

In the 72nd minute, Olivier Giroud came on the field as a substitute and four minutes later, he put France in front to the delight of the home crowd at the Stade de France. What else, but a header off a corner. However, the lead didn’t last long. Off a free kick in the 82nd minute, Hakan Calhanoglu’s delivery was nodded home by Kaan Ayhan. The 1-1 draw leaves both France and Turkey tied with 19 points from eight qualifying matches. It also means that Turkey hasn’t lost to France over two games in this qualifying cycle.

Here’s a look at the rest of Monday’s scores:

Monday’s Euro 2020 qualifying scores

Group A

Bulgaria 0-6 England

Kosovo 2-0 Montenegro

Group B

Lithuania 1-2 Serbia

Ukraine 2-1 Portugal

Group H

Iceland 2-0 Andorra

Moldova 0-4 Albania

Ronaldo scores 700th goal for club and country

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Cristiano Ronaldo achieved yet another personal milestone in his star-studded career on Monday evening with a simple penalty kick goal.

With his 72nd minute strike, Ronaldo tallied his 700th goal for club and country in his career. It’s an incredible achievement, and one indicative of his incredible goal-scoring exploits and his long career.

Ronaldo was already leading all active players globally in terms of goals scored, so his 700th is only adding to the list. His former club nemesis, Lionel Messi, still sits a reported 28 goals behind him, according to Soccerway. After them, LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the closest, and he has “only” 542 goals.

The Portuguese icon becomes the sixth male player to score 700 goals in his career. The others include Pele, Romaro, Josef Bican, Ferenc Puskás, and Gerd Muller.

Ronaldo made his debut for Sporting Lisbon in the 2002-2003 season as a 17-year-old and quickly was snapped up by Man United and Sir Alex Ferguson, where he transitioned from a tricky winger to a clinical striker who couldn’t stop scoring.

The 34-year-old has scored 40-or-more goals on three occasions in his career and he scored 25-or-more goals in all nine years he was at Real Madrid. For Portugal, he’s now scored an incredible 95 goals in all competitions. He had 15 goals in World Cup qualifying alone for the 2018 campaign.

Watch the video of Ronaldo’s breaking goal below. Unfortunately for him, Portugal fell, 2-1 to Ukraine.

Southgate, England players sound off on racist abuse

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England took care of business in Monday’s 6-0 thrashing of Bulgaria, but the Three Lions had to endure some horrendous racist abuse from the crowd during the game.

The match was paused on two occasions I’m the first half by the match officials after racist chanting could be heard from a section of supporters, and a large group of Bulgarian fans were ejected towards the end of the half. However, racist abuse continued during the match from small pockets of fans in the stadium.

[READ: England v. Bulgaria delayed after racist abuse from stands]

“I have to say that the officials were on to everything very quickly,” England manager Gareth Southgate told ITV after the match. “We reported everything immediately when we heard things, we had constant communication with the fourth official and the referee. I was in contact with the players, all the way through the first half in particular, and then again at halftime.

”We know it’s an unacceptable situation, and I think we’ve managed to make two statements. By winning the game, but also we’re raised the awareness of everybody to the situation. The game was stopped twice, I know for some people that won’t be enough, but we as a group were on board with that process.”

Raheem Sterling, who scored a brace in the win, also sounded off on social media, as did former England and Arsenal star Ian Wright.

Ultimately, UEFA and the match officials followed the protocol, but the sad part about this is that England and the officials had a plan for racist abuse, and it was predictable that it would happen.

In a statement after the game, the FA confirmed they would be asking UEFA to investigate what happened. However, any punishment is too little, too late for the players who endured the abuse.