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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.

Follow Live: Jamaica hosts Honduras in first Gold Cup match in Kingston

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With Curacao v. El Salvador as the undercard, host Jamaica will make history on Monday evening ahead of its match v. Honduras in Kingston.

The evening at the National Stadium at Independence Park represents the first time that Gold Cup will be held in the Caribbean, an historic achievement as CONCACAF looks for ways to continue growing the game across the entire region.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores ]

Although it struggled in World Cup qualifying, Jamaica seems like it has turned a new leaf and after a 2-0 win over the U.S. Men’s National Team in Washington D.C. earlier this month, the Caribbean nation is riding plenty of confidence and is looking to make yet another deep run at the Gold Cup. Standing in its way is plucky Honduras, who always seems to come up with goals when it’s least expected and manages to put together a strong defense to make things difficult for opponents.

It should be a fun opener in front of a partisan, but decidedly local crowd in Jamaica.

Report: Barcelona in negotiations with PSG to sign Neymar

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In a stunning development, Neymar could be returning to the Camp Nou as early as this summer.

Brazilian media giant Globo Esporte reported Monday afternoon that Barcelona is currently negotiating with Paris Saint-Germain over the signing of Neymar. According to the report, the deal could include a payment of around $112 million along with one or more players moving to Paris, including Ivan Rakitic, Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti.

[READ: USWNT: We have the best, and second best team]

There’s so many layers to this deal, so let’s break it down.

The news that Neymar could return to Barcelona comes on the heels of an interview by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and France Football, in which he called out Neymar, stating “nobody forced him to sign here,” and that Al-Khelaifi said earlier in the interview he didn’t want “to see stars anymore.”

“I want players willing to give everything to defend the honor of the jersey and to join the club project,” Al-Khelaifi told France Football. “Those who do not want, or do not understand, we see each other and we talk to each other. There are of course contracts to be respected, but the priority now is total membership of our project…nobody forced him to sign here. Nobody pushed him. He came knowingly to join a project.”

Meanwhile, Neymar has plenty of time now to think of his future. Ever since moving to PSG, it feels like he’s been stricken by the injury bug. While he’ll probably go down as a Brazil legend when he retires, he’s on the precipice of being a what if player, as in, what if he wasn’t injured for parts of the last two World Cups, and for picking up an ankle injury that’s kept him out of the 2019 Copa America.

It’s been ankle injuries as well in February of each of the last two seasons at PSG that has effectively ended his season just as it was reaching the important stages, the start of the UEFA Champions League knockout stage.

Remember, Neymar decided to force his way out of Barcelona and move to PSG in an effort to break the hegemony of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon d’Or and truly write his name in the history books. Instead, his time in Paris will be remembered abroad more for his antics, injuries, and of course, the incident with the fan at the Coupe de la Ligue final.

Of course, that’s not to say Neymar didn’t have success in France. He’s scored an incredible 49 goals in 55 games in all competitions, including in both Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League. But ultimately, Neymar wasn’t able to score goals when it mattered, like in the Champions League knockout stages or in high-pressure games.

At Barcelona, Neymar achieved some of his biggest club success and took his game to new heights after being a raw diamond needing polishing at Santos in Brazil. Perhaps Neymar has realized that it’s better to play in Messi’s shadow, and potentially win the UEFA Champions League again, than try and stake it out on his own. Neymar has a good relationship with Messi and Luis Suarez, among other South Americans on the team, and on paper he’d clearly be a big upgrade at left wing over the duo of Ousmane Dembele and Neymar’s Brazil teammate, Philippe Coutinho.

The deal makes sense for both sides, but will it get done? That’s the big question this summer, and it will remain unanswered until the second of September, the close of the Spanish transfer window.

Watch Live: Copa America — Japan v. Chile

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It may be hard to remember, since it didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but Chile is actually the twice-defending Copa America champions.

[ LIVE: Watch every single Copa America game ]

La Roja look to defend their title with the final opening game of the tournament, facing Copa America invitee Japan at the Estadio Morumbi in Sao Paulo. After both Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal announced they were leaving the national team following the failure to qualify for the last World Cup, both veterans are back and starting as Chile looks to find its 2015 and 2016 form under new manager Reinaldo Rueda, the former Colombia, Honduras and Ecuador coach.

Chile will face an interesting test in Japan, as the Samurai Blue have taken mainly an Under-23 side as it prepares for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and potentially making a deep run. Many of the starters are making their first senior international caps for Japan, as it looks to gain crucial international experience against a strong side.

Hit the link above (or click HERE) to watch Monday’s primetime fixture (in Spanish) and check back on PST for a full roundup of the day’s action down in South America.

You can watch every single game from the tournament live online in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes and via the NBC Sports App. All you have to do is click on the links below.

How Twitter reacted to VAR decisions in France v. Nigeria

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The introduction of Video Assistant Referees to top level soccer has been criticized at times, but more often than not has been given the benefit of the doubt.

That seemed to change on Monday, as France was aided by two controversial VAR decisions, which helped the European nation defeat Nigeria, 1-0, in the final group stage game for both countries at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Both VAR decisions, the first to award a penalty and especially the second, to award a retake, were planned by both journalists, fans, and even former players on social media in real time.

Here’s some reaction below to the big controversy from this afternoon’s match.