Top Premier League storylines for Championship Sunday

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Championship Sunday is less than 72 hours away, thus the end of the 2018-19 Premier League season is upon us. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news: there’s still a few things left to be decided on Sunday, the final day of the season.

[ MORE: Spurs reach Champions League final | They’ll face Liverpool ]

All 10 games will kick off simultaneously, at 10 a.m. ET, across 10 different channels under the NBC Universal empire.

A champion will be crowned

Brighton v. Man City — on NBCSN [ STREAM ]
Liverpool v. Wolves — on NBC [ STREAM ]

After 38 games and just five losses between them (so far), one of Manchester City and Liverpool will end the PL season by lifting the trophy and spraying champagne in the locker room. The other will finish second with the third-highest points total in PL history (behind only Man City in 2018-19, and whoever wins the title on Sunday). It’s been an unbelievable title race: from City’s 15-game unbeaten run to start the season only being upstaged by Liverpool’s 20-game run, to the Reds holding a seven-point advantage at roughly the halfway mark, to City’s torrid comeback, to City’s current 13-game winning streak proving just too much for Liverpool’s eight-game run. Liverpool have lost just once all season — to City, on Jan. 3 — and they’re long shots to win the title with one game left to play. It sounds cruel, but such is reality against these defending champions.

Back-to-back Golden Boots for Salah?

Mohamed Salah has scored 10 fewer goals this season (22) than he did during his first campaign at Anfield (32), but that’s OK because so has everyone else. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the closest competition for Salah’s award — two behind the Egyptian, just as Harry Kane finished last season. Salah, by the way, is expected to play against Wolves after suffering a concussion and being stretchered off during last weekend’s victory over Newcastle United.

Champions of London up for grabs

Leicester City v. Chelsea — on CNBC [ STREAM ]
Tottenham v. Everton — on SYFY [ STREAM ]
Burnley v. Arsenal — on MSNBC [ STREAM ]

Well, someone has to finish third and fourth, even if it seems like a complete accident. Of the three London clubs still vying for a top-four place, only Chelsea have mathematically locked up Champions League qualification for next season. It’s down to the Blues and Tottenham Hotspur for the capital crown. Arsenal, meanwhile, trail Tottenham by three points — a deficit which could quite easily be overturned on the final day, especially given the emotional toll of Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal in Amsterdam — but it’ll take a gigantic rout on both ends to overturn Spurs’ eight-goal advantage in the goal differential column.

Two top-half places up for grabs

Leicester City v. Chelsea — on CNBC [ STREAM ]
Watford v. West Ham  — on Golf Channel [ STREAM ]

It might not sound like much, but to Leicester City (9th, 51 points) and Watford (10th, 50 points), finishing in the top half will go down as a satisfactory achievement. To West Ham United (11th, 49 points), however, it will have been the absolute bare minimum expectation to start the season, and it needs to be met. It just so happens that the 10th- and 11th-place sides, the Hornets and the Hammers, are set to square off at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

Premier League weekend friendlies: Man Utd-Inter, PL Asia Trophy

Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP
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This weekend in Premier League preseason friendlies sees Liverpool taking on a pair of top European foes, while four PL foes trade blows in Shanghai.

Man City and Wolves move on from significant defeats of Newcastle and West Ham, who in turn will face each other on Saturday.

You can watch Saturday’s Premier League Asia Trophy matches between Wolves and Man City, and Newcastle versus West Ham here on NBC Sports Live.

Meanwhile, Manchester United will tangle with Romelu Lukaku-chasing Inter Milan on Saturday (and, no, the Belgian striker won’t be in uniform).

There’s also a sneaky good match-up of Watford and Bayer Leverkusen in Austria on Saturday, while Sunday’s light docket has Spurs facing Matthijs de Ligt and Juventus in Singapore.

Friday
Borussia Dortmund v. Liverpool (Notre Dame, Indiana)

Saturday
Girona v. Bournemouth
Arsenal
v. Fiorentina (Charlotte)
Fulham v. Brighton and Hove Albion
Cheltenham Town v. Leicester City
Crewe Alexandra v. Burnley
Port Vale v. Burnley
Bromley v. Crystal Palace
Man City 
v. Wolves (Shanghai)
Inter Milan v. Manchester United (Singapore)
Newcastle United v. West Ham (Shanghai)
Northampton Town v. Sheffield United
Preston North End v. Southampton
Watford 
v. Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Sunday
Shrewsbury Town v. Aston Villa
Liverpool 
v. Sevilla (Boston)
Juventus v. Spurs (Singapore)

PL friendly wrap: Pukki leads Norwich past Schalke

Photo by Thomas F. Starke/Bongarts/Getty Images
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London sides went 0-2, while three other Premier League sides won ahead of Friday night’s friendly between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund in Indiana.

[ MORE: Algeria wins AFCON ]

The wins included defeats of Schalke and Monaco, while Brighton and Hove Albion topped lower league Crawley Town.

Schalke 1-2 Norwich City

Teemu Pukki had a goal and an assist, giving hope that the Championship goal collector can bring his game to the Premier League.

Pukki’s 13th minute goal was assisted by Man City loanee Patrick Roberts, and the Finn later assisted Moritz Leitner‘s winner.

Rabbi Matondo scored Schalke’s only goal, and American midfielder Weston McKennie was neither with the starters nor the bench.

Everton 1-0 Monaco

Seamus Coleman scored and Maarten Stekelenburg stopped a penalty as the Toffees handled their Ligue 1 opposition in Switzerland.

Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 ChelseaRECAP

Leandro Damaio scored the lone goal as Chelsea had plenty of chances to win in Christian Pulisic‘s debut. The American came off the bench for the final 25 minutes in Japan.

Nottingham Forest 1-0 Crystal Palace

Albert Adomah scored the lone goal in a win for the Championship side.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 Crawley Town

New signing Taylor Richards‘ late penalty kick was enough for the Seagulls to get a result at home. The Man City midfielder arrived on Thursday.

Liverpool v. Borussia Dortmund (Notre Dame, Indiana) — 8 p.m. ET

Algeria wins Africa Cup of Nations

Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP
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In the words of a Missouri-born rapper, you only get one shot. In Algeria’s case in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, that was true and it was all the Desert Foxes needed to claim their first AFCON title since 1990 with a 1-0 defeat of Senegal on Friday at Cairo International Stadium in Cairo.

Baghdad Bounedjah’s wildly-deflected second minute shot was enough to give Algeria its second AFCON crown.

Senegal out shot Algeria 11-1 on the day, but Sadio Mane and Co. couldn’t find their way over the goal line.

One-time Man City and Southampton player Djamel Belmadi has now managed an AFCON winner and a Gulf Cup of Nations champion (Qatar, 2014).

[ MORE: Ballon d’Or w/o Messi, Ronaldo? ]

Bounedjah’s wild rip after a cut-in from the left bounded into the air and looped into the far corner. Senegal goalkeeper Amigo Gomis made it look more odd with his befuddlement (Scramble, my guy!).

Referee Neant Alioum’s ruling of a penalty to Senegal after Ismaila Sarr’s rip hit the arm of Adlene Guedioura was overturned when review showed the Algeria midfielder’s arm was at his side.

We mean, was this going to be the goal that won Africa’s most important tournament? Yep.

Ajax seals El Tri’s young star Alvarez for $17M

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Ajax has developed a ton of youngsters, and now has a pair of CONCACAF starlets in the fold for 2019-20.

A day after selling Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus for a reported $84 million, the Dutch side has delivered on reports that it wanted Edson Alvarez.

That puts the 21-year-old Mexican defender/defensive midfielder in the Eredivisie side with 18-year-old Dutch-American defender Sergino Dest.

While Dest has yet to break into the full USMNT, playing in the U-20 World Cup this summer, Alvarez already has 28 caps and five goals for El Tri.

He’ll bring a relative wealth of experience from Club America, and Ajax could use him to help offset the sale of Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona. While Alvarez has played a lot of center back in Liga MX, he’s been used at defensive midfielder by Tata Martino with the national team.

The reported fee is $17 million, according to Goal.