Matchweek 25 of the 2019-20 Premier League season wraps up on Sunday with a pair of fixtures featuring three of the “big-six” sides, two of which have slipped to mid-table mediocrity, in action…
Burnley v. Arsenal — 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Fun fact: a February meeting between Burnley and Arsenal will decide which of the two sides sits higher in the table after 25 games. If you had bet any amount of money that the Clarets and Gunners would be level on points (30) heading into their matchup on Sunday, you would be in possession of one very valuable betting slip.
How, exactly, did it come to this for Arsenal?
For starters, they have just six wins from 24 PL games this season. Two teams have won fewer than six wins, and they currently sit 19th and 20th (Watford and Norwich City, respectively) in the table. The only thing keeping Mikel Arteta‘s side afloat is the 12 draws, including each of their last three games.
On the bright side, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set to return from a three-game suspension. The Gabonese international is third in the PL with 14 goals this season and has a lethal record against Burnley: seven goals in four PL meetings.
INJURIES: Burnley — OUT: Ashley Barnes (groin), Johann Gudmundsson (hamstring) | Arsenal — OUT: Calum Chambers (knee), Kieran Tierney (shoulder); QUESTIONABLE: Sead Kolasinac (thigh), Shkodran Mustafi (ankle), Reiss Nelson (hamstring), Cedric Soares (knee)
Tottenham Hotspur v. Man City — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
For the first time in nearly 15 months months, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are set to renew their longtime rivalry, doing so for the first time as the managers of Tottenham and Man City, respectively.
For Mourinho, it comes at a time of major transition within the Spurs squad. Gone are Christian Eriksen (Inter Milan) and Harry Kane (injury), leaving Mourinho with just four available attacking players for the foreseeable future, and that includes brand new signing Steven Bergwijn who arrived on Wednesday. According to Mourinho, the Dutch winger will go straight into the team out of necessity.
“We have four attacking players — Son, Lucas, Lamela and Steven — so he has to be involved,” Mourinho said ahead of Sunday. “I would like to give him more time, probably the perfect situation would be to come (in) after the winter break, but that’s not possible.
“It’s not a drama because he’s played with PSV, so he has match fitness, it’s just a question of learning how to play with us, but I don’t think it would be a problem for him to play some minutes.”
As for Guardiola, the rest of the PL campaign figures to be little more than a formality bordering on obligation. Liverpool lead the two-time defending champions by a mind-boggling 22 points with four months of the season still remaining. Finding the small joys and motivations — like beating Mourinho — will have to suffice for satisfaction, at least in league play.
INJURIES: Spurs — OUT: Harry Kane (hamstring), Moussa Sissoko (knee), Ben Davies (ankle) | Man City — QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee), Fernandinho (undisclosed), Benjamin Mendy (undisclosed)