Paddy McNair

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PL Sunday preview: Sunderland-Man United; surging Foxes visit Everton

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Dreams of a top-four finish are quickly slipping away from Manchester United, just as Premier League status has (finally) done for Sunderland; Everton reside in no man’s land, between the top-six miles clear of eighth place, while Leicester City have finally shaken their PL title hangover.

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Sunderland vs. Manchester United — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The objective was clear: Jose Mourinho was expected to return Man United to the PL’s top-four in his first season at Old Trafford. Reality is equally clear, and harsh: with two games in hand, and a seven-point deficit to fourth-place Manchester City to overcome, the Red Devils need their points three at a time from here on out; no side in the PL has drawn more games this season (12 — tied with Middlesbrough). While Mourinho’s men are unbeaten in their last 20 league games, dating all the way back Oct. 29, they’ve won just half of those games, dropping a season-killing 20 points in the process.

Sunderland, on the other hand, have finally run out of lives. After escaping near certain relegation (doing so in stunning fashion each time) in each of the last four seasons, David Moyes will almost certainly (we think) take the Black Cats down to the Championship this summer. 10 points currently stand between last-place Sunderland and Hull City in 17th; even a win on Sunday wouldn’t move them off the bottom of the table. Sunderland have just one win in their last 13 PL games played. One potential silver lining: they did beat United at home last season.

INJURIES: Sunderland — OUT: Jan Kirchoff (knee), Paddy McNair (knee), Duncan Watmore (knee) | Man United — OUT: Juan Mata (groin), Chris Smalling (knee), Phil Jones (toe); QUESTIONABLE: Wayne Rooney (ankle), Ashley Young (knock)

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Spurs apply pressure, Chelsea unfazed ]

Everton vs. Leicester City — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

From relegation-threatened defending champions, to totally clear of the drop zone and safely enjoying mid-table obscurity, all in six weeks’ time — the 2016-17 season has been an emotional roller coaster for Leicester. Harkening back to last season’s title-winning fairytale is Jamie Vardy‘s timely return to form, as the reigning Player of the Season has bagged five goals in his last five PL games to match his tally from his first 22 league appearances this season. After 25 games, the point at which Claudio Ranieri was fired, the Foxes sat 18th in the league table. Five straight wins have seen Craig Shakespeare’s side rise all the way up to 11th with a chance to climb into the top half on Sunday.

As for Everton, a derby defeat at the hands of Liverpool, followed by a 1-1 draw with Manchester United three days later, brought to a screeching halt all momentum created by a stretch of just one loss in 12 games (eight wins) from Boxing Day to St. Patrick’s Day. Romelu Lukaku (21 goals) remains top of the Golden Boot race, two clear of Harry Kane, though the big Belgian failed to find the back of the net in each of the last week’s disappointing results. Prior to last weekend, the 23-year-old had scored nine goals in five PL games.

INJURIES: Everton — OUT: Ramiro Funes Mori (knee), Seamus Coleman (leg), James McCarthy (hamstring), Yannick Bolasie (knee), Muhamed Besic (knee); RETURNING: Morgan Schneiderlin (calf) | Leicester — OUT: Wes Morgan (back); QUESTIONABLE: Nampalys Mendy (ankle)

PL Sunday preview: Spurs host Everton; Man City visit Sunderland

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Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City need wins to strengthen their respective positions in the top-four race, while Everton are looking to keep their hopes of such a finish a live, and Sunderland are… well, just hoping to get off the bottom of the table.

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Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Six games — that’s all that stands between Tottenham and an unbeaten season of home fixtures in the Premier League, a most delightful send-off in 118-year-old White Hart Lane’s final season. The last time Spurs lost a league game to Everton, it was December 2012, at Goodison Park (eight PL games unbeaten — three wins, five draws). Harry Kane bagged a hat trick — his third in nine games across all competitions — in Spurs’ demolition of Stoke City, and is now level with Alexis Sanchez (17 goals) in his bid for a second straight PL Golden Boot; Everton’s Romelu Lukaku completes a three-way tie atop the goalscoring charts.

Spurs would go six points clear of fifth-place Arsenal with a victory on Sunday, setting themselves up with a surely insurmountable advantage (as if we haven’t heard that before) heading into the season’s final 11 games. Everton, meanwhile, would move to just three points back of the Gunners with a win, and just two points back of Manchester United for sixth (having played one more game than each).

INJURIES: Tottenham — OUT: Danny Rose (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Harry Kane (knock), Toby Aldeweireld (groin), Jan Vertonghen (hamstring) | Everton — OUT: Yannick Bolasie (knee), Muhamed Besic (knee)

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — As the kids would say, it was “lit” ]

Sunderland vs. Man City — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

There existed a brief period — five whole days, as it may have been — where Sunderland looked to be on their way to yet another late-season miracle, staving off relegation from the PL in the process. A draw against Tottenham, followed by a 4-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace, and David Moyes‘ side look to be surging. But, back-to-back losses, to Southampton and Everton, by a combined score of 6-0, and the Black Cats are once again bottom of the league with high-flying Man City (three straight wins, by a combined score of 8-1) visiting the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

If the 2016-17 season turns out to be Sergio Aguero’s final one at the Etihad Stadium, he looks determined to go out in style. The Argentine superstar has scored twice and assisted once in each of City’s last two games (all competitions). “I have three months to give my best and, as I always said, in June it will be seen,” Aguero said, when asked about recent praise from his club and manager. “One thing is that the club officially says it and another thing is to tell me. My intention is to stay.”

INJURIES: Sunderland — OUT: Jack Rodwell (hamstring), Jan Kirchoff (knee), Victor Anichebe (knee), Paddy McNair (knee), Lee Cattermole (hip) | Man City — OUT: Gabriel Jesus (ankle), Vincent Kompany (knock), Ilkay Gundogan (knee)

Moyes updates injury to USMNT midfielder Lynden Gooch

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American midfielder Lynden Gooch was injured playing for the Sunderland U-23s earlier this week, and it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back anytime soon.

Sunderland boss David Moyes is disappointed in injuries for young players Gooch and Paddy McNair, and lumping them together doesn’t sound good for USMNT fans. McNair will miss the season with a knee injury.

[ MORE: New Spurs deal for Kane ]

It doesn’t seem as bad for Gooch, the 20-year-old California native with nearly 500 minutes for the Black Cats between the EFL Cup and Premier League this season.

From Sky Sports:

“Looks like Gooch has damaged a ligament in his ankle. He is seeing a specialist today and then we will have a clearer outcome.”

Stay tuned.

Follow @NicholasMendola

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Sunderland

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  • Liverpool has not lost since Matchweek 2
  • Sunderland has not won vs LFC since 2012
  • Liverpool leads the PL in goals with 30

One team may have found a springboard. The other could possibly be coming back down to Earth.

Sunderland pulled off the bottom of the league with a 3-0 win over Hull City last weekend, the club’s second win in league play this season, and second win in a row. Liverpool, meanwhile, was stymied by Southampton last weekend in a 0-0 draw, marking just four dropped points since August.

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Now, they meet at Anfield on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Nonetheless, this matchup still presents 2nd vs. 19th, and represents a chance for both sides to make statements. For the Black Cats, the situation is obvious, with a chance for two straight wins for the first time since January and a clear broadcast to the other relegation candidates that they won’t go down quietly. For Liverpool, without a matchup against a top 6 team until January 16, they cannot risk losing ground with Chelsea steamrolling the rest of the league.

Last season’s final meeting between these teams saw these two teams draw at Anfield. The Reds have led the league in points since that time. Liverpool has just one notable injury, with Adam Lallana likely to miss out with a groin injury. Sunderland lost defender Paddy McNair to a torn ACL last week, while Papy Djilobodji is suspended.

What They’re Saying

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “We couldn’t be further away from having the points already. We will not underestimate them, 100 percent not. If one person in the stadium would underestimate them, it would be the first mistake we could make.”

Sunderland manager David Moyes“Anybody who plays against Liverpool has to park the double-decker bus, but we also have two centre forwards scoring goals.

Prediction

Sunderland may have won two straight, but that’s come against Bournemouth and Hull, two vulnerable teams especially when struck early as both have been against the Black Cats. Liverpool is too lethal for Sunderland to keep out at Anfield, and the Reds will roll 3-1.

Sunderland 1-1 West Brom: Black Cats fight back to stop the rot

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  • Chadli gave West Brom lead
  • Van Aanholt equalized late on
  • Sunderland still without a win
  • West Brom unbeaten in three

Sunderland battled back to draw 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday at the Stadium of Light but David Moyes‘ side remain without a win this season in the Premier League.

Nacer Chadli gave West Brom the lead and the Baggies looked dangerous on the break through the game. Sunderland huffed and puffed and finally left back Patrick Van Aanholt equalized with seven minutes to go to salvage a point for the Black Cats.

With the draw Sunderland is now on two points for the season and moves off bottom spot, while West Brom now has nine points after seven games.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sunderland had a glorious chance to go ahead earlier on as Paddy McNair sent a superb pass through to Defoe and he went one on one with the goalkeeper Ben Foster but dragged his effort wide. Huge opportunity wasted.

Chadli then controlled a cross from Matt Phillips and his shot was saved by Jordan Pickford as the Baggies woke up after a slow start.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

West Brom took the lead via a counter attack as Phillips raced free and played in Chadli who slotted home his third goal in as many games. 1-0 to the Baggies as the Stadium of Light was stunned into silence.

James McClean then launched a counter attack for West Brom but his cross to the back post just evaded Salomon Rondon.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]  

In the second half Jan Kirchhoff had to be stretchered off the pitch with an injury, causing a big reshuffle for Moyes as Van Aanholt came on.

West Brom continued to look dangerous on the break with Darren Fletcher‘s volley saved well by Pickford, while Defoe had a shout for a penalty kick at the other end. West Brom’s McClean then appeared to kick out at Wahbi Khazri but was only booked.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sunderland pushed hard for the equalizer and Defoe was found free on the edge of the box but his shot was superbly blocked by Jonny Evans.

Late on West Brom were dangerous on the break as Rondon’s effort was saved well down low by Pickford.

Sunderland’s equalizes arrived in the 83rd minute as Duncan Watmore and Van Aanholt surged forward and the latter got on the end of a loose ball in the box which he into the ground and in. 1-1. Relief for the Black Cats as PVA had his second goal of the season.

The Baggies nearly snatched it moments later as Phillips’ low drive just evaded two of his teammates at the back post, while Defoe’s late free kick went wide as Sunderland had to settle for a point.