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PL Sunday preview: Chelsea look to extend perfect start; Arsenal vs. Everton

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Life in the Europa League spells a harsh reality for Chelsea and Arsenal this season: Thursday night games followed by the quick turnaround to Premier League action on Sunday.

[ MORE: What did we learn in the Premier League, Week 6? ]

West Ham United vs. Chelsea — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Following wins by Liverpool and Manchester City on Saturday, Chelsea enter Sunday’s clash on the other side London, where they’ll take on a West Ham side that only last week picked up its first points of the season, third in the PL table. The Blues are, however — along with the Reds — one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the PL. Maurizio Sarri has stabilized Chelsea following a summer of tumult and turnover, thanks in large part to a series of dazzling performances by Eden Hazard — one of the figures at the center of the controversy this summer — as the Belgian has racked up five goals and a pair of assists in just over 300 minutes. His hat trick last weekend helped the Blues to a perfect 5-for-5 start to the season.

West Ham, on the other hand, finally have something to show for their efforts after appointing Manuel Pellegrini as manager and spending more than $100 million on transfers in the summer. All it took was one win to climb out of the bottom-three. Andriy Yarmolenko bagged a brace in the win over Everton, leaving Pellegrini more than pleased after showing faith in the Ukrainian during his first few weeks in the PL.

“I said at the start that Andriy needs a few weeks to get used to playing in the Premier League,” Pellegrini said this week. “He has a lot of quality, we know that, but in this league you can’t just play with quality.

“He demonstrated against Everton that it was the correct moment. He did it very well. After this performance, we must demand him to give more, because he’s able to be a top player for us.

INJURIES: West Ham — OUT: Manuel Lanzini (knee), Winston Reid (knee), Andy Carroll (ankle); QUESTIONABLE: Marko Arnautovic (knee) | Chelsea — QUESTIONABLE: Pedro (shoulder)

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

Another side enjoying a purple patch of results of late is Arsenal, winners of three straight after defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea to start the season. Unai Emery has worked out a decent enough formula, though the Gunners are yet to keep a clean sheet this season (their 9 goals conceded puts them in the bottom-half of the league in the goals-allowed column). Even star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang acknowledged his side’s defensive struggles following Thursday’s 4-2 victory over Vorskla Poltava in the Europa League.

“I think we played well in the first half and at the beginning of the second as well and we scored four goals, but we need to improve and fight to not concede goals like we did in the last few minutes.”

Everton’s season has also been marked by a drastic difference between the first two games and the three which followed thereafter, only in reverse of Arsenal’s turnaround. After impressing in their first two games, the Toffees have collected just two points from the last three games. Their struggles have been, in part, down to the absence of Richarlison, who scored three goals in the first two games of the season before earning a red card and a three-game ban for head-butting Adam Smith during the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth. Injuries throughout the team proved costly against West Ham last weekend, and not much has improved on that front. Defensive pillars Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka remain out, while Seamus Coleman and Yerry Mina will undergo late fitness tests ahead of Sunday’s kickoff.

INJURIES: Arsenal — OUT: Sead Kolasinac (knee), Laurent Koscielny (achilles), Carl Jenkinson (ankle), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (ankle), Lucas Torreira (knee)| Everton — OUT: Phil Jagielka (knee), Michael Keane (head), Andre Gomes (hamstring), James McCarthy (leg); QUESTIONABLE: Yerry Mina (foot) Seamus Coleman (foot)

PL Sunday preview: West Ham chasing first point, visiting Everton

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures is all about place 11 through 20 in the league table, as a pair of early-season relegation battlers are in action against sides occupying placed they presently dream of making their own: mid-table.

[ MORE: What did we learn from PL Saturday, Week 5? ]

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Burnley — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Burnley finished last season seventh in the PL table, while Wolves were busy winning the Championship and securing their place in the top flight this season. Based solely on their places in the football world five months ago, Burnley should be the mid-table side while Wolves battle every second to leave the relegation zone behind. Fortunately for the Clarets — and regrettably for Wolves — we’re barely 10 percent of the way through the 2018-19 season, so there’s plenty of time to right the early-season wrongs — or, to wrong the rights.

When the two sides meet at Molineux Stadium on Sunday, Sean Dyche‘s side — no longer dealing with the possible distraction of the Europa League — will be seeking its first win of the season, and first point(s) since their opening-day draw with Southampton. Dyche isn’t panicking yet, though, because he’s been through plenty or periods just like this one before.

“When you are good you are never that good and when you are bad you are never that bad, and we have to bear that in mind. The players are close to something, but we have to tidy up at both ends.”

INJURIES: Wolves — OUT: Raul Jimenez (knock), Ivan Cavaleiro (back) | Burnley — OUT: Ben Gibson (abdomen), Steven Defour (calf), Nick Pop (shoulder), Robbie Brady (hamstring)

Everton vs. West Ham United — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Things could actually be worse for Burnley, though: they could be West Ham, who are without a single point after four games and face the typically tough task of an away trip to take on ninth-place Everton. The arrival of Manuel Pellegrini was supposed to stabilize the Hammers and turn them into a force to be reckoned with sooner than later — at least, that was the place. So far, not a single thing has gone right: just two goals scored while conceding 10. After spending well over $100 million during the summer transfer window — including a club-record fee of $45 million on mercurial attacker Felipe Anderson — the expectation was that a manager with Pellegrini’s pedigree, a Premier League winner himself, would finally lift the east London club out of years of mid-to-lower-table mediocrity.

Perhaps the climb begins on Sunday, with Everton missing a number of key figures due to injuries and suspension. With Michael Keane, Seamus Colemand and Phil Jagielka suffering from various injuries, Marco Silva will have to piece together a makeshift defensive unit. Further up the field, Richarlison is serving the second of his three-game ban for head-butting Bournemouth’s Adam Smith.

INJURIES: Everton — OUT: Richarlison (suspension), Seamus Coleman (foot), Phil Jagielka (knee), Michael Keane (head), Andre Gomes (hamstring), James McCarthy (leg) | West Ham — OUT: Manuel Lanzini (knee), Winston Reid (knee), Andy Carroll (ankle)

Wolves, 10-man Everton in electric 2-2

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Richarlison scored two goals for 10-man Everton, but Ruben Neves scored and posted an assist on the equalizer as the Toffees and Wolves drew 2-2 at the Molineux Stadium on Saturday.

Mexican international Raul Jimenez scored said equalizer, which came against an Everton side which played down a man for 50 minutes following a controversial red card to Phil Jagielka.

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A boisterous Molineux settled into watching Everton having the better of early play, and Seamus Coleman forced an early save out of Rui Patricio.

Richarlison opened his account just a few minutes after collecting a yellow card. The Brazilian found Michael Keane‘s knockdown of a Leighton Baines free kick to make it 1-0 to the Toffees.

The Brazilian then led a 2v1 break, but opted for the outside of his right foot instead of the left for a cross, flubbing the chance to find Theo Walcott. Wolves broke right back, with Jordan Pickford saving a Helder Costa attempt.

The game changed wildly when Jagielka’s lunging recovery attempt of a casual touch clattered into the ankle of Diego Jota.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

And Neves curled the ensuing free kick upper 90 in sensational fashion, sending the clubs to the locker rooms level at one.

The game remained even, the pouring rain certainly depriving the match of a certain amount of flow.

Two saves marked the second half as it reached the 60th minute, with Cenk Tosun denied by Patricio and Wolves’ Jimenez blocked by Pickford.

Richarlison nearly had an assist when he knocked down a cross into the path of Walcott, but the ex-Arsenal man couldn’t get purchase on his shot.

And then he put the Toffees ahead, rewarding his manager for both buying him and leaving him in the game on yellow. It was a cute curling effort inside the far post and beyond the reach of a diving Patricio.

But hold on! Neves sent a beautiful cross over the head of a leaping Keane, and Jimenez buried his header to make it 2-2 with 10 minutes to play.

Huddersfield 0-2 Everton: Toffees rolling

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  • Everton unbeaten in four, two straight wins
  • Huddersfield three points above drop zone
  • Terriers have Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal to play

Everton beat Huddersfield Town 2-0 at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday with a goal in each half doing the job for the Toffees.

Cenk Tosun scored in the first half then Idrissa Gueye wrapped things up as Sam Allardyce‘s sit steady in eighth place in the table, while Huddersfield are now just three points off the relegation zone with three tough games to go.

With the win Everton have 48 points, while Huddersfield remain on 33 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Huddersfield put plenty of pressure on Everton early on and the Terriers thought they had a penalty kick but referee Lee Probert waved away calls.

Rajiv Van la Parra went down in the box under contact from Nikola Vlasic but nothing was given and from the resulting corner Alex Pritchard slammed over.

Wayne Rooney made a tremendous block as Huddersfield continued to press high and cause Everton problems. Then the sucker punch arrived.

Everton took the lead just before the break as Theo Walcott raced clear, then fed Tosun who had plenty of work to do.

The Turkish international striker finished calmly across the goal with a precise finish. 1-0 to Everton and Allardyce had a huge smile on his face.

In the second half Seamus Coleman almost made it 2-0 but he couldn’t quite get on the end of a free kick, while at the other end Huddersfield were tentative with their finishing around the box.

Pritchard had another effort at the near post but he snatched it as Huddersfield pushed for the equalizer but Everton were fairly comfortable, even if their fans gave Allardyce plenty of abuse from the away end.

Gueye then sealed the win as Oumar Niasse crossed and Leighton Baines teed up the Senegalese midfielder to struck home. Game. Set. Match.

Swansea 1-1 Everton: Swans grab a point

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  • Own goal from Naughton put Everton ahead
  • Andre Ayew equalizes
  • Swans five points above bottom three

Swansea battled back to nick a point against Everton at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, but Carlos Carvalhal‘s men remain in the relegation scrap.

An own goal from Kyle Naughton gave Everton a first half lead but 20 minutes from time Jordan Ayew equalized to keep Swansea’s good home form going.

With the point the Swans are now one place above the relegation zone but have a five-point cushion, while Everton remain in ninth place.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Swansea did all the pressing early on as Carlos Carvalhal’s men took the game to the Toffees in South Wales.

Jordan Ayew had a shot cleared off the line by Leighton Baines and then Cenk Tosun also hacked away from danger as the Swans pushed hard.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Yannick Bolasie headed wide and then Michael Keane nodded over as Everton improved before the half.

Everton the took the lead. Both Bolasia and Gueye has shots saved superbly by Lukasz Fabianski but the ball came off Naughton and went in. 1-0 to the Toffees. Unlucky for Swansea.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

In the second half Theo Walcott set up Gueye with a great chance but the midfielder got his header all wrong.

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Ayew then equalized for Swansea on his return from suspension and it came in fortuitous fashion.

Alfie Mawson’s header fell to Tom Carroll who got his finish all wrong but the ball dropped to Ayew to finish and send the home fans wild. 1-1.

Everton were more than happy with a point, despite Seamus Coleman hitting the bar late on, as Swansea ran out of steam and couldn’t grab a winner. Sam Allardyce was once again targeted by Everton’s fans as they hit out at the Toffees’ negative tactics.