Premier League Storylines

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Top Premier League storylines: Week 12

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We all know that the highlight of the Premier League weekend is its final act before the international break, but there’s more going on besides Liverpool-Man City.

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Below we take a look at the key storylines to keep an eye on across the PL this weekend.

1 v 2

  • Liverpool v. Manchester City, Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN

This is it: The date circled by both of these fan bases and most neutrals when the Premier League fixture list was released this summer. Man City’s injury list is long and Anfield has been a fortress, but the onus is on the league leaders to handle their business against the two-time reigning champions.

The story lines within this match alone are myriad: Is Ederson‘s injury a mirage? Can City’s marauding full backs deal with the Reds’ wing wizardry? Plus, will the love between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp take a hit following a tense week of diving talk and a more tense battle on the pitch?

And let’s face it: VAR is gonna have something to say before the day is done on Merseyside.

Foxes can make Arsenal even smaller in rear view mirror

  • Leicester City v. Arsenal, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN

The Gunners and Foxes know that at least one of the league’s top two will drop points this week, and Unai Emery knows the table can look a lot cozier if he can take three points from a Leicester City side which is overachieving by many metrics.

Chelsea finishes promising stretch of schedule at home

  • Chelsea v. Crystal Palace, 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN

Since losing to Liverpool, Chelsea has won five-straight in league play. The Blues have outscored Brighton, Saints, Newcastle, Burnley, and Watford by a combined score of 13-4. Palace is the last match of a winnable run before Man City comes calling after the international break.

Improving Seagulls hope Red Devils are weary

  • Manchester United v. Brighton, 9 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN

Graham Potter‘s Brighton and Hove Albion have won three of four to move within two points of fifth. United’s improved form took a step back at Bournemouth but picked right back up with a blowout of Partizan Belgrade on Thursday. Both sides will be looking for three points.

Blades aim to carve another point from a top end foe

  • Tottenham Hotspur v. Sheffield United, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN

The Blades have beaten Arsenal, drawn Chelsea, and probably deserved a point against Liverpool. Now they had to a Tottenham side whose been anything but consistent, and Chris Wilder‘s men will be thinking another result is in the offing.

Top Premier League storylines: Week 11

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Matchweek 11 of the 2019-20 Premier League season is here, as the table starts to take shape as we head into November.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

Below we take a look at the key storylines to keep an eye on across the PL this weekend.

Liverpool’s stars fresh for trip to Villa

  • Aston Villa v. Liverpool, Saturday, 11 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Jurgen Klopp‘s squad rotation worked perfectly in midweek, as his star players were rested and Liverpool’s youngsters got some great experience, and a penalty kick win, against Arsenal. The A squad now travel to Aston Villa as they remain top of the table and unbeaten after another gritty win against Tottenham. Fabinho is emerging as a leading man for Liverpool as the balance he provides in midfield is key to Klopp’s counter-press being launched, while Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah continue to chip in and go about their business.

Joel Matip being out injured is a little bit of a concern, with neither Joe Gomez or Dejan Lovren taking their chance to prove they should be the permanent stand-in for Matip. Aston Villa are sweating on he fitness of captain Jack Grealish, while Wesley‘s battle with Virgil Van Dijk is one to watch in this game. Newly-promoted Villa will cause Liverpool problems but Klopp’s side will expect to leave Villa Park with all three points as their grit and focus has been spot on in the opening months of the season.

Man City aim to batter sorry Saints

  • Man City v. Southampton, Saturday, 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN

Manchester City beat Southampton 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday in the League Cup and that didn’t tell the whole story. Pep Guardiola‘s side, which was littered with teenagers, dominated possession and chances and only when they took their foot off the accelerator in the final 30 minutes did Saints pull a goal back and look somewhat dangerous in attack. Man City will bring the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Fernandinho back into the starting lineup and that’s a scary prospect for a Southampton side still reeling from that historic 9-0 defeat at home against Leicester City last week. Guardiola’s City are ruthless and if there’s any sign of Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s Saints feeling sorry for themselves, another 9-0 drubbing could be coming up…

Pulisic aims to regain momentum as Chelsea face stingy Watford

  • Watford v. Chelsea, Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET, on NBC

Christian Pulisic‘s perfect hat trick against Burnley stole the headlines last Saturday, but the USMNT star came back down to earth with a bit of a bump on Wednesday. He started and played 70 minutes in Chelsea’s 2-1 home defeat to Man United in the League Cup, and he underwhelmed on the left flank. Pulisic, 21, is still learning and his game is adapting to England and he will have these ups and downs. It is also possible that in games against teams like Burnley and Watford will be the ones where he has more space and can show off his supreme pace and dribbling skills.

Watford will not give Pulisic (if he starts ahead of Willian and Hudson-Odoi) and Chelsea’s other attackers much space, as Quique Sanchez Flores has shored things up since the 8-0 drubbing by Man City. Watford have drawn each of their last three games in the PL and Ben Foster has been in inspired form in goal. He will need to keep that going against in-form Chelsea this weekend, and all eyes will be on Pulisic to see if he can regain the momentum from last week.

Man United aim to continue away day run

  • Bournemouth v. Man United, Saturday, 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN

Three away wins on the trot has Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United in a buoyant mood heading down to the South Coast this weekend. Marcus Rashford is scoring goals, Anthony Martial is back fit and the Red Devils are finally showing an end product, even if scoring penalty kicks is still a struggle for them…

Bournemouth have shored things up defensively but surprisingly they are struggling to score goals. That has never been a problem for Eddie Howe‘s side and the balance of the Cherries just seems a little off early in the season. United need a win to push closer to the top four and something seems to have clicked for Solskjaer’s side with Scott McTominay and Fred putting up a shield in midfield and the pace of Daniel James, Martial and Rashford reunited in attack. This will be a tight encounter but United should have the extra quality in attack to edge it.

Who needs the win more: Everton or Tottenham?

  • Everton v. Tottenham, Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN

Two teams languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table and desperate for a win meet at Goodison Park. Everton and Spurs can both say they’ve been unlucky so far this season, and it’s hard to disagree with that. Maybe that is why both Marco Silva and Mauricio Pochettino seem fairly relaxed even though their teams have struggled. For Everton, late VAR drama cost them at Brighton last time out as Silva’s side didn’t take their chances and were punished.

That said, their home form has been impressive this season with all three wins coming at Goodison. For Spurs, they’ve been wretched on their travels and even though they took the lead at Liverpool last weekend, the disjointed nature of their display in midfield and the shaky defensive performance showcased why Pochettino is pulling his hair out. Trying to shoehorn Kane, Son, Eriksen and Alli into the same team remains an issue for Poch, and the same could be said for Everton as they tweak their frontline with Richarlison, Walcott, Bernard and Calvert-Lewin in attack. Both team are desperate for a big three points, and this game will not be pretty.

Top Premier League storylines: Week 9

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Week 9 of the 2019-20 Premier League season is upon us, back from the international break and fast approaching the start of the busiest period of the season in just over a month’s time.

[ MORE: Spurs’ Son happy South Korea “unscathed” in North Korea qualifier ]

Here’s what to keep an eye on this weekend…

Liverpool’s perfect start on the line at Old Trafford 

For all of Man United’s struggles since Sir Alex Ferguson‘s departure in 2013, Liverpool have only beaten the Red Devils three out of 12 PL meetings (four draws), including a solitary victory at Old Trafford back in March 2014. The major difference between those Liverpool teams and the current edition is, of course, the Reds’ current title-storming pace. Jurgen Klopp‘s side will put its 100-percent record on the line on Sunday. Any other team will believe they can walk into present-day Old Trafford and leave with a victory, but it’s always that much trickier anytime it’s a derby the nature of Liverpool and Man United.

Man City in desperate need of sharp turnaround

Last time out, Man City suffered a thorough home defeat at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers, dropping them eight points off the pace of Liverpool just eight games into the season. At the risk of forgetting recent history (as in, less than a year ago), things are quickly trending toward Liverpool running away from the pack, including the two-time defending champions. City didn’t lose their first game until Dec. 8 last season. Pep Guardiola‘s side has already lost twice this season, which they avoided doing until Dec. 22 a year ago.

When will Spurs right the ship? (Will they?)

Not even five months removed from appearing in the Champions League final, Tottenham are in a full-on crisis. Mauricio Pochettino appears to have lost the dressing room, largely because chairman Daniel Levy denied a number of outgoing transfers to players currently performing well below par — those facts are probably very closely linked with one another. Losing 3-0 away to Brighton & Hove Albion, as they did last time out, only served to highlight the glaring problems at Spurs. Anything but a victory over 20th-place Watford would be a disaster of an even higher order.

Would Silva survive another dismal defeat?

Marco Silva‘s employment as Everton manager looks more and more tenuous every time his Toffees leave the field of play. Following four straight defeats to Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Man City and Burnley, how much longer will owner Farhad Moshiri give the Portuguese to turn results around?

Top Premier League storylines: Week 8

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Week 8 of the 2019-20 Premier League season is upon us, quickly before the second-to-last international break of the calendar year.

[ EUROPA LEAGUE: Man United held to 0-0, Wolves win | Arsenal run rampant ]

Beyond the obvious and evergreen — which one of Liverpool and Manchester City will slip up next? — here’s what to keep an eye on this weekend…

If Leicester can beat Liverpool, they’re really real 

  • Liverpool v. Leicester City, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and

There’s no doubt about which side has been the PL’s surprise performer through seven weeks: it’s third-place Leicester. Thus far, the Foxes’ biggest victory came against a struggling Tottenham Hotspur. A victory over unbeaten and perfect Liverpool, at Anfield? Now, that would be a massive statement and a real signal of intent. Throw in the fact that Brendan Rodgers is set to return to Anfield for the first time since departing as Liverpool manager in 2015, and this is easily the most intriguing game of the weekend.

Does it get worse (again) for Man United?

  • Newcastle United v. Manchester United, Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN

Three wins from 10 games (all competitions), including just two in the PL, to start the season: it’s just not good enough for Man United, is it? Teams that United have failed to beat already: Wolves, Southampton and West Ham, among others. Add Newcastle to the list? Any other time, it would be unthinkable to consider it, but these aren’t Sir Alex Ferguson‘s Red Devils, so why not? Newcastle, however, sit 19th and have even fewer wins in the PL (one). Something has to give, probably.

Pulisic to play?

  • Southampton v. Chelsea, Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Christian Pulisic has made exactly one appearance for Chelsea — a 90-minute shift in the Blues’ 7-1 victory over League Two side Grimsby Town in the League Cup — since the start of September. Since making three starts and on substitute appearance in Chelsea’s first four PL games of the season, hardly a sniff of first-team action for the 21-year-old American. He wasn’t even in the team to face Lille in the Champions League on Wednesday. At best, there’s a small disconnect between Pulisic and manager Frank Lampard. At worst, Lampard doesn’t rate him whatsoever and won’t be giving him any opportunities anytime soon. Sunday’s clash with Southampton — Chelsea’s fifth game in 14 days — is as good of a chance as any for Pulisic to play, even if it’s only down to squad rotation.

Newly promoted and already up against it

  • Norwich City v. Aston Villa, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Norwich and Villa were promoted to the PL together, now they appear set to battle relegation together — perhaps against one another. We’re only seven games into the season, but they have just three wins between them and enter the weekend 17th and 18th in the PL table, respectively.

Top PL storylines: Matchweek 4

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The Premier League kicks into high gear for the last matchday before the international break, headlined and closed out by another highly-anticipated North London Derby.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ] 

Along with Arsenal-Tottenham, there are plenty of other games to keep an eye on this week. Here are this week’s top Premier League storylines.

North London Derby

  • Arsenal v. Tottenham, Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN

Excitement and expectation will grow all weekend heading into the first Arsenal-Tottenham matchup of the young season. The Gunners come off a 3-0 defeat that was at times indicitave of that scoreline and at times now. However, this week could see the introduction of Alexandre Lacazette playing alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe, which would delight Arsenal’s fans, even though defensively there are still major questions about new signing David Luiz. Mesut Ozil may even feature as well.

On the other hand, Tottenham has had an up and down start to the season, seeming to lack in creativity until Christian Eriksen enters the fray. But a 1-0 loss to Newcastle last week showed manager Mauricio Pochettino there was much to work on. Of course, prior form is always out the window in a match like this one.

Can Man United Bounce Back? 

  • Southampton v. Manchester United, Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN

It’s been two weeks of missed penalty kick drama and a shocking 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace that Man United has had to navigate recently. Now, leaving the friendly confines of Old Trafford may be the best medicine for this side in turmoil. Many veterans have either left or are on their way out the door, and the young squad still appears to be finding its form. Man United then has a good opportunity against a struggling Southampton.

Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side won over Brighton and Hove Albion in a battle between two south coast clubs, but Southampton was overmatched against not only Liverpool earlier this season, but Burnley too. Southampton is going to need Danny Ings to show the form that made him a Liverpool player in the first place if Southampton wants to come away with at least a point on Saturday.

Jumpstarting Everton’s Offense

  • Everton v. Wolves, Sunday, 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN

One of the most perplexing storylines to follow this year has been the play – or lack thereof – in attacking areas by Everton. After signing Moise Kean and Alex Iwobi – the latter on transfer deadline day – to add to a strong attacking corps on paper, it seemed Everton could possibly take a step forward this season. It’s still early, of course, but the Toffees have recorded just one Premier League goal through three games this season. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Richarlison are all still waiting to make a big impact this season. Perhaps it can come against one of the best of the rest in Wolves.

Raul Jimenez appears to be the center forward Everton wishes it had, strong, powerful, but also expertly technical on the ball. Most importantly, he’s finishing consistently now, both in the league and abroad. As Wolves looks to put space between the mid-tier clubs and break into the top six, this match at Everton could prove a huge result for Nuno Espirito Santos’ side.