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Top Premier League storylines for Week 28

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It’s the last full midweek match day schedule for the Premier League season, and we’ve got some doozies on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday.

[ MORE: PL streaming schedule ]

A London Derby and two relegation six-pointers are on the docket, not to mention we’re fully locked into the “Will they or won’t they?” stage of Liverpool’s thin grip on first place in search of its first Premier League era league crown.

Salty London rivals meet at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea v. Tottenham Hotspur — 3 p.m. ET Wednesday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

In a world where Spurs handle their business against Burnley, the visitors would be thinking about a title push right now (and they still can, with Liverpool and Man City on the schedule). Instead, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men are as salty as their rivals, who lost the League Cup Finals in penalties and sit sixth (Chelsea has a match-in-hand on fourth-place Arsenal and fifth-place Manchester United). Will Kepa Arrizabalaga keep his place?

Safety in focus at St. James’ Park
Newcastle United v. Burnley — 3 p.m. ET Tuesday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

Both Newcastle and Burnley won their last times out to increase their chances of staying in the Premier League, and each side looks ready for the run-in. More points will need to follow, but a victor on Tuesday would certainly feel they’re well on their way to another Premier League season.

Leaders Liverpool look to snap out of scoring funk
Liverpool v. Watford — 3 p.m. ET Wednesday online via NBCSports.com

It’s been 222 minutes since Liverpool last scored a goal. Sadio Mane‘s 48th minute goal against Bournemouth has been met by 0-0 draws with Bayern Munich and Manchester United. There’s no real shame in that, but plucky Watford is aiming for a Europa League berth and would be happy to collect a point at Anfield.

Arsenal locks eyes with Top Four as Cherries hope to steady ship
Arsenal v. Bournemouth — 2:45 p.m. ET Wednesday online via NBCSports.com

Bournemouth has gained just one point from three matches since destroying Chelsea, and has since dipped six points off the race for seventh.

Saints, Cottagers tangle in huge six-pointer
Southampton v. Fulham — 2:45 p.m. ET Wednesday online via NBCSports.com

There’s a chance that both Southampton and Fulham go down to the Championship, but midseason hires Ralph Hasenhuttl and Claudio Ranieri will see each other as the first step toward safety.

Top Premier League storylines for Week 26

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We suppose we should have known no lead is safe, even as well as Liverpool has performed this season.

[ MORE: Sala body identified ]

A pair of draws have the Reds in the neighborhood of losing a seven-point Premier League lead within a week (which of course has technically already evaporated given Man City’s one further game played).

So we begin in Liverpool for our top storylines, even if the Premier League weekend starts in London.

Liverpool is set to bounce back from consecutive draws, right? Right?
Liverpool v. Bournemouth, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

Liverpool is on a three-match win streak against Bournemouth, outscoring the Cherries 11-0. The visitors to Anfield have just one win over Top Six competition this season, although it was against Chelsea just two weeks ago.

But this Liverpool team is feeling unprecedented league pressure, and the Reds need to bounce back from a pair of league draws and a 2-2-2 run in all competitions.

Chelsea meets the leaders as both sides hope to bolster top credentials
Man City v. Chelsea, 11 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

The winner has kept four-straight clean sheets in this series, with Chelsea’s only win the 2-0 defeat of City at Stamford Bridge on Dec. 8. City will know it can at-worst reclaim first place and at-best create a distance from Liverpool. That pressure shouldn’t be a problem, but the heat created by Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain might provide a significant obstacle.

Combustible Spurs-Foxes rivalry sees hosts’ form showing mettle
Tottenham Hotspur v. Leicester City, 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

The visitors have taken at least a point in nine of 12 matches between these two since Leicester City rejoined the Premier League in 2014-15. The Foxes have slipped from their perch as perceived favorites for seventh place, and will certainly hope Spurs’ fine run without Harry Kane and Dele Alli ends at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, perhaps looking too closely at the Champions League.

Solskjaer puts unbeaten Man Utd record on the line at Craven Cottage
Fulham v. Manchester United, 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains unbeaten as Manchester United boss, but there were some lumps in the mashed potatoes last time out. Can Fulham boost its survival hopes with a surprising home win.

Desperate Silva returns to Vicarage Road
Watford v. Everton, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Sports Gold and online via NBCSports.com

Everton looked decent against Manchester City, but moral victories aren’t cutting it for the Goodison Park faithful. Now Marco Silva squares off with the club that fired him for flirting with the Toffees about 14 months ago.

Top Premier League storylines for Week 18

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The Premier League weekend keeps the big boys clear of each other, but the challenges are still tricky for Liverpool and the clubs chasing the Reds.

[ MORE: Rating Mourinho’s MUFC signings ]


Solskjaer faces former club in debut as Man Utd boss 
Cardiff City vs. Manchester United, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC 
STREAM ]

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dazzled as a striker for Manchester United, but floundered at the wheel for Cardiff City as manager. He’ll take his first steps as Red Devils interim manager when he visits the Bluebirds. Who will start in his first XI? And who will seize the chance to restore their Manchester United reputation? Paul Pogba is a good bet for both.

Fire on the touchline when Nuno matches wits with Klopp
Wolves vs. Liverpool, 3 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN 
STREAM ]

Nuno Espirito Santo‘s Wolves have found their footing again, and will be hoping to add to their list of impressive results when Jurgen Klopp brings his unbeaten Reds to town. Wolves lost 3-2 to Spurs, but have beaten Chelsea and drawn Man City, Arsenal, and Manchester United.

How many minutes can Crystal Palace add to its 91-minute clean sheet v. Man City?
Man City vs. Crystal Palace, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN 
STREAM ]

DYK: Only two Premier League sides blanked Man City last season, and one was Crystal Palace (Bonus points if you remembered Huddersfield Town was the other, especially if you’re not a Terriers supporter)? Palace hopes whatever magic worked last year can be recalled for this visit to the Etihad Stadium, and City will know how Liverpool fared on Friday.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Puel’s slumping Leicester City visits red-hot Hazard and Chelsea
Chelsea vs. Leicester City, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on CNBC 
STREAM ]

Leicester has slipped to 12th with just a point from its last three matches, and it’s not going to get any easier at Stamford Bridge. Eden Hazard has a goal and five assists in his last four matches, and scored the lone goal Wednesday in sending Chelsea to the League Cup semifinals with a win over Bournemouth.

Surging Spurs hope Everton’s defensive form stays down
Everton vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 11 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN 
STREAM ]

Marco Silva‘s run up the table has stalled thanks to two losses and two draws starting with their last-second loss in the Merseyside Derby, but Everton has a chance to feel a lot better about its festive season by performing well at Goodison Park against a very much in-form Spurs side. Everton has allowed seven goals in their last four matches.

Top Premier League storylines for Week 17

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The Premier League begins a run of 50 matches in 18 days when Man City hosts Everton to kick off Week 17 on Saturday morning.

[ MORE: Europa League wrap ]

That’s a storyline in itself, but here are five we’re closely monitoring this weekend.


You don’t need a storyline when the Red Devils head to Anfield
Liverpool vs. Manchester United, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN 
[ STREAM ]

This one is easy to put in the win column for the in-form Reds against mercurial Manchester United, but be careful: When Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils hit matches like this, they tend to find something out of nothing.

League disappointment to continue for someone at the Etihad Stadium
Man City vs. Everton, 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN
 [ STREAM ]

The champs are no longer unbeaten in league play following a loss at Chelsea, while the visitors rescued a point against visiting Watford. Neither will want to drop points again on the bounce, and Everton could slip behind West Ham with a loss.

West Ham looks to continue its table surge with London Derby
Fulham vs. West Ham United, 12:30 a.m. ET on NBC STREAM ]

Speaking of the Irons, they very much have a chance to continue a run into contention for fifth or sixth. West Ham has won three matches, scoring nine goals, since losing to Man City, and a forgiving run of fixtures continues with Fulham, Watford, Saints, Burnley, and Brighton over the festive season. Could Manuel Pellegrini‘s men be sitting pretty by Jan. 3?

Tottenham aims for third-straight win as hopeful Clarets arrive at Wembley
Spurs vs. Burnley, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSNSTREAM ]

Sean Dyche‘s Burnley finally picked up its third win of the season with a surprising defeat of Brighton, but going to Tottenham is another story. The Lilywhites are coming off a fine draw at Barcelona to go with two league wins, and the North London Derby loss can be avenged in the League Cup next week. They just cannot overlook the Clarets on Saturday.

Six-point scrap at The John Smith’s Stadium
Huddersfield Town vs. Newcastle Utd, 10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold STREAM ]

The Terriers are three points behind the Magpies heading into this one. The way the relegation scrap is shaping up, anything less than three points in December could sting come May.

Top Premier League storylines for Week 16

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The Premier League begins its third round of games in eight days when Liverpool visits Bournemouth early Saturday.

[ LISTEN: Rebecca Lowe’s new podcast ]

Here’s what we’ll be watching the closest in England and Wales this weekend.


Sorry form could sound death knell for Chelsea’s title hopes
Chelsea vs. Manchester City, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC STREAM ]

The visitors are undefeated, reigning champions, and will be considered favorites when they enter Stamford Bridge to meet a Chelsea side which has won just four of the last 12 points available to it.

Maurizio Sarri‘s men will have to do better against Man City than they did in 2017-18 under Antonio Conte, when the Blues lost a pair of 1-0 contests. A loss Saturday would sink Chelsea 13 points back of City.

Gunners go for 21 against game Terriers
Arsenal vs. Huddersfield Town, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on CNBC STREAM ]

Arsenal toppled Spurs before drawing Manchester United, but would do well to consider Huddersfield Town as ornery as the big boys. The desperate Terriers have found some goals in recent weeks, but need results more than hope now. It seems unlikely to come at the Emirates, but that’s why they play the games.

Hasenhuttl takes charge of Saints for big six-pointer
Cardiff City vs. Southampton, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Sports Gold STREAM ]

Saints have been in the frying pan for some time, but will feel in the center of the fire should they manage to lose to improving Cardiff City on Saturday in Wales. It’s the first match on the bench for new Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, who has an impressive record in Germany.

Tottenham heads to Leicester to face tough-to-topple Foxes
Leicester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 2:45 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN STREAM ]

Unbeaten in six league matches despite the tragic story of their owners’ death and a trip to Thailand to mourn him, Leicester now gets a visit from a Tottenham Hotspur side who’s rebounded from a North London Derby loss to paste Southampton at midweek. Will the Foxes be able to continue their run up the table against a very good Spurs side?

Klopp, Howe match attack-happy wits at the Vitality Stadium
Bournemouth vs. Liverpool, 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN STREAM ]

The Cherries have proved tough-to-beat at home with a 4W-2D-2L record so far but also unable to take down the big boys. Bournemouth is now 0-4 against Top Four contenders despite its seventh-place start to the season. Enter a Liverpool side just as willing to entertain and the chance to hop into first place for at least a few hours, and this has all the ingredients for a fine start to the season.