Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Top Premier League storylines for Week 12

Leave a comment

The UEFA Champions League and Europa League midweek action has only set the table for what should be a remarkable weekend of movement on the Premier League table, highlighted by one of the best chess matches in recent managerial memory.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

The Manchester Derby, subtitled Pep vs. Mou, Round 3
Man City vs. Manchester United, 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Manchester City is firing on all cylinders ahead of this one, with a 12-1 combined scoreline in its last two matches and just a single goal allowed in its last seven matches in all competitions, but its rivals have had that little bit of something to get the job done against the odds in recent weeks (Most recently a 2-1 smash-and-grab comeback defeat of Juventus in the Champions League).

Since Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho ascended to the top chairs of Manchester City and Manchester United, the home team has a record of 1W-1D-3L in the derby. The lone win is United’s 1-0 League Cup ouster of City in 2016.

The last one, of course, was the memorable 3-2 comeback win punctuated by a Paul Pogba– and Alexis Sanchez-authored “not so fast” as Man City attempted to clinch its Premier League title on April 7.

The Foxes return home from owner’s funeral for King Power tribute
Leicester City vs. Burnley, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN

Leicester’s defeat of Cardiff City one week after the death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was emotional, but the heavy hearts extended into a trip to Thailand for his funeral and now a first home match without their beloved leader. It’s difficult to imagine what it will be like playing in the building for the first time since the helicopter crash outside the ground that claimed five lives including Srivaddhanaprabha following the 1-1 draw with West Ham. Our thoughts remain with the Leicester community.

Marco Silva‘s Toffees meet massive test at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea vs. Everton, 9:15 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN

Everton is really finding itself, with Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson the standout performers for new boss Marco Silva. But its another first year manager who is exceeding expectations on the job. Given Man City’s task in facing United for a derby, it’s not crazy to think Maurizio Sarri will have Chelsea atop the Premier League table if it can handle the Toffees.

Reds hope to find mojo against defensively-challenged Fulham
Liverpool vs. Fulham, 7 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN

The Reds just haven’t been right of late, and that’s underlined, italicized, and bolded by the 2-0 Champions League setback in Serbia. On paper, there is no way Liverpool doesn’t explode for a bunch of goals.

Palace looks to shake slump with derby date against Spurs
Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC

It’s been 1-0 the last five times these teams have met, with Spurs on a four-match winning run. Tottenham came back to topple PSV Eindhoven earlier this week and kept its Champions League dreams alive, and it heads into Selhurst Park to meet an Eagles team which desperately needs a good and memorable performance.

Top Premier League storylines for Week 11

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Changing clocks abroad could wreak havoc on your alarm clock this weekend, so be sure to check the kickoff time for your favorite team as the Premier League returns this weekend.

[ CATCH UP: Watch full PL match replays ]

The slate starts in Bournemouth at 8:30 a.m. ET on Saturday and rolls through Monday, when the clocks meet their English counterparts and Huddersfield Town meets Fulham at 3 p.m. ET.

Here are your top storylines for the weekend:

Heavy-hearted Foxes honor deceased owner in Wales
Cardiff City vs. Leicester City — 11 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN 

Leicester City will take the pitch for the first time following the tragic helicopter crash outside King Power Stadium which claimed the lives of five people including beloved owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. There will be a minute of silence before the match, and both sides will wear black armbands to honor Srivaddhanaprabha.

Emery’s Arsenal tests long unbeaten run with visit from Liverpool
Arsenal vs. Liverpool — 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC 

Arsenal’s unbeaten run is at 13 as the Gunners prepare to face a rested and returning to form Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium. It’s a rivalry owned by the Reds of late, with three wins and three draws dating back to the start of the 2014-15 season.

Mourinho’s men hope to keep climbing table vs. in-form Bournemouth
Bournemouth vs. Manchester United — 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN 

If the Cherries can beat the Red Devils, Eddie Howe‘s men will sit six points clear of the visitors and may sit in the Top Four if results break their way. A win is a bit of a tall ask for the Cherries who, after stunning United in their first match in 16 years, have one point from their last five matches.

Spurs, Wolves look to rebound from disappointment
Wolves vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 3:45 p.m. ET Saturday on CNBC 

Perennially under the radar, Spurs can rejoin the Top Four with a win and help this weekend. To do so means beating an ornery Wolves side which has fallen short of their lofty expectations on consecutive weeks.

Rested City looks to pile misery on Saints
Manchester City vs. Southampton — 10 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN 

The champions made 10 changes to their lineup for Thursday’s meeting with Fulham in the League Cup, and still rolled to victory. With Arsenal meeting Liverpool, there’s a decent chance this match will offer City the chance for sole possession of first place in the Premier League.

Top Premier League storylines for Week 10

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ten weeks.

This is one of the Premier League seasons which has not felt like it’s racing by, instead gathering momentum with at least one monster match seemingly every week.

[ MLS: How to solve the Best XI? ]

Week 10 is no different, with Spurs and Man City matching wits Monday to end a long weekend which features a London Derby and a pair of matches on NBC.

Tottenham targets title fight as Man City visits Wembley
Spurs vs. Man City — 4 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Manchester City enters this one humming along on its quest to another Premier League title, but could sit as low as fifth if it loses to Spurs and results break against them.

The match represents Mauricio Pochettino‘s latest chance to stake a claim to contender status in the league. Spurs lost both fixtures by a combined scored of 7-2 after taking four points from the season series in Pep Guardiola‘s first season at Man City.

Old Trafford plays host to desperate mid-table clash
Manchester United vs. Everton — Noon p.m. ET Sunday on NBC [ STREAM ]

Before the season, both clubs certainly would’ve eyeballed this clash as a table positioning tilter. Yet Manchester United and Everton wouldn’t be hoping for wins which would keep them top half of the table.

The Toffees’ 15-point total is good for eighth, one point and two spots higher than the Red Devils. Both are two wins behind the Top Four.

Red-hot Arsenal heads to win-starved Selhurst Park
Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Crystal Palace has been terrible at home this season, losing to Saints, Liverpool, and Wolves while drawing Newcastle United. Arsenal presents a huge test, though perhaps a Thursday match in the Europa League can slow the Gunners’ roll?

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Leicester embarks on Top Six challenge
Leicester City vs. West Ham United — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC [ STREAM ]

Leicester City has 12 points and a forgiving run of fixtures which could turn into a bonafide table run, beginning with inconsistent but dangerous West Ham. Following Saturday’s mothership match, Leicester meets Cardiff City, Burnley, Brighton, Watford, and Fulham.

Meanwhile, Manuel Pellegrini‘s West Ham project has had its share of fits and starts, but Saturday’s big tilt at King Power Stadium gives the Irons a chance to knock off a team it will likely be targeting in the race to finish Top Seven. A win could help West Ham build something, with Burnley and Huddersfield next.

Liverpool looks to avoid trap game versus bright Cardiff
Liverpool vs. Cardiff City– 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

On a scale, this one tilts heavily toward the Anfield set, but Cardiff is playing much better, Liverpool has a history of stuttering against lesser competition, and the Reds also played midweek while navigating some injury troubles.

Top Premier League storylines for Week 9

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

An especially arduous international break is over, and here’s a hard reset as you prepare for this weekend’s return of the Premier League.

[ MORE: Sargent moves to Werder Bremen first team ]

Jose Mourinho’s latest trip back to Stamford Bridge carries plenty of intrigue, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Is beat-up Liverpool’s depth ready for desperate Huddersfield Town?
Huddersfield Town vs. Liverpool, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC [ STREAM ]

Sadio Mane, Virgil Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita. That’s not just a list of Liverpool’s best players, it’s also a few of the Reds who were banged up over the international break.

Jurgen Klopp signed a few players for situations like this, Xherdan Shaqiri in particular, and he does have the boost of a returning Adam Lallana. He insists they’ll be good to go.

“At the end, there will be a really strong side wearing a Liverpool shirt going to Huddersfield and then we will see what we can get there.”

Klopp’s also going against one of his best pals in David Wagner, who needs goals and wins in a hurry. The Terriers are deep in a relegation fight already, and may be getting the Reds at an opportune time.

Can Jose Mourinho get another big win at Stamford Bridge?
Chelsea vs. Manchester United, 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Well, duh. Do we need to write much under this one? Jose Mourinho’s had plenty of success at Chelsea, but needs to start stacking some wins for Manchester United. Five points adrift of the Top Four and seven back of table-topping Chelsea, now’s a time for a tactical masterclass and a win at the Bridge.

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Spurs hope returnees can help win unpredictable derby
West Ham vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

The Irons have had two weeks to stew on a disappointing loss at Brighton, but all will be forgotten if Manuel Pellegrini leads West Ham past Spurs at the London Stadium.

Spurs defeat of West Ham last season was its first league away win at the Irons since 2014. But this derby is a real “throw out the records” affair, as the venue has been seemingly inconsequential. Spurs will have Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele back.

Will good Leicester City turn up to the Emirates Stadium?
Arsenal vs. Leicester City, 3 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

The Foxes have stumbled a bit too often to be in the Top Four race, and will need to be at their very best against an Arsenal side which hasn’t lost since opening the season 0-2.

Which underachiever will emerge happy from Merseyside?
Everton vs. Crystal Palace, 11 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Marco Silva‘s Toffees have won back-to-back matches to pull into 11th place in the league, five points clear of Palace. Neither expected to be as low as they currently stand. Judging by the way their seasons have gone, a draw where both teams claim they deserved better is coming to Goodison Park for Sunday’s only Premier League match.

Top Premier League storylines for Week 7

Leave a comment

There’s potential for a major Top Four shakeup and maybe even a change in perception of title contention when the Premier League brings Week 7 to the forefront this weekend.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Can Chelsea beat Liverpool again, go top of Premier League?
Chelsea vs. Liverpool — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC [ STREAM ]

The Premier League season will near its one-fifth point after this weekend, and three teams could sit atop the table following six match days.

Two of those teams meet at Stamford Bridge four days after Chelsea came back to beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield in the League Cup.

Jurgen Klopp is winless in four against the Blues after winning two of his first three matches against Chelsea as Liverpool boss. Following wins at Stamford Bridge in his first two league visits, Liverpool fell 1-0 last season.

Both teams kept key players out of the Starting XI on Wednesday, though as the intensity of the match ramped up both managers injected some: N'Golo Kante, Roberto Firmino, Eden Hazard, Mohamed Salah, David Luiz, Jordan Henderson.

Yeah, they cared.

So will Liverpool get right back on track at the Bridge following its first setback of the season, or will it be staring down consecutive losses to the same opponent in under a week?

The Reds passed their first two tests of the season, beating Spurs and PSG. The next was a failure versus the Blues, but revenge would keep the PL season firing forward.

Manuel Pellegrini hopes to get another one over on Man Utd
West Ham United vs. Manchester United — 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has had his fair share of success against Manchester United dating back to his time as the manager of Manchester City, posting a 3W-1D-2L record against the Red Devils.

A win on Saturday could rank right up there amongst his favorite conquests, and maybe even be a momentous moment in the tenure of Jose Mourinho at United.

Pellegrini’s 0-4 start to life at West Ham was well-documented, but the Irons beat Everton before drawing Chelsea last week with very different tactical deployments. An 8-0 throttling of Macclesfield Town in the League Cup now yields to this match, which could further endear Pellegrini to the West Ham support.

And if he doesn’t win? We bet they’d agree with Pellegrini that a draw is the next best thing.

United is coming off a 10-man loss to Derby County at home in the League Cup and a wealthy of rough headlines involving Mourinho and Paul Pogba. It’s a “rise up” moment for the Red Devils under Mourinho. They’ve done it plenty of times. Will they bail him out again?

Hornets hope to reclaim footing as Arsenal aims to pass them
Arsenal vs. Watford — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on Gold [ STREAM ] 

The Top Four race could be pretty cluttered after the weekend, and Arsenal’s ability to leapfrog Watford and sits fifth or better is one to watch closely. Javi Gracia‘s Hornets keep scoring, but have just one result from their last three matches in all competitions.

Try a free preview of the NBC Sports Gold pass this weekend.

Can Spurs avoid letdown without Eriksen?
Huddersfield Town vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

There will be no Christian Eriksen again for Spurs, but Erik Lamela and Dele Alli have been in-form and firing. A visit to the John Smith’s Stadium isn’t a cakewalk, but the Terriers have been struggling and Spurs will be expected to walk over their Bottom Three opponents.

Clarets try to keep building momentum against desperate Bluebirds
Cardiff City vs. Burnley — 11 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

The Bluebirds may not know what to make of Burnley, who struggled in both the Europa League and Premier League before breaking out for a 4-0 win over Bournemouth last week. Burnley rolled out a second-choice squad for the midweek League Cup loss to Burton Albion, but Cardiff will still be viewing this as a chance to pick up its first win of the PL season.