Top 5 story lines

Top Premier League storylines — Week 27

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The Premier League’s 20 teams start their final dozen matches on Saturday, and there are plenty of interesting stories amongst the 10 weekend tilts.

[ WATCH: Coutinho’s first Barca goal ]

Can Spurs ruin their rivals’ Aubameyang honeymoon, Top Four hopes?
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal — 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on CNBC

New look Arsenal will hope to channel some of its earlier season success in the North London Derby for a first season sweep of Spurs since 2013-14. Mauricio Pochettino‘s fifth-placed hosts enter the day with a four point advantage on the Gunners, and a loss for Arsenal would leave it a minimum of seven points back of the fourth.

Will Chelsea get form-healthy against basement-dwelling Baggies?
Chelsea vs. West Bromwich Albion — 3 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN

What’s gone wrong at Stamford Bridge? Is Antonio Conte too intense, or perhaps some of the same players who sold out Jose Mourinho are doing the same to this title-winning boss. Chelsea needs a win to make amends for its 10-man blowout loss at Watford, and desperate West Brom won’t be sleepwalking into London.

Will Pep’s men keep their eyes off Switzerland?
Manchester City vs. Leicester City — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC

Coming off a disappointing draw at Burnley, Man City will want to put a tricky Leicester team in its rear view mirror quickly. That won’t be easy. Leicester has beaten Man City in the Premier League during each of the previous two seasons, but can see that run end at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday

And what about Klopp’s lineup choice with Porto looming?
Southampton vs. Liverpool — 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN

Stung by last week’s draw with Spurs, Liverpool now has to refocus for a trip to St. Mary’s (the old haunt for so many of those players). Will Jurgen Klopp use Virgil Van Dijk on return, with a UEFA Champions League trip to Portugal next week? Saints, meanwhile, will aim to move further clear of the drop zone. Southampton enters the day two points out of 18th.

And the relegation six-pointer of the weekend is…
Stoke City vs. Brighton and Hove Albion — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on CNBC

Chris Hughton‘s Gulls are three points clear of the 18th place spot occupied by… Stoke City. Few expected the Potters to be flirting with the drop zone this deep into the season, and Paul Lambert will hope to get more than just good bounces from Brighton’s visit.

Top Premier League storylines – Week 3

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The EFL Cup, Liverpool, and Everton gave us tastes of Premier League play this week, but Week 3 of the top flight has been dancing through our minds for some time.

[ WATCH: Sigurdsson’s outlandish Everton goal ]

There are several fantastic match-ups on the docket for Saturday and Sunday, so much so that we crammed six matches into our Top Five story lines for the weekend.


Will the real Arsenal please stand up?
Liverpool – Arsenal (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN) STREAM ] 

Host side Liverpool could’ve easily had its name in the same question about, oh, 36 hours ago, but the Reds’ work in dispatching a decent Hoffenheim team from the UEFA Champions League deserves kudos.

So which Arsenal team is a better indication of the Gunners we’ll see for most of this season: the club that batted Leicester City to a 4-3 win, or the side that failed to find its finish (okay, okay, also got a load of bad decisions against it) in a loss to Stoke City? Probably the former, but Liverpool will be a step up in class.

Blues and Toffees aim to make significant statement
Chelsea – Everton (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) STREAM ] 

Two sides coming off quite decent results but still with plenty to prove. Chelsea won at Wembley against Tottenham but didn’t exactly look like the club that should’ve won the contest, while Everton came close to tossing away a 45-minute lead, up a man against Manchester City.

No shame in either of those facts, but here is a big chance to make a strong statement for the men of Antonio Conte and Ronald Koeman. That’s especially true for the latter, as Everton will be just over 60 hours removed from an elimination game in Croatia (The Toffees advanced and saw an amazing Gylfi Sigurdsson goal).

Jose Mourinho’s ruthless Red Devils step up in competition
Manchester United – Leicester City (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) STREAM ] 

At the risk of speaking too soon, the Foxes look pretty darn good and are a seven-minute collapse at Arsenal from 2-0. Want to impress some more folks? Try and hold down a Manchester United side which is already recalling some of the better sides in recent history, with twin 4-0 wins to start the season.

Are you for real, Messrs Wagner and Pulis?
Huddersfield Town – Southampton (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) STREAM ]
West Bromwich Albion – Stoke City (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, CNBC) STREAM ]

We snuck a pair of matches into this one, because both Huddersfield Town and West Brom have eyebrows threatening to leap off foreheads given 2-0 starts to the season. Town beat unimpressive Newcastle and Palace, while West Brom knocked off Burnley and Bournemouth. Neither is expected to contend for the Top Seven, but perhaps will give more people reason to consider the idea with strong performances against better opposition.

Nobody wants to go 0-3
Newcastle United – West Ham United (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) STREAM ] 

The Hammers have certainly looked much better than the Magpies, but both managers have been feeling the heat for different reasons. West Ham has spent good money this summer and last, and Slaven Bilic could have a red hot seat with a loss against the moribund Magpies. For the hosts’ part, Newcastle looked decent against Spurs before Jonjo Shelvey was sent off for a dirtbag move on Dele Alli. Then they didn’t bother to show up against Huddersfield Town. One may wind up 0-fer the season, though given what we discussed earlier a 2-2 draw sounds about fitting.

Top Premier League storylines – Week 2

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The Premier League hits its second match day on Saturday, beginning with Manchester United’s trip to the Liberty Stadium to face Swansea City.

That match isn’t even in our top five as a pair of Top Four battles await Sunday and Monday.

[ MORE: Another American teen making Bundesliga name ]

Can heated rivalry help Chelsea find its form?
Tottenham – Chelsea (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN) [ STREAM ] 

The Blues took a long time to recover from Gary Cahill‘s early red card as Chelsea lost 3-2 to Burnley on Opening Day, and know they could find themselves six points behind Tottenham after just two weeks of the Premier League season. The rivalry between Spurs and Chelsea has risen several notches in the past couple years, and Chelsea will also be hampered by suspensions to Cahill and Cesc Fabregas.

Everton starts murderer’s row of fixtures at the Etihad
Manchester City – Everton (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) STREAM ] 

Man City, Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester United: Those are Everton’s next four matches following a win over Stoke and Thursday’s Europa League win over Hajduk Split (The Toffees head to Croatia on Aug. 24). The good news, if there is any, is that Man City didn’t look terrific in its win over Brighton and Hove Albion. The bad news? Everton’s top men, aside from new boy Gylfi Sigurdsson, almost all played in the win over Hajduk.

Arsenal’s beleaguered defense heads to the road
Stoke City – Arsenal (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]

The Gunners may boast wins over Chelsea and Leicester City this month, but Arsenal conceded thrice to the Foxes and needed drama to boost three points from Opening Day. Stoke fell 1-0 at Everton but was far from a pushover.

Can Town make it 2-for-2 versus the Toon?
Huddersfield Town vs. Newcastle United (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – STREAM ]

Rafa Benitez’s Opening Day plans were shuttered by Jonjo Shelvey‘s poor red card, and the Spaniard won’t have his best midfielder at The John Smith’s Stadium when Newcastle faces a Town team that won 3-0 at Crystal Palace. The road sides won when these two met in the Championship last season.

Liverpool’s stumbling defense meets old pal Benteke
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – STREAM ] 

Jurgen Klopp‘s men stumbled out of the gates, even if their last minute concession against Watford in a 3-3 draw arguably shouldn’t have stood up to the linesman’s view. Benteke scored twice as the Eagles won at Anfield last season, and will certainly be up for irking his old boss once more.