Top 5 storylines

Top five Premier League storylines: Week 29

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The games keep coming thick and fast across the Premier League, with another full slate of matches coming up this weekend.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Matchweek 29 sees plenty of derby games take center stage, while all eyes will remain on Liverpool and Manchester City as just one point separates them at the top of the table.

Below are a look at the top five storylines ahead of this weekend.


Arsenal have Tottenham in their sights – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET: Tottenham v. Arsenal – NBCSN [STREAM])

Arsenal have clawed their way back into the top four in recent weeks and a win against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday will see them move just one point behind Spurs in the table. Unai Emery smells blood in the water.

“We have been speaking about the opportunity [to finish above Tottenham],” Emery said. “Each match is giving us the opportunity to win three points. There were 10 points between us and Tottenham two weeks ago and now it is four points.”

Arsenal have taken care of business emphatically against the teams they should beat in recent weeks, while Spurs have suffered back-to-back defeats this week and some are questioning whether Harry Kane‘s return to fitness has disrupted their balance in recent games. Regardless of that debate, Kane loves playing against Arsenal and the balance of power in north London has shifted over to Tottenham since Mauricio Pochettino has been in charge. That said, Emery’s men beat Spurs 4-2 in the PL earlier this season and Spurs won at Arsenal in the League Cup, so there is little between these teams. No motivation will be needed for either manager in this one, as a sellout crowd at Wembley will kick off the weekend.


Liverpool must avoid derby upset at Everton – (Sunday, 11:15 a.m. ET: Everton v. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM])

Jurgen Klopp has described Sunday’s Merseyside derby as a “World Cup final” for Everton and he’s not wrong. The Toffees will want to do whatever they can to scupper Liverpool’s title charge, and stopping Klopp’s men from getting maximum points on Sunday will go a long way towards doing that. Marco Silva‘s men should have drawn at Anfield earlier this season but Divock Origi‘s wild late goal won it for Liverpool. And although Liverpool have dominated this rivalry for decades, heading to Goodison hasn’t been easy for them in recent years as they’ve drawn four of their last five trips across Stanley Park. With Everton sitting comfortable in midtable, putting a big dent in Liverpool’s title bid is probably their main objective remaining this season. Expect a ferocious atmosphere at Goodison with Liverpool potentially in second place by the time the game kicks off on Sunday due to Man City’s clash at Bournemouth on Saturday. This is one of the biggest hurdles remaining for Liverpool in their title bid…


It is now one from six to go down

  • Saturday, 10 a.m. ET: Man United v. Southampton – NBCSN [STREAM]
  • Sunday, 9:15 a.m. ET: Fulham v. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM]
  • Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET: West Ham v. Newcastle – NBCSN [STREAM]
  • Saturday, 10 a.m. ET: Brighton v. Huddersfield – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
  • Saturday, 10 a.m. ET: Burnley v. Crystal Palace – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Following their defeat at Southampton in midweek and the firing of Claudio Ranieri, only a miracle will keep Fulham in the Premier League. Alongside Huddersfield they are now cut adrift at the bottom, with Fulham now 10 points from safety with 10 games to go. Cardiff City sit in the final relegation place, with Southampton, Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Newcastle hovering above them. It is now a case of one team from those six to join Huddersfield and Fulham in being relegated, and the remaining schedule for these teams varies greatly.

Saints have tough games coming up then an easier finish. Cardiff have a tough schedule. Newcastle have an easier one. Brighton and Burnley have tough schedules and Crystal Palace’s remaining games are a mixed bag. Momentum and form is everything at this point of the season and the likes of Newcastle, Palace, Burnley and Saints have it in varying degrees. If you’re a Cardiff or Brighton fan right now, you have to be concerned. The battle to avoid finishing in 18th will likely go down to the wire and it will be as agonizing as it is exciting for almost a third of the league.


Rodgers has to hit the ground running – (Sunday, 9:05 a.m. ET: Watford v. Leicester – NBCSN [STREAM])

Leicester pulled out all of the stops to get Brendan Rodgers from Celtic and now the former Swansea and Liverpool boss must hit the ground running as he returns to the Premier League. Claude Puel‘s time in charge of the Foxes was muddled and confusing for most of their squad, and it is likely Rodgers will get them back to basics between now and the end of the season. Rodgers will overhaul his squad and their style in the summer, as we know he loves to build from the back and push his wide defenders into attacking areas of the pitch. But Leicester still have a great opportunity to finish in seventh and qualify for Europe this season, with a favorable schedule and a squad hungry to impress the new manager and prove they can stick around beyond the summer.


Battle of the South American stars – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET: West Ham v. Newcastle – NBCSN [STREAM])

Miguel Almiron is making quite a name for himself in the Premier League after his January arrival from Atlanta United in Major League Soccer. The Paraguayan forward is already adored by the Newcastle faithful and has received standing ovations in his two masterful home displays (both wins) to push the Magpies away from relegation trouble. Next up: a trip to West Ham, one of the teams who were interested in signing him. The reason the Hammers maybe didn’t push quite as hard was due to Manuel Lanzini returning from injury a little sooner than expected and the Argentine playmaker adds a whole new dimension to Manuel Pellegrini‘s attack. The tenacious duo of Almiron and Lanzini will go head-to-head under the lights at the London Stadium on Saturday with both aiming to prove how important they are to their respective clubs.

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 22

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The Premier League returns for the first time in a week-and-a-half when Arsenal and West Ham United kick off Saturday morning on NBCSN.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League Picks ]

It will be Liverpool’s first unit’s first chance to bounce back from the Man City defeat, while Paul Pogba and Manchester United attempt to prove that their resurgence isn’t down to a forgiving run of schedule.

Solskjaer’s Man Utd gets its first real test at Wembley Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United, 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

The Red Devils have won four-straight Premier League matches since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over at Old Trafford, but have faced no test anything like Spurs. Tottenham has its table-topping dreams alive, but will be challenged in its legs and depth due to Tuesday’s tough League Cup semifinal first leg defeat of Chelsea.

Blues protect Top Four status as woeful Newcastle visits
Chelsea vs. Newcastle United, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC [ STREAM ]

Rafa Benitez‘s Newcastle has been tough to break down this season, but Chelsea will be facing more pressure from itself and fifth place Arsenal. The Blues’ Top Four cushion is just three points, and the Magpies have found success at Stamford Bridge on occasion.

Pep’s men face giant-killing Nuno Espirito Santo‘s Wolves
Man City vs. Wolves, 3 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

The visitors have done pretty well against the big boys during their return to the Premier League, but a defeat of Liverpool and a pair of lower league defenses have allowed Man City to find its flow ahead of Monday’s visit. It promises to be a treat in one way or another.

Leaders Liverpool aim to end “barely slump”
Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Liverpool, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

The Reds were unlucky to not gain a point against City, and fell victim to Jurgen Klopp‘s “Let’s rest almost everyone” strategy in bowing out of another cup competition. Still, it’s two-straight losses for Liverpool and a trip to face Chris Hughton‘s very tricky Seagulls. Brighton is unbeaten in three and angling for a statement win.

Angsty Arnautovic, Irons host Arsenal
West Ham United vs. Arsenal, 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

West Ham’s table charge has slowed in recent weeks, with Manuel Pellegrini‘s men slumping to just four points in four matches. Now 10th in the table, smack in the middle of a seven-team table cluster, the Irons are also dealing with an angry striker. Marko Arnautovic has made noise about wanting Champions League football, but now he’s sitting with a massive money offer from China and West Ham doesn’t want to accept the bid.

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 11

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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 
STREAM ]

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 
STREAM ]

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 
STREAM ]

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 
STREAM ]

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 
STREAM ]

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.