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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.

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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.

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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 

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

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.

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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

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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 6

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Six Premier League teams faced midweek European contests, with different degrees of success and effort expended by their stars.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Spurs and Man City lost, while Manchester United and Arsenal posted easy wins. Chelsea didn’t have its best finishing boots but won while resting Eden Hazard, and Liverpool won despite a rough night for its best player in Mohamed Salah.

How will that affect the sides when they face decided underdogs this weekend in England and Wales?

Slumping Spurs head south to stop the rot
Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC STREAM ]

Three-straight losses for Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino; Not something we’ve ready too often, or at all. But the Tottenham boss admits his slumping team could use a break that isn’t coming, especially in the case of Harry Kane. Brighton hasn’t taken it easy on anyone this season, but can be broken down and is coming off a pair of 2-2 ties. Goals at the Amex?

Chelsea returns from Greece for London Derby
West Ham United vs. Chelsea— 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN STREAM ]

Eden Hazard and David Luiz were able to rest while Alvaro Morata and Chelsea produced plenty of chances but only one goal at PAOK on Thursday. West Ham had some marvelous moments in attack in getting Manuel Pellegrini a much needed win against Everton last week, and won’t be thinking of anything other than a result when the Blues come back to England for Sunday morning’s kickoff.

Everton hopes to take advantage of weary Arsenal
Arsenal vs. Everton— 11 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN STREAM ]

Meanwhile, many of Arsenal’s stars rested or played subs roles in Thursday’s defeat of Vorskla Poltava. And the Gunners were home for that tilt, where they’ll remain for the visit of Marco Silva‘s Toffees. Everton gets Richarlison back from his red card suspension, and hopes that will help a season that went from “unbeaten in four” to “one win in five” with last week’s loss to West Ham.

Liverpool aims to stay perfect vs. rising Southampton
Liverpool vs. Southampton — 10 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN STREAM ]

The 5-0 Reds overcame a blown 2-0 lead against Paris Saint-Germain at midweek, and now will face a Saints side which will be missing its top striker (Danny Ings is ineligible due to Liverpool being his parent club). It’s a match that screams trap game, if only because it’s that hard to imagine Saints getting much from Anfield.

Portuguese bosses match wits at Old Trafford
Manchester United vs. Wolves — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Gold STREAM ]

Jose Mourinho’s men are playing well, with captain Paul Pogba almost certainly the best player on the pitch in a pair of recent wins over Young Boys and Watford. Enter Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are playing some attractive football under Mourinho’s countryman Nuno Espirito Santo. This one has the earmarks of a beauty, assuming Mourinho continues to play attack-minded football. Is that too much of an assumption, given the busy week for his Red Devils?