PL Sunday Preview: Man City v. Chelsea, Brighton v. Arsenal
Two Premier League games take place on Sunday, with three of the top six in action and a clash between the reigning champs and the champions elect.
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Below we take a closer look at both games.
Brighton & Hove Albion v. Arsenal - 8:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com
This has an upset written all over it. After Arsenal’s awful week which saw them hammered 3-0 by Man City in both the League Cup final and then four days later in the Premier League at home, Arsene Wenger is under pressure. Again.
Finishing in the top four isn’t a realistic possibility anymore (they are 13 points away from fourth), with the Gunners now surely having to go all-in on winning the UEFA Europa League to get back to the UEFA Champions League next season.
It is time for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to step up. That said, they’re traveling to a Brighton side who are in fine form in recent weeks (four games unbeaten) and are edging closer to securing their Premier League status in their debut campaign in the PL.
Glenn Murray is the man of the moment for the Seagulls with four goals in his last four games, but Chris Hughton’s side have struggled against the big boys this season with no victories in their seven games against the current top six.
Jack Wilshere is a big doubt for Arsenal and Nacho Monreal and Alexandre Lacazette will both miss the trip to the South Coast, while Brighton have no injury concerns.
Manchester City v. Chelsea - 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com
What a game this promises to be. Man City look like they’re going to beat every team they play by at least three goals right now, with Pep Guardiola’s men knowing five more wins will secure the Premier League title.
Guardiola’s men are set for a record-breaking season in nearly every metric possible and they want to wrap up the PL title as soon as possible to focus on success in Europe. City lost at home to Chelsea in a fiery encounter last season, but they will dominate possession and can expect Chelsea to try and hit them on the counter with a solid defensive gameplan.
As for the team they’ll be taking the title from, Chelsea have been struggling of late. Antonio Conte has once again questioned the hierarchy and their ambition, with the Italian coach not expected to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond this season.
Finishing in the top four is what it’s all about for the Blues (they’re five points off fourth place heading into this game) but they aren’t in great form with three defeats in their last four PL games.
In team news Chelsea will be without Tiemoue Bakayoko, Ethan Ampadu and David Luiz, while Ross Barkley will be available after missing the defeat at Manchester United last Sunday. Fernandinho (injury) and Fabian Delph (suspension) are definitely out, while Raheem Sterling is a doubt and Kyle Walker could miss out.