PL Sunday preview: Manchester, Tyne-Wear derbies take center stage
Sunday… bloody Sunday, your slate of Premier League fixtures has us ready to hop in bed right now, call Saturday a day already and wake up at 7 a.m. tomorrow to behold the very definition of “super Sunday.”
[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup ]
Sunderland vs. Newcastle United — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra
How does the Tyne-Wear derby sound as a hearty appetizer to that meaty main course a few hours later Sunday? Sam Allardyce became manager of the Black Cats just last week, suffered a grave injustice in his managerial debut, and now faces the hated Magpies still in search of his first win. Oh, and Allardyce’s new side still sits very bottom of the league, on three points from nine games. Ouch.
Then there’s Newcastle, who up until last weekend were level with Sunday’s opponent on that same dreadful points total. That’s when Georginio Wijnaldum went off for four goals against Norwich City to secure the Toon’s first win of the season. Now they’re breathing in that rarefied air of 18th place. Newcastle have lost five straight derbies to their northeast neighbors and are winless in their last seven meetings.
Manchester United vs. Manchester City — 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra
This is the one you’ve been waiting for all week, isn’t it? The league’s highest-scoring side (Man City), versus one of the league’s stingiest defensive units (Man United - second-fewest goals conceded). When these two met last April, it was a 4-2 thrashing by United, who before then hadn’t beaten the “noisy neighbors” in 28 months (four league meetings).
City head into Sunday’s derby an injury-riddled bunch, as they’ll be without Sergio Aguero (hamstring), and any number of David Silva (ankle), Fabian Delph (hamstring) and Samir Nasri (hamstring). Meanwhile, United have a mostly clean bill of health, as Luke Shaw (broken leg) is the only first-team regular scheduled to miss Sunday’s showdown at Old Trafford. A win on Sunday could put either side top of the league.
Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 10 a.m. ET, on Live Extra
Bournemouth versus Tottenham is quietly a very intriguing matchup of free-flowing, front-foot-playing sides. Eddie Howe’s Cherries subscribe to the “this is the football that got us here, so we’re going to keep playing that way” theory, and they’re truly a joy to watch. On the other hand, Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs rank third in the league chances created, though poor finishing has them in the bottom half in terms of goals scored.
The injury list for Bournemouth is long: Callum Wilson, Harry Arter, Lee Elphick, Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings are all out through long-term injuries, while goalkeeper Artur Boruc’s status is up in the air for Sunday’s game. It’s only slightly better for Spurs, who’ll be without Nacer Chadli (ankle) for at least a month, Son Heung-min (foot) and Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) once again on Sunday.
Liverpool vs. Southampton — 12 p.m. ET, on NBC and Live Extra
Speaking of managers still in search of their first win in a new job, Sunday ends with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool welcoming Southampton to Anfield. Klopp’s debut resulted in a promising scoreless draw against Spurs last weekend, followed by a disappointing draw in the Europa League on Thursday, which means less than two weeks into the job, folks are again asking, “What’s wrong with Liverpool?”
Through nine-plus weeks of the season, no side in the Premier League has scored fewer goals than the Reds’ eight (three other sides have scored eight), so it would seem Klopp faces a tall task in going up against a sound defensive Saints side. Consider, though, the atmosphere inside Anfield on Sunday for Klopp’s home debut (league play), and no scoreline could be considered a surprise. Daniel Sturridge (knee) is a major doubt for Sunday, while Jordan Henderson remains out with a foot injury.