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Premier League storylines: Matchweek 29

Manchester United v Manchester City - Carabao Cup: Semi Final

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manager of Manchester United embrace prior to the Carabao Cup Semi Final match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on January 07, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Victoria Haydn/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Manchester City FC via Getty Ima

Matchweek 29 is almost here in the Premier League and it’s time to focus on the top storylines ahead of the action.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Below we take a deeper look and preview the weekend’s biggest battles.

The Manchester derby [ STREAM ]

  • Man United v. Man City, Sunday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC)

While the gap between the Manchester clubs has closed — at least, mathematically speaking — 15 points (plus a game in hand) still stand between City and United ahead of Sunday’s showdown at Old Trafford. Sure, it’s true that City are far from their previously invincible selves this season, so perhaps you might talk yourself into these sides being much closer to one another than they really are. Yes, even when you consider that United beat City at the Etihad Stadium in their first PL meeting this season, City are still miles ahead in every conceivable way. A win for United on Sunday would change that, but only a little. Dominance isn’t getting up for one or two big games each season, but remaining consistent over the course of 38 games.

Will they be champions, or “great champions?” [ STREAM ]

  • Liverpool v. Bournemouth, Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN)

Things haven’t been great — at least, not virtually perfect — for Liverpool of late, with three losses from their last four games in all competitions. Superstar Sadio Mane sees the comings weeks and months as the Reds’ chance to be “great champions,” rather than forgettable champions: “I think in this moment you could be or could not be a champion, a great champion, and I think this kind of moment has happened to us, but it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time. We have another important game on Saturday and then on Wednesday, so for this game, we will be ready and we will be back again. This can happen in football and we’re used to it. We just have to keep working hard and keep going if we want to be great champions.”

Ancelotti returns to Stamford Bridge [ STREAM ]

  • Chelsea v. Everton, Sunday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN)

Despite managing numerous Champions League clubs following his time at Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti hasn’t returned to Stamford Bridge as the opposing manager since he left the post in 2011. Sunday should amount to a hero’s welcome for the Italian, who remains deeply beloved by Blues fans, thanks in large part to guiding Chelsea to its only PL-FA Cup double in club history. As for the game itself, Chelsea remain fourth in the table, but the gap between themselves and sixth place is just three points with 10 games to go. It’s still all to play for over the final 10 games in west London.

Will the battle for north London get tighter? [ STREAMS ]

  • Arsenal v. West Ham, Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN)
  • Burnley v. Tottenham, Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

While the battle for north London supremacy isn’t looking likely to bring Champions League qualification with it this season, one of Tottenham and Arsenal still has to finish above the other. Neither side has managed to distance themselves from the other, despite the other falling on hard times for much of the season. As such, they’re currently separated by three points — which could be wiped away by Arsenal’s game in hand — setting up a frantic sprint limp to the finish line. In a just world, they would finish level on points, goal differential, goals scored and every tie-breaking metric on the books.

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