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Premier League Sunday preview: Arsenal, Manchester United look to hold off upstarts

Britain Soccer Premier League

Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie, left, and Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand watch the ball go past during their English Premier League soccer match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary’s stadium in Southampton, England, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)


For the most part, the Premier League’s upper half left the door open for three top-half teams to gain ground in a pair of solid Sunday match-ups.

Draws for Manchester City, Swansea and West Ham plus a loss for Tottenham Hotspur combine to give opportunities for each of four teams set to play Sunday morning.

Arsenal vs. Stoke City --- Live at 830am ET on Premier League Extratime and NBC Sports Live Extra

The visitors can jump into the top half and get to within four points of the hosts with a win at the Emirates, but Arsenal will be aiming much higher.

The Gunners can climb even with Southampton on points if the Saints fall to Manchester United, and will be looking to build on home form which has seen them beat QPR, Newcastle and the aforementioned Saints in recent fixtures.

Stoke won at Everton in its last road outing, and plays pretty attractive football under Mark Hughes. We’ll see if Geoff Cameron and his long throws can help Stoke make it a clean sweep of Arsenal this season after winning at the Britannia, 3-2, on Dec. 6.

[ MORE: Premier League Roundup ]

Manchester United vs. Southampton -- Live at 11am ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra

Two Dutch managers enter, but a maximum of one can take all three points at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Despite the Saints recent strong seasons, Manchester United has their number. The last Southampton win in the series goes back to 2003, and when it comes to a Saints win at Old Trafford? We’re talking January of 1988.

Southampton’s win at Crystal Palace was its first road win in four tries for Ronald Koeman’s side, so it’ll look to make away form a strength with a nice match at OT. Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has turned the venue into a fortress for well over a month, with five straight home wins.

A Saints win jumps the club over United for third on the table, while a United win closes the Mancunian gap with City to 7 points. How will this one play out?

Follow @NicholasMendola