Top Premier League storylines for Week 15
It’s a quick turnaround from the weekend as the Premier League launches into a round of midweek fixtures on Tuesday and Wednesday — round 15 of the 2018-19 season.
Here are the five storylines we’ll be watching most closely over the next 48 hours…
Struggling Man United host surging Arsenal
Man United vs. Arsenal, 3 p.m. ET, Wednesday, on NBCSN [ STREAM ]
While Arsenal spent the latter days of Arsene Wenger’s reign scraping and clawing their way to fourth-place finishes, Manchester United were still living the glory days of competing for, and winning, titles. Now, fast-forward a few years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, and the Red Devils would bite your hand off if you offered them so much as a chance at finishing fourth come May. Following the club’s worst start in the PL era, fortunes haven’t improved all that much for Jose Mourinho’s side: just two points to show for their last three PL outings, while Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 12 and enter Wednesday’s trip to Old Trafford on the back of a 4-2 thrashing of Tottenham on Sunday.
Manchester City and Liverpool have combined to drop just two points between them over the last six rounds of fixtures. Those two points, dropped by Liverpool away to Arsenal, are the difference between first and second heading into this midweek round of games. Both will be away from home against eminently beatable opposition, as City visit 10th-place Watford (winless in four games, including three losses) while Liverpool will take on 19th-place Burnley (winless in their last seven games, including five losses).
Post-Hughes era begins at Southampton
Tottenham vs. Southampton, 3 p.m. ET, Wednesday, on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]
Mark Hughes became the second PL manager to be fired this season when Southampton sent the former Blackburn, Man City, Fulham, QPR and Stoke boss packing. Saints sit 18th in the table with just nine points after 14 games, and have grown more and more desperate for a turn of luck with each passing week. Saturday’s draw with Manchester United might prove a decent place to begin, but it clearly wasn’t enough to save Hughes’ job. On the other side, Spurs will be just as desperate to bounce back from their north London derby defeat to Arsenal and move back into the top-four.
Harsh reality check for Wolves
Wolves vs. Chelsea, 2:45 p.m. ET, Wednesday, on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ return to the PL went just swimmingly for the first two months, at which point Nuno Espirito Santo’s side sat seventh in the table. Since then, the harsh reality of competing in arguably the world’s most competitive league has set in with five defeats during their ongoing six-game winless skid. Heading into Wednesday’s visit from third-place Chelsea, Wolves sit a modest 12th place in the table, but their points total now closer to 16th place than they are to seventh.