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Top Premier League storylines for Week 36

Manchester City v Liverpool FC - Premier League

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 03: Josep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool give their team instructions during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool FC at the Etihad Stadium on January 3, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

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If you blinked and missed the first 35 weeks of the 2018-19 Premier League season — here’s hoping you didn’t — at least you’re here for what should be a thrilling sprint to the finish for each of the top-six positions, plus a desperate sprint away from the third and final relegation spot.

[ MORE: Man City win Manchester derby, inch closer to defending title ]

Liverpool look to re-apply the pressure on Man City
Liverpool v. Huddersfield, 3 p.m. ET, Friday, on NBCSN [ STREAM ]
Burnley v. Man City, 9:05 a.m. ET, Sunday, on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

As Manchester City and Liverpool go back and forth in the PL title race, it’s Liverpool who’ll go first in Week 36 and look to leapfrog Man City once again before they take the field later in the weekend. Already-relegated Huddersfield Town are set to visit Anfield on Friday, which means the Reds could be two points clear of City for nearly 48 hours, until the Sky Blues visit 15th-place Burnley on Sunday. Liverpool have won six straight in league play, which would be deserving title-winning form if City hadn’t won 11 straight to not only remain top of the table, but also to get there in the first place. The title race should come down to the season’s final day, but we can’t get to Week 38 without first playing Week 36.

Red Devils’ last stand

Man United v. Chelsea, 11:30 a.m. ET, Sunday, on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

This one is really quite simple: if Manchester United were to lose to Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday, they would fall six points back of the Blues — and fourth place — with just two games left to play. Given that their goal differential is already eight worse than Chelsea, their top-four dreams would be dead. On the other hand, it would be the highest remaining hurdle cleared by Chelsea who finish the season with games against Watford and Leicester City.

Bluebirds’ last stand

Fulham v. Cardiff City, 10 a.m. ET, Saturday, on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Cardiff City, who currently sit 18th in the table and three points adrift of safety, will face 12th-place Crystal Palace and sixth-place Man United in their final two games of the season. It’s a tricky proposition should they need a victory in either game to avoid relegation. But first, a lifeline: a trip to Craven Cottage to take on already-relegated Fulham on Saturday. Would it be impossible for Cardiff to stay up without beating Fulham? Sure, but it doesn’t mean they should willingly go down that route.

Arsenal spiraling toward collapse

Leicester City v. Arsenal, 7 a.m. ET, Sunday, on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Just a few weeks ago, Arsenal appeared the surging frontrunners to finish third. Tottenham Hotspur had blown a 10-point in a span of two weeks and the Gunners were hitting their late-season stride just in time to reinstate St. Totteringham’s Day. Now, Arsenal are the losers of three of their last four games, including a 3-1 no-show performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday, and no longer hold their destiny in their own hands. Unai Emery’s side is in grave danger of not only failing to finish above Tottenham, but also of missing the Champions League, for a third straight season.

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