Top Premier League storylines: Week 13
Yes, Jose Mourinho is back in the Premier League and, sure, both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manuel Pellegrini are in managerial hot seats, but is there any match more intriguing than Man City and Chelsea squaring off with the knowledge that a bad outcome could see them double digits out of first?
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Below we take a look at the key storylines to keep an eye on across the PL this weekend.
The Jose Mourinho Era begins against a familiar foe
- West Ham v. Tottenham Hotspur -- Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN
Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho have matched wits many times, which could help the former in his bid to get ready for a rankled Spurs side to kickstart the Premier League weekend.
Mourinho has only matched up with six managers more than Pellegrini in his career, and boasts a 7W-3D-4L record. Can he quickly get Spurs put together for a visit to a desperate Irons side.
Chelsea, Man City put slim title hopes on the line
- Manchester City v. Chelsea -- Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC
Both Pep Guardiola’s City and Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have lost to Liverpool, meaning their chances to directly affect the Reds’ title hopes are limited. Matches like this one are the ones that get the Reds salivating, in fact, knowing that only one team can snare three points.
City enters the day nine points back of first and a point behind Chelsea and Leicester City. The Top Four race sure looks clear cut right now -- the chasing pack is eight points behind fourth -- but failure to win on Saturday will likely leave either side double-digit points back of first.
Knock off the Red Devils? Wilder things have happened
- Sheffield United v. Manchester United -- Sunday, 11:30 p.m. ET, on NBCSN
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has the newly-promoted side in fifth place on the table, one point better than his celebrated visitors. The Blades will sit no worse than five points back of the Top Four if they can beat Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s Red Devils, adding another big name to a season of results which already includes a defeat of Arsenal and draws against Chelsea and Spurs. United is still without Paul Pogba and now will also miss Scott McTominay. Another upset brewing?
Reds hope to get back to business as usual in title fight
- Crystal Palace v. Liverpool -- Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold
A week removed from a glitzy show against Man City, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds now visit a Palace side who is probably getting sick of facing the Premier League’s best. Roy Hodgson’s table rise has been stunted by a four-match winless run that includes 2-0 losses to Man City, Leicester City, and Chelsea to go with a 2-2 draw against Arsenal.
A Liverpool win will boost it clearer of Man City and/or Chelsea, as the Reds seek a double-digit lead on the field (Second-place Leicester City is away to Brighton and Hove Albion).
Arsenal looks to right wobbly league ship versus slumping Saints
- Arsenal v. Southampton -- Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN
Unai Emery’s Gunners may be doing fine in the Europa League, but they’ve taken just two points from 12 since an Oct. 6 defeat of Bourrnemouth at the Emirates Stadium. Saints only win since mid-September in any competition is a 4-0 demolition of rivals Portsmouth. If Arsenal cannot get right here, well...