Top Premier League storylines: Week 8
Week 8 of the 2019-20 Premier League season is upon us, quickly before the second-to-last international break of the calendar year.
Beyond the obvious and evergreen — which one of Liverpool and Manchester City will slip up next? — here’s what to keep an eye on this weekend…
If Leicester can beat Liverpool, they’re really real
- Liverpool v. Leicester City, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
There’s no doubt about which side has been the PL’s surprise performer through seven weeks: it’s third-place Leicester. Thus far, the Foxes’ biggest victory came against a struggling Tottenham Hotspur. A victory over unbeaten and perfect Liverpool, at Anfield? Now, that would be a massive statement and a real signal of intent. Throw in the fact that Brendan Rodgers is set to return to Anfield for the first time since departing as Liverpool manager in 2015, and this is easily the most intriguing game of the weekend.
Does it get worse (again) for Man United?
- Newcastle United v. Manchester United, Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN
Three wins from 10 games (all competitions), including just two in the PL, to start the season: it’s just not good enough for Man United, is it? Teams that United have failed to beat already: Wolves, Southampton and West Ham, among others. Add Newcastle to the list? Any other time, it would be unthinkable to consider it, but these aren’t Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils, so why not? Newcastle, however, sit 19th and have even fewer wins in the PL (one). Something has to give, probably.
Pulisic to play?
- Southampton v. Chelsea, Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold
Christian Pulisic has made exactly one appearance for Chelsea — a 90-minute shift in the Blues’ 7-1 victory over League Two side Grimsby Town in the League Cup — since the start of September. Since making three starts and on substitute appearance in Chelsea’s first four PL games of the season, hardly a sniff of first-team action for the 21-year-old American. He wasn’t even in the team to face Lille in the Champions League on Wednesday. At best, there’s a small disconnect between Pulisic and manager Frank Lampard. At worst, Lampard doesn’t rate him whatsoever and won’t be giving him any opportunities anytime soon. Sunday’s clash with Southampton — Chelsea’s fifth game in 14 days — is as good of a chance as any for Pulisic to play, even if it’s only down to squad rotation.
Newly promoted and already up against it
- Norwich City v. Aston Villa, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold
Norwich and Villa were promoted to the PL together, now they appear set to battle relegation together — perhaps against one another. We’re only seven games into the season, but they have just three wins between them and enter the weekend 17th and 18th in the PL table, respectively.