Top Premier League storylines: Week 14
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Below we take a look at the key storylines to keep an eye on across the PL this weekend.
Mourinho’s Spurs take next step versus
Tottenham Hotspur v. Bournemouth — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN
Bournemouth has one win in its last eight across all competitions, and is a member of the same muddled middle as their Saturday hosts. But Spurs have won two-straight under new coach Jose Mourinho, and will need to keep that up on Saturday in the hopes of buttressing their Top Four credentials.
Man City hopes to defy history, fulfill expectations at Newcastle
Man City averages a league-best 60 percent possession average, while Newcastle’s 38 percent is the lowest mark in the league by 4-plus points. The Magpies are without captain Jamaal Lascelles and two of its front-three are struggling for form. That said, Allan Saint-Maximin is the right guy to play the Adama Traore role if Newcastle wants to mimic the Wolves game plan v. City, and Fabian Schar and Sean Longstaff should be back in the lineup. Still, this has big City win written all over it, even if City is 1-1-1 in its last three trip to Saint James’ Park.
Under-fire Unai heads to Carrow Road
Norwich City v. Arsenal — Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN
Is this Unai’s last stand? With all due respect to the Canaries and the challenge of Carrow Road, a failure for Arsenal to get the required goals to collect three points on Sunday probably should be the last straw for a suddenly rudderless on-field ship. Surely, the Gunners hierarchy wants to install its own man.
Chelsea looks to halt mini-slump versus woeful, familiar foes
Chelsea v. West Ham United — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold
Frank Lampard spent his academy days and first six senior seasons with West Ham United, whose current manager oversaw Lampard’s loan season at Manchester City in 2014-15. Those pleasantries will be dispatched early, as Chelsea would love to show that losing to Man City and allowed Valencia to equalize at midweek were just hiccups in the Top Four feast being prepared for Lampard. And West Ham has been dreadful, Pellegrini’s job status now in question as the Irons dip from Top Six contender to the relegation pile-up.
Fabinho-less R host possession-based Brighton
Liverpool v. Brighton and Hove Albion — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold
Fabinho was suspended for Saturday’s match before he was injured against Napoli, but the R get a taste of what life could be like without the Brazilian when they Graham Potter‘s ball-craving side. The Seagulls are seventh in the league in possession, and Fabinho is one of the best at putting an end to such control. When Fabinho sat on Nov. 2, his only league match without playing time, it was for a trio of Adam Lallana, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Jordan Henderson.