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Match day 26
With the wildest January transfer window in the history of the league, which saw over $600 million change hands to almost double the previous spending record, now officially in the books, Matchday 26 of the English Premier League kicks off tomorrow morning with only a third of the season left to play and every team, save for a few, fighting near the top for a spot in the top four or at the bottom to avoid relegation down to the Championship. Be sure to tune in all weekend long and maybe even start your Super Bowl party a little early with a cracker on Sunday afternoon highlighting the slate and, as usual, every game available live across the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.
Saturday (all times eastern)
10am – Southampton @ West Bromwich Albion – The Hawthorns, NBC Live Extra
Southampton were unable to snap their now twelve game duck but did manage to pick up a point for the seventh time during their unflattering league leading winless run when they shared the points with Brighton and Hove Albion in their relegation showdown 1-1. Still occupying the final spot in the drop zone but only a point behind the four clubs just above them in the table, they will face yet another relegation crunch match, this time with West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, who put up little resistance against Manchester City as the runaway league leaders cruised to a 3-0 win.
After opening the campaign with back to back victories, West Brom have managed only one from their twenty-three games since, as the Baggies, firmly rooted at the bottom of the table, have barely stayed relevant thanks to at least a share of the spoils from ten of those occasions. If they have any hopes of survival they will need to start stringing together wins but could find it difficult to do so against Southampton, who share their desperation and who have won the last two and three of the last four with their hosts (L1), including dropping just one of their last five visits to The Hawthorns (W2 D1).
12:30pm – Everton @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, NBC
For the first time since his departure two weeks ago, Arsenal showed how much they were missing Alexis Sanchez in the final third as they lacked a clear way through a packed in Swansea City defense without the Chilean pulling the strings and fell to a 3-1 defeat. Sitting now eight points adrift of the top four and with their hopes of Champions League football next season hanging by a thread, they will welcome Everton to the Emirates Stadium for Saturday’s primetime fixture, with the Toffees getting two goals from former Gunner and January transfer Theo Walcott to get past Leicester City 2-1.
Arsenal clearly needed reinforcements to replace Sanchez and they went all in when they brought in Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on deadline day. The Gabon international will link up with his former teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the makeweight in the Sanchez deal, to spearhead an attack that combined for sixty-two goals in the last season they played together, which should help Arsenal fans forget all about Sanchez’ departure and be more than enough to get past an Everton side that have only one win in their twenty-five all time top flight trips to the Emirates (L19 D5).
Sunday (all times eastern)
11:30am – Tottenham @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Sports Network
Liverpool shook off the shock defeat at Swansea a few days before to cruise past Huddersfield Town 3-0 and, thanks to Bournemouth’s surprising dismantling of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, moved ahead of the Blues and up to third place while the Terriers slipped in to the logjam just above the drop zone. They will welcome Tottenham to Anfield for a Super Bowl Sunday showdown, with Spurs going ahead after only eleven seconds and then adding another shortly before the break to move comfortably past a lackluster Manchester United and only two points behind their hosts.
It was a surprising performance from United and not only brought their eight-game unbeaten run to an end, but them also back to the pack and in to the thick of the five-team fight for the last three Champions League spots. For Spurs, however, it was the ideal way to kick off a season defining three game stretch against teams they will have to jump if they hope to make the top four. Liverpool is one of those teams and it won’t be easy in the visit to Anfield, where they have not won in their last seven trips (L5 D2) and have taken all three points only once in their last ten meetings with the Reds overall (L6 D3).

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