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Matchday 28



Matchday 28
Following a week off from league play and with the final eight of the FA Cup now set, we can once again turn our attention back to the league when Matchday 28 of the English Premier League kicks off tomorrow morning. A quick programming note as you settle in for the weekend: Arsenal and Manchester City were supposed to meet on Sunday and will still do so but in the final of the Carabao Cup instead of in the league, with their league fixture rescheduled for next Thursday. You can watch to see who lifts the first silverware of the year live on the various ESPN broadcast platforms and the rest of the league action, as usual, across the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.
Saturday (all times eastern)
10am – Huddersfield Town @ West Bromwich Albion – The Hawthorns, NBC Live Extra
With the clearest display yet that they are determined to ensure their maiden season in the top flight will not be the last, Huddersfield Town snapped their five game losing streak and climbed out of the bottom three when they smashed four past Bournemouth to roll to a 4-1 victory. Now firmly entrenched within the seven teams trying to fight off relegation and who are separated by only three points, they will travel to The Hawthorns for a meeting with the lowly West Brom, who had several chances to put their mark on the game but were unable to take advantage as they fell to Chelsea 3-0.
The setback pretty much summed up what is turning in to a disastrous campaign for West Brom, as they remained in the table cellar and dropped seven points back from safety with just eleven games left to turn it around. They are still within relative sight of the seven team logjam just above them in the table which should give them the faintest hope of saving their season, although to do so they will need a result and likely all three points against the Terriers at home, where they have managed only two wins from thirteen so far this season (L4 D7), or they are sure to be playing in the second tier next season.
Sunday (all times eastern)
7am – Tottenham @ Crystal Palace – Selhurst Park, NBC Sports Network
Despite leaving more than their fair share of chances on the table and then dodging a few close calls near full time, Harry Kane’s header minutes in to the second half was just enough to give Tottenham bragging rights over Arsenal in the North London Derby. The win was made all the more sweeter as it also ended any hope of the Gunner’s grabbing one of the three remaining spots in the top four as they will miss out on Champions League football for the second year in a row. Spurs will remain in London again this weekend with an early Sunday morning trip to face Crystal Park at Selhurst Park.
After finding their form following a dismal opening month of the campaign and the appointment of Roy Hodgson back in September, Palace have fallen off as of late and were runover by Everton 3-1 their last time out to join the seven-team logjam fighting against relegation. They must now contend with the visit from Spurs, who have dropped only one of their last nine meetings with the Eagles and only two of their nine all-time top flight visits to Selhurst Park (W5 D1), before matchups over the next two weeks with Manchester United and Chelsea in a stretch that could determine if they will in fact avoid the drop.
9:05am – Chelsea @ Manchester United – Old Trafford, NBC Sports Network
After earning some much needed breathing room in the second spot the week before with their win over Huddersfield Town, Manchester United gave it right back when they fell to relegation candidates Newcastle United in the surprise of the weekend 1-0. The win not only gave the Magpies a major boost to their survival hopes but also left second place United only two points ahead of Liverpool and just three above Chelsea, whom they will entertain at Old Trafford in a top four tussle as the Blues make the first of two trips to the city of Manchester in consecutive weeks.
While the relegation fight at the bottom of the table rages on, a similar fight is brewing near the top where four teams are separated by just four points and duking it out for the three remaining Champions League places. Chelsea took all three points in a relatively tame reverse fixture earlier this season and have dropped only one of their last fourteen meetings with United across all competitions (W8 D5), but to close the gap on the Red Devils and cement a place in the top four they will need to turn around their recent fortunes at Old Trafford, where they have only one win in their last nine trips (L4 D4).

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