After a long offseason, English Premier League action is finally back with the added bonus of the arrival of Christian Pulisic to Chelsea. The EPL action is kicking off none too soon, as it’s looking like a pretty slow start to the weekend before USMNT action really heats up on Sunday. Here’s what we’re watching this weekend:
Tigres v Necaxa - 8p on ESPN Deportes
Ventura Alvarado has captained his Necaxa side for their first three matches of the season, including last weeks 7-0 thrashing of Tiburones Rojos. It was the team’s first win of the season and they have four points through their first three games, which has them in the top half of the table. Necaxa have allowed just two goals through their first three games, including two clean sheets. Centerback is a relatively deep position for the United States Men’s National Team, but Alvarado’s role with his club and their performance as a team would seem to suggest that he should be considered for call-ups in the future.
Manchester United v Chelsea - 11:30a on NBCSN
Christian Pulisic is expected to make his regular season debut with Chelsea on Sunday when they take on fellow top six challengers Manchester United in a match that could set the tone for both teams heading into the season. Chelsea finished the 2018-19 season in third place in the EPL, but due to their incoming transfer ban, they have seen several key players depart including Eden Hazard and David Luiz. Pulisic is the most notable addition to the squad for the upcoming season. The general movement would suggest that the club could have a hard time maintaining their Champions League position under first year manager Frank Lampard.
Manchester United finished the 2018-19 campaign in sixth place in the Premier League, and they would like to push themselves back into top four relevance this season. But, it remains to be seen whether Ole Gunnar Solskjær is really the manager to be leading them and whether the pieces they’ve assembled this season, with the loss of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan and the addition of Harry Maguire from Leicester City, will be enough to get the job done.
- Earlier on Sunday Newcastle United will face off with Arsenal at 9a on NBCSN. Newcastle could have a relegation battle on their hands this season after finishing last year in 13th place and it remains to be seen what role DeAndre Yedlin will play with the team this season after rumors that Newcastle was ready to move on from him before the transfer deadline closed.
- Atlanta United and New York City FC will meet at 4p on ESPN in a key Eastern Conference matchup. NYCFC are in third place in the conference but have played two fewer games than any other team and considering the discrepancy could easily make a move into the top position. Atlanta are coming off a US Open Cup semifinal win that saw Emerson Hyndman score his first goal for the team. Darlington Nagbe, Miles Robinson, and Brad Guzan will likely see time for the team, while Andrew Carlton, who also appeared Tuesday, seems unlikely to see the field again on Sunday. James Sands and Keaton Parks are the two to keep an eye on for NYCFC from a USMNT perspective.
- D.C. United and the LA Galaxy go head to head at 7:30p on FS1. D.C. United are coming off a 5-1 loss to Philadelphia in the Alejandro Bedoya game. Chris Durkin had been looking at the possibility of additional playing time but now has suffered an injury himself that will keep him out several weeks, so keep your eye on Bill Hamid and Gregg Berhalter favorite Paul Arriola. Donovan Pines also has seen five straight starts recently. For the Galaxy, keep an eye out for Joe Corona, Sebastian Lletget, Perry Kitchen, and Julian Araujo.
- In the final match of the weekend, the Los Angeles Football Club will face the New York Red Bulls at 10p on FS1. For LAFC, the primary player to keep an eye on is Walker Zimmerman, while for the Red Bulls it is fellow centerback Aaron Long. Centerback faceoff baby!
- Update: Timoth Weah and Lille start their Ligue 1 season Sunday morning at 9a with a match-up against Nantes. The match can be seen on beIN Sport.