THE WEEK IN SOCCER
7:45 a.m. Friday (NBC-SN, mun2)
Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, is one of the signature dates on the English soccer calendar. The slate starts with an old-school London rivalry featuring West Ham and Chelsea, two of the Premier League's top four. It's no surprise that Jose Mourinho has Diego Costa and the Blues atop the standings, but it's a real stunner that "Big Sam" Allardyce, with the help of midfielder Stewart Downing and towering striker Andy Carroll, has the Hammers in fourth place.
12:30 p.m. Friday (NBC-SN)
Boxing Day's second London derby puts the spotlight on two of the Premier League's leading scorers. Alexis Sanchez's Arsenal choked away a win at Liverpool last weekend by giving up the tying goal in the 97th minute. QPR is barely above the relegation zone, but former semipro bricklayer Charlie Austin has 11 goals this season, third in the league.
7 a.m. Sunday (NBC-SN, mun2)
Two days after Boxing Day, almost every Premier League team is right back on the field for another round of games. Both Manchester United and Tottenham have potent attacks - highlighted by United's Wayne Rooney and Spurs rising star Harry Kane - but mediocre defenses. Expect goals.
9:05 a.m. Sunday (NBC-SN)
Southampton continues to impress, holding on to fifth place heading into this weekend. Saints striker Graziano Pelle has one of the Premier League's best names, hairdos, and goal totals - with eight in 17 games.
10 a.m. Thursday (NBC-SN)
New Year's Day brings yet another full slate of Premier League action, and eight of the 10 games begin at 10 in the morning. Instead of picking one, NBC-SN will air Red Zone-style whip-around coverage of all of them. Among the big matchups are Sunderland at Manchester City and Arsenal at Southampton.
In the other games Thursday, U.S. national team defender Geoff Cameron's Stoke City hosts Manchester United (7:45 a.m., NBC-SN) and Tottenham hosts Chelsea (12:30 p.m., NBC-SN and Telemundo).