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Catch Man United on TSN2, Arsenal and Liverpool on TSN.ca

TSN.ca Staff
12/4/2013 9:09:31 AM
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The days of the Big Four in the Barclays Premier League are a distant memory this season and the current dogfight for supremacy at the top of the table is unlike anything seen in recent memory.

That battle continues on Wednesday on TSN2 and TSN.ca with four matches all beginning at 2:45pm et/11:45am pt.

On TSN2, David Moyes's current club hosts his old one as defending champions Manchester United - unbeaten in 12 matches in all competitions - welcome Romelu Lukaku and surprising Everton. It all begins with Barclays Premier League Live at 2pm et/11am pt.

On TSN.ca, Hull City - fresh off beating Liverpool for the first time in its history - looks to slay another giant, as they travel to the Emirates to take on Jack Wilshere and table leaders Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool hope to take out their frustrations from the weekend's defeat at Hull on Norwich City when the Canaries visit Anfield. That match is also available on TSN.ca.

Having been used to a two-team battle for the title and occasionally one with a third thrown into the mix, what's going on in the 2013-14 BPL season is almost unprecedented. Just 10 points separate Arsenal from ninth-place Tottenham. To put that into perspective, consider Europe's other top leagues where in La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga, there is a minimum of a 20-point gap between first and ninth.

United is one of those teams in the mix, but have to make up the eight points between them and from Arsenal while leaping over the six teams between them.

It would have been foolish for anybody to expect United to not skip a beat after Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement and Moyes taking the reins at Old Trafford, but the early season jitters appears to have abated.

The team has been buoyed by the play of Wayne Rooney, arguably the best player in the BPL this season and scorer of both goals in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Spurs, and the brilliant goalkeeping of David De Gea, whose game has evolved from the shakiness displayed in his first season in England just two seasons ago.

That isn't to say, of course, that everything is on track. Injuries have been a major concern for the team with midfield general Michael Carrick (shin) and superstar striker Robin van Persie (groin) currently among those wounded, as well as an inability to close the door in recent matches with Cardiff City and Southampton. Van Persie, however, appears to be okay to return and may see pitch time against Everton.

High-flying Everton will provide a stiff test for the champions.

Roberto Martinez, hired to replace Moyes, has his Toffees sitting in fifth, level on points with Merseyside rivals Liverpool. Few expected such a lofty position for moderate-spending Everton, but a serious of shrewd loan moves has them with only has a single loss, the fewest of any team in the league.

Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, is among the league leaders in goals with eight, while Gerard Delofeu, loaned from Barcelona, starred in Saturday's 4-0 thumping of Stoke.

United and Everton split their season series last year, each winning at home.

At Anfield, Rodgers and Liverpool must continue to adjust to life without Daniel Sturridge. The England international suffered ligament straining in his ankle during training last Friday. He's expected to be out for up to eight weeks. Still, Rodgers hopes that his team will step up in Sturridge's absence.

"This little period now will test us," said Rodgers. "We've got players that will come in and it's a great opportunity for them to stake a claim for a place in the team." The Reds failed that first test when they dropped a 3-1 decision to Hull City on Saturday, but will have the opportunity to get back on track against a Norwich City side looking for some consistency.

Though coming off a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, Chris Hughton's Canaries have yet to win consecutive games this season. Hughton also must address the added distraction of a dissatisfied Luciano Becchio. The Argentine striker recently expressed his displeasure over his lack of usage by the team and suggested that he wouldn't mind playing elsewhere.

While Liverpool attempts to make up lost ground, in London, Arsenal will attempt to grab some more breathing room at the summit of the BPL. The Gunners can pull seven points clear of idle Chelsea with a win over Hull.
Arsenal's 3-0 win at Cardiff on Saturday was propelled by two goals from Welshman Aaron Ramsey, who is enjoying a coming out party this season.

"He was phenomenal," said Gunners manager Arsene Wenger of Ramsey. "He keeps surprising me. He has matured as a player and as a person. He can still develop. When you see the improvement in him in the last two years then why should he stop now?"

But Steve Bruce's Hull City will not be a soft touch for Arsenal. Fresh off their first win over Liverpool in the team's 109-year history, the Tigers will be hungry to knock off another top side, after already having beaten Newcastle.

Four EPL matches on TSN, TSN.ca (Photo: Getty Images)


(Photo: Getty Images)
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