This weekend’s Premier League games could go a long way to deciding matters at both ends of the table…
The North London and Merseyside derbies will take centre stage this weekend in a potentially decisive 48 hours of Premier League football, with the title race, the top four battle, and the relegation fight all set to take their next major twist.
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Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League since mid-December, and have closed the gap on the top four to just four points. It will be an emotional day at Goodison Park with Steven Gerrard playing his final game against the Toffees, but will the Reds be able to continue their good form and grab a win?
Roberto Martinez’s side have endured an indifferent campaign domestically, but impressed at Anfield earlier this season when Phil Jagielka’s wonder strike provided the visitors with a stunning late equaliser.
Other sub-plots could potentially include Daniel Sturridge’s first start in five months, as well as Aaron Lennon’s debut for the hosts. With Arsenal and Tottenham playing each other, Liverpool have a big chance to move closer to those highly coveted Champions League spots.
Spurs will be hoping to replicate the stunning performance that secured them a 5-3 win over Chelsea, with the memorable victory being the last time they went into a London derby as outsiders. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have won six of their last eight league games, and could leapfrog the Gunners as they currently sit just two points behind their North London rivals.
Arsene Wenger has also enjoyed something of a turnaround in fortunes as of late, with his side winning their last three league games without even conceding a goal. Arsenal have lost just one game in eight, and are only outside of the top four on goal difference. The winner at White Hart Lane will take a huge step towards the top four, while the latter could find themselves dropping down the table.
Southampton are currently occupying fourth spot in the Premier League, and will be hoping to retain it with a win at Loftus Road against a managerless Queens Park Rangers side. Ronald Koeman will be hoping his side can bounce back this weekend, with a shock defeat to Swansea City in the league and an FA Cup exit at the hands of Crystal Palace likely to have dented their confidence.
Chelsea could move even closer towards the Premier League title with a win at Aston Villa, while Paul Lambert will be looking to repair the damage done by the 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal. Manchester City will most probably need to pick up a convincing result at home to Hull City, as they can hardly afford to let the Blues extend their already substantial five point lead atop the table.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have only won one of their last five top flight fixtures, conceding eight goals in the process. Chelsea on the other hand have seemingly recovered from their minor blip, and will be confident of picking up a result against a Villa side massively short on confidence.
With Hull and Villa both facing unenviable weekend games, the focus will be on whether those around them are able to pick up any points. QPR will fancy their chances of grabbing some points against an injury plagued Southampton side, while Leicester risk being cut adrift if they fail to beat Crystal Palace. Burnley then play West Brom on Sunday, with both sides likely to be more keen on avoiding a loss than going for the win.
All in all, it’s a huge weekend in the Premier League. Chelsea could take a massive step towards the title, one of Arsenal, Tottenham, or Liverpool will likely establish themselves as the favourites for fourth place, and Leicester and QPR could see their survival chances suffer a massive blow.
So whatever you’re doing this weekend, make sure you keep up to date with all the games and goals here on CaughtOffside!