The Premier League is fast becoming a two-horse race between Leicester and Tottenham Hotspur. And in Cheltenham week we could see another fall as Arsenal face a tricky trip to Goodison Park to take on Everton. There is this and much more to look forward to this weekend. And while you’re at it, WHY NOT HEAD OVER TO OUR STORE BEFORE IT ALL KICKS OFF AND GET YOURSELF KITTED OUT IN YOUR TEAM’S COLOURS?
Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off sees Arsenal travel to Merseyside having exited two competitions in five days. The Gunners cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves after a rough week, especially as they seem to have executed their usual trick of stalling their Premier League campaign in the latter stages of the season. They face an Everton side who, despite having had an inconsistent season thus far, are capable of beating anyone on their day (just ask Chelsea what they think of letting Romelu Lukaku go_ and Arsene Wenger will be fully aware of the challenge that lies ahead.
West Ham hammering home their point
At this stage of any other season when Chelsea meet West Ham you would think it was the former we were talking about when we say the clash could prove crucial for their Champions League hopes. But with Chelsea well and truly languishing in mid-table, all eyes will be on the Hammers as they continue their push for a top-four finish. Guus Hiddink’s men have also exited two competitions in the last week, a dip in form that West Ham will be hoping to capitalise on as they travel to Stamford Bridge.
Foxes fly high
Silverware is glistening ever-closer on the horizon for Leicester, and with just eight games left of the season for the Foxes, they will be desperate not to slip up against 15th place Crystal Palace. But with Alan Pardew’s team being the only side in the top four divisions without a league win in 2016, fortune favours the brave and it is difficult not to see Leicester bagging all three points this weekend. Lose, however, and the Premier League race is well and truly alive with Spurs biting at Leicester’s heels.
Watford waltz on
Excitement is brewing at Vicarage Road as their FA Cup semi-final trip to Wembley draws ever closer, but the Hornet’s players cannot afford to let their focus slip as they welcome a Stoke side who are still pushing for a Europa League spot. And while their chances may have somewhat taken a back seat after defeat to Southampton last week, a win on Saturday would relight the fire in their bellies and give them a real boost ahead of a challenging few weeks of fixtures.
Norwich have a real battle on their hands as they continue to struggle at the foot of the table, but after an impressive performance against Manchester City last weekend, they may be ready to right their wrongs and start getting some much-needed points on the board. West Brom themselves have seen a recent boost in form, having won three of their last four league games, and will be confident of continuing that streak in front of the Hawthorns faithful.
The only way is up
Saturday’s teatime kick-off sees Swansea welcome their foot of the table visitors after a week that has seen vast change at the Aston Villa helm, after chief executive Tom Fox resigned from his post. And while Remi Garde insists his side can still ‘do a Leicester’ and lift themselves out of the drop zone, a first away win since August is likely to do little to convince Villa fans. Swansea meanwhile sit eight points above the bottom four, and while the home side look favourites to clinch this one, it is unlikely to be the fixture of the weekend.
This Sunday sees Rafa Benitez take charge at his first Tyne and Wear derby, where he will come face to face with Sam Allardyce, a man who is hardly his favourite on the managerial circuit. Spats follow these two wherever they go, but this could prove to be the tastiest tie of recent years between the two sides as they both battle against the dreaded drop. It’s bound to be a classic, but with a near full-strength squad at Big Sam’s disposal, it should be Sunderland’s for the taking.
Fight for fifth
The Reds are currently on an eight-game unbeaten streak in all competitions, and with an enticing Europa League tie against Jurgen Klopp’s former side Borussia Dortmund on the horizon, the Liverpool players will be raring to go. But the Saints remain confident they can improve on last season’s seventh-placed finish, and with just two goals separating the sides, Sunday’s game could prove to be a tale of who wants it most, wins.
With Man City’s title hopes and United’s Champions League dreams in tatters, Sunday’s 171st Manchester derby could be the least important fixture between the two sides in recent history. Neither team is in particularly great shape, but with United’s poor form away from home this season, it looks likely that it will be the blue side of the city celebrating come the end of the weekend, despite being without their stalwart captain Vincent Kompany.
Cherries to collapse cup campaign?
Spurs have to win this one to keep themselves in the title race should Leicester win on Saturday, but they face tough opposition in the form of the Cherries, a team who have surprised everyone in their Premier League debut season. If the season had started in December, Bournemouth would be sitting in third behind the Foxes and Tottenham after an impressive start to 2016. But with Mauricio Pochettino’s side still dreaming of lifting the trophy in a matter of weeks, this game is there’s to lose at their peril.
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