Football

Premier League: Key weekend in top four race approaches

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Tottenham will look to bounce back against Arsenal (©GettyImages)
Tottenham will look to bounce back against Arsenal (©GettyImages).

As we approach the end of the season any of the top six are still in with a shout of qualifying for the Champions League. 

Current leaders Chelsea all but secured their place in Europe's elite competition with a 4-0 victory at home to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend. 

Goals from Samuel Eto'o, Eden Hazard and Demba Ba (2), put the west London club nine points clear of closest rivals Liverpool and gave Spurs manager Tim Sherwood his toughest time since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas. 

In his post-match interview, Sherwood said his club needed to "wake up" if they believed they had any chance of making the top four. However, with a must win game against neighbours Arsenal at the weekend is this the perfect game for the north London club?

Currently six points behind Arsene Wenger's side on 53 points, Spurs will look to close the gap to three with victory at the weekend. 

Sherwood's side take on Benfica in the Europa League tonight and it will be interesting to see what line-up he selects. 

Top four is the main priority so Emmanuel Adebayor, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose could be rested for Sunday. Michael Dawson is definitely out of both fixtures but Younes Kaboul will be available after a successful appeal on the red card he received against Chelsea. 

Opponent Arsenal have a game in hand but with only ten games remaining, nerves will start to kick in if they suffer a defeat against their closest rivals. 

With Mesut Ozil potentially ruled out for a month, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will have to step up as the Gunners aim to finish as high as possible. 

Aaron Ramsey's absence has coincided with inconsistent form from the Gunners and the Welshman won't be available to Wenger on Sunday either. 

The other Super Sunday tie sees Manchester United take on Liverpool. 

Liverpool have had a superb season under Brendan Rodgers so far. Sitting second in the league on 59 points, many football fans have been shocked, but with the football they've played, are we surprised? 

The Reds are top scorers in the league with 73 goals, Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez notching 24 of them. Close behind is England striker Daniel Sturridge, who has fired home 18 goals this season sitting second in the race for the Golden Boot.  

Rodgers' side travel to Old Trafford in a huge tie on Sunday which could see Liverpool do the double over David Moyes' men as they defeated United 1-0 at Anfield in September. 

Looking like finishing in the top four for the first time since 2008/09, Suarez and Sturridge will look to give Manchester United their fifth defeat at home.

Manchester City and Chelsea travel to Anfield in the near future, and Rodgers will look to win two of these three games as Arsenal, City and Spurs breathe down their neck.

This leads us to United. Moyes' side are not out of the running just yet, but a defeat on Sunday will all but seal their fate. 

Winning against Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion has restored some confidence but a win against Liverpool could put them right back into contention.

Currently on 48 points, the Red Devils could move onto 51 points with a game in hand on Spurs. United fans will be hoping Spurs defeat Arsenal and that could put United within eight points off fourth, regarding City win. 

The Old Trafford side have a big week coming up with Liverpool, Olympiakos and West Ham coming up before taking on City a week Tuesday. 

Four wins from four and people will start talking again. What we do know is with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie leading the attack, never rule United out. 

City are currently fourth with 57 points but have three games in hand - which if they win will take them top. 

The 2011/12 league champions look certain to finish in the top two but with two consecutive defeats in both the F.A Cup and Champions League, the Etihad outfit are low on confidence. 

Manuel Pellegrini watched his sides defeat from the stands at the Camp Nou and will be eager to return to the dugout as they face Hull in the early kick-off Saturday lunch time. 

Hull have a good record at home and won't be pushovers. Winning five matches at home, the Tigers have won the second highest amount of home games from a side in the bottom half. 

Steve Bruce's side brushed aside Sunderland at the weekend reaching the semi-finals of the F.A cup and will look to build on that success. 

A defeat for the Blues will see them lose grip on Chelsea and put pressure on Pellegrini's men as they face United and Arsenal in a matter of weeks, taking on Fulham at home before hand.

Current standings 

1 - Chelsea (66pts)
2 - Liverpool (59pts)
3 - Arsenal (59pts)
4 - Man City (57pts)
5 - Spurs (53pts)
6 - Man Utd (48pts)

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Topics:
Arsenal
Manchester City
Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool
Manchester United
Football
Premier League
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