London, May 12 (IANS) It promises to be another dramatic weekend in the Premier League with virtually everything still to play for; from the title down to the battle to avoid relegation.
League leaders Manchester City don’t play until Sunday afternoon, which is surprising given they have the second leg of their Champions League semifinal at home to Real Madrid on Wednesday night, and Pep Guardiola’s side needs as much recovery time as possible.
Guardiola didn’t make any substitutions during Tuesday night’s Champions League first leg and the players who were on the bench in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, such as Phil Foden, Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez can all be expected to start on Sunday, a Xinhua report said.
Everton produced their performance of the season on Monday to win 5-1 away to Brighton and climb out of the bottom three, and looking at the rivals sides such as Leeds United and Leicester City still have to face this season, one more win might be enough to keep them up.
Brighton is Arsenal’s next rivals in another Sunday game, and coach Roberto De Zerbi will have to tighten up in defense after the horror-show against Everton that has derailed their European hopes.
Depending on Man City’s result at Everton, Arsenal could have a chance of going back to the top of the table, or need a win to stay just a point behind. It promises to be thrilling between two sides that play similar styles of attacking football.
Leeds United dropped into the bottom three last weekend after losing to Man City and desperately needs to take something from third-place Newcastle United.
It will be an emotional game for Leeds coach Sam Allardyce, whose sacking by Newcastle in early 2008 was arguably the most painful moment in his career, even ahead of losing the England job.
Defeats to Brighton and West Ham and Liverpool’s return to form mean Manchester United have to beat Wolverhampton to avoid danger of dropping out of the top-four.
Wolves travels to Old Trafford with nothing to play for after securing their top-flight survival, while United is still without players such as Raphael Varane, Scott Mac Tominay and Lisandro Martinez.
Liverpool visits third from bottom Leicester City on Monday night, with the home side struggling in defense and with just one win in their last 12 games, after shipping five goals to Fulham in their last outing.
Chelsea hosts Nottingham Forest, who are only three points above the bottom three. Chelsea claimed their first win since Frank Lampard’s return last weekend, but the mood among fans isn’t good and Forest may have a chance of vital points in a bad-tempered Stamford Bridge.
Bournemouth’s 39 points will probably be enough to keep them up for another year in the top-flight, but a win away to Crystal Palace would be enough to ensure survival, while Southampton looks doomed to relegation even if they can claim a win at home to Fulham.
Aston Villa and Tottenham both play their last card to keep their slim hopes of qualifying for Europe alive, although even if Villa does fail to ensure European competition, their form since the arrival of Unai Emery in November means the Midlands club can look forward to next season with optimism.
Finally, Brentford entertains West Ham in a London derby, with the visitors probably clear of relegation, but needing another win to assure their survival after a difficult campaign.