London, May 5 (IANS) Manchester City have the chance to move four points clear at the top of the Premier League this weekend in what could be a decisive round of matches at both the top and bottom of the table.
Pep Guardiola’s side host Leeds United, who this week brought in Sam Allardyce to replace Javi Gracia as head coach, following a disastrous April which saw them lose five out of seven matches and concede 23 goals.
Allardyce’s first job is to stop the flood of goals, but that won’t be easy against a rival boasting Erling Haaland in attack. The only good news for Leeds is that City will have to keep one eye on next Tuesday’s Champions League visit to Real Madrid and Guardiola will be keen to keep his key players as sharp as possible.
Kevin de Bruyne is a doubt after missing City’s last two games with an injury and his presence will be a big pointer for next week’s huge game in Madrid, a Xinhua report said.
Arsenal don’t play until Sunday afternoon when Mikel Arteta’s men have arguably their toughest match between now and the end of the season, with a visit to St James’ Park.
Newcastle United are third in the table, with their sights set on a place in next season’s Champions League, and strikers Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson in top form.
Arsenal showed desire to beat Chelsea in midweek, but will need to dig deep again otherwise the title will be all but gone.
Aston Villa and Tottenham have difficult matches to keep their hopes of playing in Europe alive for next season, with Villa making the short trip for a Midlands derby away to Wolverhampton.
Wolves are probably one win away from safety, but need to recover after a dreadful 6-0 defeat at Brighton last weekend, while Villa’s fine run of form was ended by a narrow defeat away to Manchester United last weekend.
Tottenham are at home to Crystal Palace after slipping to eighth and look to have lost confidence – something their rivals seem to be filled with after their recovery under Roy Hodgson.
Chelsea visit Bournemouth for what could be a humiliating experience against a team who are level on points and looking to climb above them.
Bournemouth’s 4-1 win at home to Leeds United means they are virtually safe from relegation and beating a Chelsea side that has lost all six matches since Frank Lampard’s return would be the icing on the cake.
Five consecutive wins have catapulted Liverpool into the top five and given them a slight chance of catching Manchester United in fourth, with Mohamed Salah seeking his 30th goal of the season in all competitions when they host Brentford, who travel to Anfield after consecutive wins,
Manchester United visit relegation-threatened West Ham, although the home side will look at United’s poor away form (with one win and three defeats in their last five games away from Old Trafford) and think they have a chance of a vital win.
The holiday for the coronation of Charles III means there are three matches played on Monday, with Everton needing something from their visit to an impressive Brighton, while fifth-from-bottom Leicester City visit Fulham, and third-bottom Nottingham Forest are at home to Southampton, who are last in the table and very much in the last-chance saloon.