London, May 19 (IANS) The Premier League prepares for another huge weekend of matches which could see the title decided with two matches left to play.
The races to qualify for the UEFA Champions League and to avoid relegation are just as close as ever in what promises to be 48 hours of tension and drama.
If Manchester City win at home over Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, they will be confirmed as this season’s Premier League champions. Pep Guardiola’s side have a four-point lead over Arsenal, who have just two games left to play, reports Xinhua.
City will have their morale sky-high after a magnificent 4-0 win at home to Real Madrid on Wednesday night which ensured their place in the Champions League final, and Guardiola has the option to bring in fresh players such as Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez against Chelsea.
Chelsea’s disastrous season continued when they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to struggling Nottingham Forest last weekend and given their current form, anything other than a Manchester City win would be a big surprise.
Guardiola’s men could be confirmed as champions without kicking a ball if Arsenal lose at Forest on Saturday, and given their inferior goal distance, even a draw would effectively mean it is game over for Arsenal in the title race.
The Gunners were stunned by Brighton last weekend and Mikel Arteta will have to raise their spirits against a rival that is still fighting for Premier League survival.
The weekend kicks off with Tottenham Hotspur, who look to maintain their hopes of playing in Europe next season, facing Brentford at home.
Brentford are missing top scorer Ivan Toney, who begins an eight-month ban for a breach of betting regulations.
Seven consecutive wins have given Liverpool a slim chance of a top-four finish and they need to make it eight wins from eight when Aston Villa visit Anfield. Darwin Nunez, Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita are all doubts for Liverpool, who are a point behind Manchester United after playing an extra game.
United visit Bournemouth, whose survival was confirmed by Liverpool’s win over Leicester on Monday night, and there will be a party atmosphere as the Vitality Stadium celebrates another season in the elite.
A point for West Ham at home to Leeds United will also ensure their survival, while Leeds need a win and could hope to take advantage of some tired legs from the home side after their UEFA Conference League semifinal success on Thursday.
Leeds’ new coach Sam Allardyce has made them tougher to beat, and after taking a point from Newcastle last week, he is up against another of his former clubs.
The return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin has helped Everton edge closer to salvation, but the striker is a doubt for their visit to play Wolves, who are safe from the drop, but coach Julen Lopetegui will want more tension in this weekend’s game than in last week’s defeat at Old Trafford.
Amid all the tension, Fulham and Crystal Palace have nothing to play for other than South London pride when they meet at Craven Cottage.
Finally, Newcastle United could seal Leicester City’s relegation and their own place in next season’s Champions League at St James Park on Monday night.