The Barclays Premier League is slowly heading towards the business end as the race at both ends of the points table will become more and more exciting. This week, the Premier League fixture list sees 2 games involving the top 4 sides in the table and it has all the makings of an important week for every team.
Here are 10 things to look forward to in the 26th round of the Premier League fixtures:
1. Louis van Gaal’s future on the line:
After the last year ended with rumors of Van Gaal’ sacking, he lived onto to see off the rest of the season and it now looks like he will stay at United for another season if he is able to take the club to the Champions League spots this season. A negative result for United on this trip to Sunderland can spell great danger as a top 4 finish will be beyond reach.
2. Can the Saints keep marching on?
Ronald Koeman’s side has stuck a good patch of form recently and is unbeaten in last 5 Premier League games. They play a struggling Swansea side this weekend and will hope to take all three points and stay close to the top 4 spot in the points table at the end of the season.
3. Mark Hughes needs some results:
After a good start to the season, Stoke City have slowly lost their grip in the top half of the table and are now winless in the last 4 Premier League outings. They will face a relatively easy fixture against AFC Bournemouth this weekend and will need to take all three points to keep their European dream alive.
4. A mid-table clash:
Two teams who had flying starts to the season, Crystal Palace and Watford will engage in a thrilling mid-table Premier League encounter this weekend. Just a point separates both clubs who have no clear objective than to impress in the remainder of the season, with the European spots only a distinct dream.
5. Everton fighting for a European spot:
The Toffees are finally having a consistent run of results that has seen them rise to the 8th place in the points table. A victory against the Baggies this weekend will surely give them a great chance to qualify for the Europa league next season as Roberto Martinez will be hoping to build on the positives of this season.
6. The Hammers can put pressure on the Red Devils:
West Ham United, spurred by the contract extension of star player Dimitri Payet will be hoping to brush aside a struggling Norwich City side that is in the relegation zone. The Hammers are 6th in the points table just 2 points away from United and a victory here will put some pressure on the Red Devils and their hopes of a top four finish.
7. Newcastle United need to end Hiddink’s run:
The Magpies are just a point above the relegation zone and need a positive result to stay safe after the end of this week. A trip to Stamford Bridge will by no means be easy but Newcastle United will have to be at their best and get a result from this game to feel safe about their place in the top flight of English football.
8. Can Leicester make it 3 in 3?
At the start of this year, all eyes were on the table toppers Leicester City who had a run of consecutive games against Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal in February. The Foxes have blown everyone away taking 6 points from the first two games and will now travel to the Emirates for a superb clash this weekend. If the visitors can take all there points from this game, their dream of a Barclays Premier League title will be closer than ever from becoming true.
9. Can Klopp’s full team get the work done?
Liverpool have not been in full strength ever since their new manager took over. However, with the fixture list easing out and players coming into full fitness, Liverpool look a different team to the one that played those FA Cup fixtures against Exeter. Surely a trip to Villa Park to face the relegation battling side should be easy as the German manager will be hoping to take all there points from the game.
10. Mouthwatering clash at the Etihad:
In less than half an hour after the final whistle at the Emirates, the Etihad will be full and buzzing as they welcome the Spurs who are currently placed 2nd in the points table. A victory over the Citizens will put Tottenham in prime position to challenge for Leicester if slip-up in their pursuit of the title. Surely this will be an important game for both sides who are in the midst of the race to the top this season.