Arsenal aim to destroy Liverpool’s league record ambitions
However, Mikel Arteta’s side remain in the hunt for Europe, and can end Liverpool’s record-setting ambitions at the Emirates on Wednesday.
The Reds dropped points at home for the first time this season when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Burnley last time out. But with three games left, they still have the opportunity to set new Premier League records by surpassing 100 points and racking up the most wins in a season.
To do so, no more slip-ups are permitted. Jurgen Klopp’s side must win all three of their remaining matches to beat Manchester City’s records for points (100) and wins (32).
HOW TO WATCH Live streams for every Premier League game this week
Can Leicester end slump against high-flying Blades?
It was a disastrous result for Brendan Rodgers’ men, who had other results to thank for clinging onto a top four spot by their fingernails.
But staying in the Champions League spots isn’t looking likely, as the Foxes have notched just one victory since the restart, and now face a Europe-chasing Sheffield United side on a high from their 3-0 thrashing of Chelsea.
What’s more, victory for the Blades would send them just two points behind Leicester…
Must-win games for United and Chelsea
Leicester’s major top four rivals, Chelsea and Manchester United, failed to take advantage of the Foxes’ nightmare on the south coast, as they lost to the Blades and drew with Southampton respectively.
This midweek round could see the two powerhouses cement their grip on the top four thanks to fixtures that, at least on paper, look easier.
Chelsea host relegated Norwich on Tuesday night, before Manchester United travel to a Crystal Palace side with little left to play for. These are must-win games for the two clubs – especially as they then face one another on Sunday.
Relegation six-pointer as West Ham face Watford
West Ham restored some confidence with a 4-0 hammering of Norwich that confirmed the Canaries’ relegation on Saturday, with Michail Antonio scoring all four goals.
It was the Hammers’ first Premier League away victory under David Moyes but, frustratingly for the Scot, wins for fellow strugglers Watford, Bournemouth and Aston Villa meant that it didn’t earn him the breathing space he might have hoped for.
Friday night’s meeting between the Hammers and the Hornets at the London Stadium will be a test of who can handle the pressure better.
With the two sides level on 34 points, three clear of the relegation zone, the winner will be relatively confident of staying up, while the loser could find themselves under enormous pressure for the final two rounds. A draw incoming, then?
City steamroller looks to squash Cherries
Fresh from the boost of having their Champions League ban overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, City will now be focused on maintaining their momentum ahead of their return to European action next month.
The Cherries’ win over Leicester was their first in 10 games, while they’ve lost all nine of their top-flight meetings with the Citizens, with an aggregate score of 28-4. Gulp.
Villa must build on precious win
Aston Villa showed they aren’t done yet with a 2-0 win over Palace at the weekend, but you feel they must follow that up with victory at out-of-sorts Everton on Thursday.
Dean Smith insisted after beating the Eagles that “these players can play under pressure”. We’ll soon find out in a huge round for the relegation battle.
The Villa boss will be aware that victory at Goodison could take on extra significance, with West Ham and Watford facing one another and Bournemouth taking on City.
It’s not out of the question that the Birmingham side could end the round just one point from safety.
Pope stands in the way of Wolves’ top four hopes
Despite a recent mini-blip, Wolves’ win over Everton on Sunday kept them in the Champions League hunt thanks to all three teams above them dropping points.
They are now four points outside the top four, but will need to get past Burnley’s hero of the hour Nick Pope, who put in a sensational shift in the draw with Liverpool, if they are to reduce that gap this week.
The Clarets have European aspirations of their own to think about, with five points separating Sean Dyche’s side in 10th from Wanderers in sixth.
Mourinho’s men look to end on a high
North London derby victory provided a welcome boost for Jose Mourinho and his Spurs side on Sunday, but they have since been hit by the tragic news of the death of Serge Aurier’s brother.
Tottenham are still in contention for a place in next season’s Europa League, and can take a confidence-boosting step towards that objective by beating mid-table Newcastle and recording their first back-to-back league wins since February.
A sense of disappointment will be hard to avoid at the end of the season, given Spurs were gracing the Champions League final a year ago, but finishing in the European spots – and above rivals Arsenal – would provide some solace ahead of Mourinho’s first full season in charge.
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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.
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