Top four race heats up
With both Manchester City and Chelsea progressing to an all-English Champions League final, the standout fixture of this weekend will be the dress rehearsal at the Etihad Stadium.
City will be crowned champions on Saturday if they beat the Blues, or on Sunday if United fail to take three points at Villa Park.
And with only nine points separating third from seventh, there is a still a lot to play for at the top of the Premier League.
West Ham vs Everton
West Ham Form
West Ham, by far the surprise package of the season, will be confident of completing their first double over the Toffees since 1973.
West Ham have won more top flight games this season than in any season since 1986, when they finished third.
David Moyes’ side ended a run of consecutive defeats with a vital 2-1 win against Burnley on Monday night, with striker Michail Antonio returning from injury with an excellent brace.
This has been a mixed season for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. The Toffees have slipped away from contention for a top six place after more misery at Goodison Park last weekend against Aston Villa.
They have won one of their last seven games and are now eighth, nine points off a top four place.
It is a must-win game for Everton, who can still finish above rivals Liverpool and secure a place in the Europa League. Their away form has been exemplary, winning 10 of 16 matches on the road.
Head to head
West Ham won the reverse fixture 1-0 at Goodison Park but have not done the double on Everton since 1972/73.
Everton have lost just 1 of their last 12 Premier league away fixtures to West Ham. Ironically when West Ham manager David Moyes was in the Everton hot-seat.
Leeds United vs Tottenham
Leeds had been on fine form until last week, beating Manchester City at the Etihad stadium, as well as gaining draws against Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea.
This run was ended with an away defeat at Brighton last week, but the ever entertaining Marcelo Bielsa and his men will fancy their chances against an inconsistent Spurs side.
Leeds are unbeaten against the ‘Big six’ at home this season in the Premier Legaue.
To say Spurs are not having the season they would have liked would be quite the understatement, with their recent lacklustre defeat in the EFL Cup Final compounding their disappointment.
Aside from the Cup final loss, Ryan Mason has won his other two games in charge, against Sheffield United and Southampton, with this being his challenge.
Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick last week in the 4-0 win against hapless Sheffield United, and the Welshman looks buoyed after a difficult season under Jose Mourinho.
Head to head
Spurs won 3-0 at home this season in the reverse fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
This is the first time Leeds have hosted Spurs at home since their surprise 2-1 home victory in the 2013 FA Cup.
Manchester City vs Chelsea
Manchester City form
Manchester City are on cloud nine after qualifying for the Champions League final in midweek. Thoughts will be on the final, but they still have to secure the Premier League title and collect their second trophy of the season.
Victory for City against Chelsea will mean a fifth Premier League title, a record only bettered by rivals Manchester United (13).
City have won six of their last seven games in all competitions, with the sole defeat coming surprisingly at home to Leeds.
Chelsea have been a revelation since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel, with no other Premier League club having a better defensive record in 2021.
They have won 4 of their last 6 matches, including victories against City in the FA Cup Semi-Final and a 2-0 dismantling of Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge.
In qualifying for the Champions League final, Tuchel has become the first coach to reach the final with two different clubs in consecutive years.
Chelsea still have important Premier League games to come, and have West Ham breathing down their necks. They hold a three point lead over the Hammers, but the Blues face Man City, Arsenal and Leicester in their next three games.
Kai Havertz scored twice last week as Chelsea beat Fulham 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
The last match between the two clubs was the 1-0 Chelsea victory in the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup, a result which scuppered City’s hopes of the quadruple.
Chelsea though have lost their three games at the Etihad by an aggregate score of 9-1 and City will enter the match as favourites.
Liverpool vs Southampton
The defending champions have had a torrid season and currently sit nine points from 4th place, although with one game in hand after the Manchester United debacle.
They have won three of their last five Premier League games, but crucially conceded stoppage time equalisers in their last two games – against Leeds and Newcastle.
Liverpool need nothing short of a victory if they are to stand any chance of savaging anything from the season, although with a relatively easy run-in there is still hope at Anfield of a late surge.
Southampton’s form has been awful since they bought Liverpool in the New Year and aside from their FA Cup run, the only other solace they have is that they are mathematically safe from religion.
Southampton have conceded more goals (40) and recorded fewer points (11) than any other side in the Premier League in 2021.
Southampton won the preceding fixture 1-0 back in January but have only managed the double over Liverpool on two previous occasions, in 2004 and 1961.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last six home matches against the Saints at Anfield, with an aggregate score of 10-0.
Leicester vs Newcastle
Is history repeating itself? Last season, Brendan Rodgers men looked like shoe-ins for Champions League football, before a poor run of form left them in 5th place.
Last week’s draw against ten-man Southampton means the match against Newcastle has extra importance and can settle some nerves.
Leicester currently sit in 3rd, two points ahead of Chelsea in fourth and five points ahead of West Ham.
And with the final three fixtures including away trips to Manchester United and Chelsea, this is a match they simply must win.
Newcastle have managed to claw themselves away from danger and look safe for another year. They have taken eight points from their last five games and are nine points clear of safety with four games remaining.
Head to head
Since being promoted back into the Premier League, Newcastle have won two of their three matches away to Leicester, although in last season’s fixture, they were trounced 5-0.
Featured image: Michail Antonio of West Ham United celebrates with Jesse Lingard and Said Benrahma after scoring his side’s second goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and West Ham United at Turf Moor. (Photo by Jon Super – Pool/Getty Images)