Barclays Premier League
Last weekend’s loss to Bolton Wanderers may not have mathematically eliminated Arsenal from the Premier League title race but common sense says they are done.
Nine points behind leaders Manchester United with four games remaining is too much a gap to make up, even if Arsenal wins on Sunday. The best they can do is to finish in the runners up spot, a position they last secured in 2005 and in the process, lay down a marker for next season.
This is the first of two key league matches for United. The other comes next against Chelsea who currently sits second in the table. United are three points ahead of Chelsea but with a game less played so the Manchester club knows that two draws in their next two games will give them a 19th top flight title.
The second Midlands derby of the weekend will have Wolves wanting nothing more to pull Birmingham into or at least a bit closer to the relegation gutter. Currently Wolves are second from the bottom and 5 points behind 15th placed Birmingham.
Birmingham know that a win could go a long way to ending their relegation concerns. If Liverpool can beat Newcastle they will move above Spurs and into 5th place – good enough for a Europa League spot next season.
Manchester City have a chance to put even more real estate between themselves and Spurs when they face West Ham. A City win would put them within 5 points of securing a Champions League spot.
Marseille went top of the French league last week by winning against Nice while Lille dropped two more points – this time to Lorient. But Lille retook the top spot after beating bottom of the league and already relegated Arles-Avignon earlier today 5-0.
The leapfrogging may continue with Marseille playing at home to Auxerre.
Milan looks set for another three points as they face a Bologna side that has lost their last four matches.
Bologna has a five point cushion on the relegation zone but with three games still to go after this weekend nothing is yet certain.
Bari have already been relegated and are at home to Roma, a side that still has European ambitions. Sampdoria, currently 17th, are in a fight to avoid relegation and faces Brescia who are two positions worse off.
Lecce is tied with Sampdoria but behind on goal difference are away to Chievo another side that cannot breathe easily quite yet.
Parma have beaten Inter and Udinese in the last two weeks and hope to continue the run at home to Palermo – a side who know a thing or two about pulling off surprises.
Catania are still hovering just above the drop zone are home to Cagliari who sit very comfortably in mid-table. The other game has Fiorentina at home to Udinese in a game that promises goals and attacking football.
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