LONDON (Rahnuma) Pressure will be the order of the day on Saturday in the English Premier League when Chelsea entertain Manchester City in the weekend’s biggest match.
The Premier League’s midweek fixtures saw Manchester City march imperiously on in their pursuit of the title as they beat Watford 2-1, and the Citizens return to the south to visit Stamford Bridge, where the first cracks are beginning to appear under coach Maurizio Sarri.
The Blues’ defeat to Wolves on Wednesday leaves them ten points behind City in the title race, and if Pep Guardiola’s men can take all three points from southwest London, the rest of Chelsea’s season will likely be spent ensuring a place in next season’s Champions League.
Sarri will insist his players don’t lose focus as they did on Wednesday, but with City in outstanding form this season that may not be enough to stop the attacking threat of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero.
Liverpool have the chance to put Man City under pressure when they open the weekend fixtures away to Bournemouth.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are just two points off the top and a win on the south coast would see them leapfrog City to top the table, if only for a few hours.
The Reds will be without defender Joe Gomez, who broke his leg on Wednesday, but will still be confident having dropped just six points all campaign, and as left-back Andy Robertson pointed out in midweek, under normal circumstances they would almost certainly be league leaders.
Third-placed Tottenham face a difficult trip to play Leicester City, and coach Mauricio Pochettino must decide whether or not to rest players for their forthcoming Champions League visit to the Camp Nou, where they have to beat Barcelona in order to qualify for the tournament’s knockout stage.
Some Arsenal players have discovered that being a footballer can be no laughing matter after being photographed taking nitrous oxide in a nightclub this week, but a win at home to struggling Huddersfield should put a smile back on their faces.
The vultures will no doubt be circling over Old Trafford once again after draws at home to Arsenal and away at Southampton saw Manchester United slip to eighth in the table amid continued rumors of Jose Mourinho’s difficult relationship with his players.
United are at home to bottom side Fulham, who are showing signs of life after Claudio Ranieri took over as head coach a fortnight ago, and failure to claim all three points would once again severely test Mourinho’s patience with his players and the club’s patience with Mourinho.
Elsewhere, Burnley desperately need a win when Brighton visit Turf Moor, while Ralph Hasselhutl makes his debut as Southampton head coach with a visit to Cardiff City, who will no doubt seek to launch an aerial assault on the Saints’ suspect defense.
Lucas Perez and Javier Hernandez will look to maintain their recent good form when West Ham entertain Crystal Palace in a London derby, while the round of matches ends on Sunday as Newcastle United face Wolves, who will travel north boosted by their midweek victory against Chelsea.