The Premier League’s penultimate round of fixtures takes place this week, with games starting at 12.45pm on Saturday and run all the way through until Wednesday evening, where two 7.45pm kickoffs see sides with a game in hand level off their games played columns. Arguably the biggest game – especially from the weekend – sees Chelsea host Norwich in an occasion of title contenders taking on a relegation threatened side, and the action on display will surely be as impressive and entertaining as either side have put on recently.
Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from their Champions League exit midweek and build on their better domestic form. The 2-0 win at Liverpool last time round put Jose Mourinho’s men back into the title picture, and while those aspirations would fade with anything other than a win against the Canaries Norwich themselves also have it all to battle for.
Neil Adams’ men fell into the relegation zone last weekend when Sunderland were able to see off Cardiff and climb from bottom to 17th, and the East Anglians have one of the toughest season finishes out of any side in the league – and so any points will surely prove well deserved and ultimately vital.
Adams is certain to want to do absolutely everything he can to secure his continued service as the manager of the club, but unfortunately for Norwich, Mourinho’s men will be resolute to do everything they possibly can to avoid ending the Portuguese’s first season back at Stamford Bridge without silverware. The bookmakers don’t fancy the visitors to get anything out of the game, with odds of 1/5
The draw is 13/2, but a Norwich win is a big 16/1 – tempting if you believe that Norwich want survival more than Chelsea want the title and can do enough to grab the points, but the quality in Chelsea’s side should shine through.
In other big Premier League clashes, West Ham go toe to toe with London rivals Tottenham in Saturday’s early kickoff. The Hammers (10/3) can mathematically secure their Premier League survival with a win over Tottenham (10/11), but Spurs will be keen to do what they can to keep up their chase of European football. They have a three point deficit to make up behind Everton, and missing out on any points in this one could prove fatal to that ambition, depending on the Toffees’ own result. West Ham are five clear of the drop zone and so it would take a disaster to see them go down, so it could be argued Spurs have more on the immediate line – get on an away win.
Everton themselves take on title chasers Man City at Goodison Park at 5.30pm on Saturday, and with Spurs surely seeing this weekend as a golden opportunity to regain ground they could face the unusual prospect of helping Merseyside rivals Liverpool by helping themselves to at least a share of the points in this one. City are in better recent form, with Everton having lost two of their last three – 3/4 says City can take the win. Incidentally, 3/1 is available on the draw.
Liverpool, meanwhile, travel to Crystal Palace on Monday evening knowing that dropping any points could well be all but handing the Premier League title away. The Reds could lose top spot if results go against them and they don’t take maximum points from Selhurst Park, and despite Palace’s revival in recent months Liverpool have to be considered favourites on the day, with odds of 2/5 at present.
Finally, Ryan Giggs will hope to continue his managerial honeymoon at Man United when the Red Devils welcome Sunderland to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, but the Black Cats have ground out impressive results lately, taking seven points from the last nine to give them real hope of pulling off the great escape. United are 4/11 to win, so getting on them may prove the safest bet, but Sunderland’s odds of 15/2 may well be enough to tempt some of the more adventurous punters out there.