Arsenal v Reading
Whilst it it still mathematically possible, realistically Arsenal’s challenge for the 2007/08 Premier League title ended with their defeat at Old Trafford last weekend and will now be focusing on progressing towards capturing some silverware next season. For Reading, their season hangs on a knife-edge as they hover three points above the relegation zone. Their trip to the Emirates is one of three away games in their final four, with away days at fellow strugglers Wigan and already-relegated Derby either side of a home match against Tottenham Hotspur.
It will not be an easy run-in for Steve Coppells men, who have failed to score in nearly 5 hours of football, particularly considering three of their final four matches are away from home – Reading have picked up just six points from a possible 48 away from home this season. Although Arsenal have nothing but pride to play for, it’s hard to see Reading picking up all three points in this lunchtime kick-off, live on Sky Sports 1.
Blackburn v Manchester United
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United travel to Ewood Park in the teatime kickoff (Live on Setanta Sports 1) knowing that a win would set up a dream scenario of being able to pip Chelsea to retain the Premiership title by beating them in their own backyard next weekend following Avram Grant’s side dropping vital points against Wigan on Monday night.
Blackburn are unbeaten in seven matches at home, their last taste of defeat at Ewood Park being at the hands of Chelsea. They have failed to beat any of the Big Four sides this season, and this is their last chance to do so. Manchester United by comparison are unbeaten away from home this year, and have kept more clean sheets than any other Premiership club. Man United won the reverse fixture 2-0 thanks to two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo. The referee for this match is Rob Styles.
Fulham v Liverpool
Liverpool fans will be hoping that their team can do their talking on the pitch against a Fulham side who will be looking to chalk up a rare successive victory as they attempt the Great Escape to avoid the drop into the Championship (It’s been 68 games since they strung two together), and will hope that Rafa Benitez will have one eye on the Red’s Champions League game against Chelsea next week and rest key players.
After Everton lost to Chelsea on Thursday night, Liverpool’s grip on fourth Place (and qualification for next year’s Champions League) looks secure, and by Saturday evening, they could be eight points clear of Everton with just three games to play. They also have far superior goal difference.
Middlesbrough v Bolton
A rare win against West Ham last weekend kept alive Bolton’s hopes of surviving the drop, and if they can string together two wins for the first time in 40 Premiership matches, they would actually rise out of the relegation zone for at least 24 hours until Birmingham play Aston Villa on Sunday.
Boro have nothing to play for except pride, although they will be looking to improve on their 12th-place finish last season, but are some way short of Tottenham in 11th spot.
West Ham v Derby
Derby play out their last four premiership games, beginning with a trip to West Ham. Alan Curbishley may well try out some fringe players in this match with neither side having anything to play for except bragging rights. Paul Jewell has already started making plans for next season, but will be still be hoping for his first win as manager since taking over in November to avoid being under immense pressure before the 2008/09 Championship season has even begun.
Wigan v Tottenham
For Spurs fans, it must have been incredulous that finishing mid-table would have been seen as a major achievement, but following Martin Jol’s dismissal in October, Tottanham sat perilously in the Premiership Relegation zone. Enter Juande Ramos, and the transformation was nothing short of miraculous, culminating in them picking up the Carling Cup along the way, beating London rivals Chelsea at Wembley.
Wigan fans however would bite your arm off if you offered them 17th place right now. They currently sit in 15th, six points clear of the relegation places, knowing that one win from their remaining four games could be enough to guarantee their Premiership survival for another season, depending on Bolton’s result at Boro.