Week 29 of the Premier League season takes on an unfamiliar look with a number of fixtures postponed due to it being FA Cup quarter-final weekend.
Fresh from the Capital One Cup final, Manchester City's attentions are turned to England's premier cup competition, but Manuel Pellegrini's men are in danger of a fixture backlog which could derail their Premier League aspirations.
There is just as much at stake at the foot of the table with a genuine "six-pointer" in prospect at the Cardiff City Stadium.
|Premier League Week 29 Matches|
|Cardiff City vs. Fulham||Mar 8||12.45 p.m. GMT/7.45 a.m ET||3-1|
|Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur||Mar 8||5.30 p.m. GMT/12.30 p.m. ET||2-2|
|Crystal Palace vs. Southampton||Mar 8||3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET||1-2|
|Norwich City vs. Stoke City||Mar 8||3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET||0-0|
|West Brom vs. Manchester United||Mar 8||3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET||2-3|
Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur
You wouldn't necessarily bet against Jose Mourinho extending his unbeaten home league record, but Tim Sherwood's revitalised Spurs side will provide significant opposition.
The Lilywhites still face an uphill task, having not beaten Chelsea in any competition for four years. Chelsea have prevailed on three occasions since the last Spurs victory but five draws in the last eight is an accurate guide to what to expect from the fixture.
In Eden Hazard, Mourinho possesses a player who oozes class and his form alongside that of Oscar is one of the chief reasons why the Portuguese finds himself looking down at the rest of the table.
Whilst a Spurs win won't change their position in the table, it will consolidate their fifth place ahead of Everton, who are in FA Cup action.
Emmanuel Adebayor presents the most significant threat to the home side taking all three points.
Since his repatriation into the first XI by Tim Sherwood, the Togolese has repaid the faith of his manager with goals and assists aplenty.
Five goals in his last four, per whoscored.com, gives an indication of his prowess in front of goal, and his physicality is likely to prove awkward for John Terry and Gary Cahill to contain.
West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester United
Pepe Mel hasn't enjoyed the best of starts to his managerial career at the Hawthorns.
Nicolas Anelka's suspension has merely added to the Spaniard's troubles.
However, the visit of Manchester United provides Mel with a chance of redemption. David Moyes is enjoying a similarly turbulent time at Old Trafford, and a loss here could be fatal for his chances of keeping the managerial position on a longer term basis.
The Scotsman should perhaps keep in mind the Baggies' victory at Old Trafford earlier in the season, their first at the venue in 36 years.
Our fellow players are sometimes occupying the spaces I want to play in. And when I see that it makes it difficult for me to come to those spaces as well.
That forces me to adjust my runs, based on the position of my fellow players. Unfortunately, they're often playing in my zones. I think that's a shame.
That said, you can't keep a good man down for long, and he will surely prove decisive when it matters.
Only four points separate Mel's side from bottom-of-the-table Fulham, but his plight is far from the disaster many would have you believe.
It's imperative that balls are played up to Thievy early. The marksman's lightning pace and strength in possession is likely to trouble United's laboured defence throughout.
Cardiff City vs. Fulham
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Cardiff side remain just a point ahead of Felix Magath's Fulham at the foot of the Premier League table.
A solitary win in the last six has knocked the confidence of the Welsh side, buoyed by the Norwegian's arrival.
Only two goals in those six games show where Solskjaer's problems lie. His forward line of Kenwyne Jones and Fraizer Campbell just haven't been good enough.
Magath's arrival at Fulham has been talked up by west London rival Jose Mourinho. The Chelsea manager said, per Matthew Rogerson of Goal.com:
I think Magath is the man, a man with big experience, a man that has no fear of these big situations because he always has big situations. He has a lot to give to the players.
I can imagine it is not easy. To go to a club mid-season is difficult; I would like him to survive and start a new season.
For sure they will fight and get many points.
Two goals and a solitary point in Magath's first two matches isn't perhaps the return that the German will have hoped for and an immediate response is needed to stop his Fulham side falling further behind in the race for survival.
Much will be expected of midfield dynamos Scott Parker and Steve Sidwell, but with Darren Bent woefully out of goalscoring form, it's hard to see where goals will come from.
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