EPL Table Week 30: Premier League Standings and Teams in Need of a Big Result

Dan Brett@@DanBrett90Contributor IIIMarch 10, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 08:  (L-R) Demba Ba #19 of Chelsea celebrates with teammates Oscar, Ramires and Willian after scoring his team's fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on March 8, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

If Liverpool and Arsenal are serious about challenging for this season's Premier League title, Week 30 will prove it.

Brendan Rodgers' Reds travel to fierce rivals Manchester United, while Arsene Wenger's Gunners must negotiate a wounded Tottenham.

Defeat for either side would leave them staring at a big gap to Chelsea, so the top of the table takes centre stage this weekend.

Let's take a look at who really needs to pick up a victory, with two top-five clashes and plenty of drama set to unfold in the bottom half.

Premier League: Table as it stands
4Man City2618354257
6Man United2814681548
10West Ham288713-431
11Aston Villa288713-731
16Crystal Palace288317-1927
17West Brom2841311-1125
BBC Sport

Manchester City vs. Hull

With three games in hand over their fellow title challengers, Manchester City travel to Hull knowing that they must win in order to keep the pressure on table-toppers Chelsea.

Manuel Pellegrini's men were knocked out of The FA Cup after a 2-1 defeat against Sky Bet Championship outfit Wigan Athletic, with a performance that didn't lack any commitment but showed a lack of clinical finishing at the Etihad Stadium.

Jon Super/Associated Press

Chelsea's Eden Hazard recently looked to heap pressure on City's stars by claiming they have the best first team, as tweeted by Sky Sports:

City must keep pace with the Blues when they travel to the KC Stadium to take on Steve Bruce's Tigers, who know they need three points to steer themselves further away from the drop zone.

Clear underdogs and playing without pressure, Hull have already stunned Liverpool at home this term and are capable of producing the shock.

Cardiff vs. Everton

One of Hull's survival competitors, Cardiff travel to Everton looking to make it two wins on the bounce after the Bluebirds' 3-1 win over Fulham lifted them from bottom spot and within two points of 16th-placed Crystal Palace.

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 08:  Steven Caulker of Cardiff City (R) celebrates with Kenwyne Jones as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Fulham at Cardiff City Stadium on March 8, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Steven Caulker's brace earned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men all three points, but without an away win since their first victory over Fulham in September, they must up their game if they're to overcome the Europa League-chasing Toffees.

Roberto Martinez's men will be well-drilled for the match against the Welshmen, and with memories of Romelu Lukaku's late winner over West Ham still in mind, the Blues will have to set their stall out for another tough, combative match against Cardiff.

Despite defeat to Arsenal in The FA Cup, Everton left-back Leighton Baines told Liverpool Echo's Greg O'Keeffe that their attacking principles won't be compromised as the season continues:

When we’re chasing the game and we go 2-1 down we try to attack. Always we try to attack because we’re an attacking team but we’ve got to get the balance right so that we can’t get countered on. Even at 2-1 down I actually felt we were going to win the game. We were having our best spell and I felt we were going to go on and win it.

The nature of our play is that we are a bit expansive at times but it’s something we don’t want to compromise on. We just want to get better at it, and ultimately that will lead us to getting better results. We’re sticking to our guns and our style. We’re buying into it and trying to improve every day. It’s got to be a collective thing.

A win for either club would provide a welcome boost for their respective challenges but, perhaps for Solskjaer's men, the need for victory is a little more real.

Last season's second-tier champions take on Everton and return to Liverpool in Week 31, before matches against West Brom and Crystal Palace in a run-in that will go some way to defining their season.

Sunderland vs. Crystal Palace

Speaking of six-pointers, there's a mammoth match in store at the Stadium of Light as Crystal Palace travel to the North East to take on Sunderland, with plenty of pressure heaped on both sides, for very different reasons.

HULL, ENGLAND - MARCH 9:  Gus Poyet manager of Sunderland during the Budweiser FA Cup Quarter Final match between Hull City and Sunderland at the KC Stadium on March 9, 2014 in Hull, England. (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
Clint Hughes/Getty Images

The Black Cats hold three games in hand over many of their fellow survival hopefuls and will be feeling the burden of home pressure, returning to Premier League action after their two Cup runs were curtailed.

The Eagles swoop into the stadium having played two games extra than Sunderland and know they must win to drag other outfits into the mire, while knowing a home win would see them leapfrogged by Gus Poyet's men.

However, an away victory could see Tony Pulis' Palace jump to 14th place and give a much-needed five-point gap between the Londoners and the relegation zone.

Swansea vs. West Brom

Both Swansea and West Brom will be keeping a close eye to the action in Sunderland, as the pair go to battle in Wales looking to make sure of their own Premier League safety, with Garry Monk's Swans knowing they could be pulled further into the mire with a home defeat.

Monk's appointment as interim boss, after the Swans parted company with Michael Laudrup, has seen a continuation of the club's attractive, attacking football, which sits in stark contrast to Pepe Mel's recent run of results that has seen his place as manager questioned, per The Telegraph's John Percy.

Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke tweeted of support for his job from the Baggies' camp:

Pressure on the Baggies' boss has been telling since the weekend's 3-0 defeat against struggling Manchester United, so a win is needed to help guide the Midlands club away from danger. They are currently outside of the drop zone on goal difference alone, but with an important game in hand over Cardiff.

Aston Villa vs. Chelsea

Chelsea take on Aston Villa in a match in the Midlands that must result in a Blues win if they're to maintain their seven-point lead over Liverpool and Arsenal.

The Blues have had to rely heavily on the midfield this season, lacking a clinical striker, with Samuel Eto'o the only striker in Chelsea's top five Premier League goalscorers, per WhoScored.

One man who has been crucial to maintaining the title charge has been Hazard who, as highlighted by OptaJoe's tweet, has been influential in both scoring and supplying:

However, Aston Villa certainly aren't clear of the bottom three and will be looking to build on their 4-1 home victory over Norwich as the Villans continue to improve under Paul Lambert and will be hoping that Christian Benteke can start hitting the goals that saw him as Villa's talisman last season.

The forward has netted nine goals in 23 appearances for Lambert's men this season but has failed to live up to expectations of his striking abilities with 19 goals in 34 matches last season, per WhoScored.

Chelsea will go into the match on March 15 knowing they can extend their lead over their closest rivals, as Manchester United host Liverpool and Arsenal travel to Tottenham 24 hours later.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 08:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Mesut Oezil after scoring his team's fourth goal during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Arsenal and Everton at Emirates Stadium on March 8, 2014 in London, England.  (P
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Manchester United vs. Liverpool

David Moyes' side need a win if they're to maintain Europa League football as competition hots up between themselves, Tottenham and Everton, with Newcastle and Southampton also sharpening their own swords as they look to enter the battle.

United's defence has come under recent scrutiny, per Alan Hansen's Telegraph blog, and the Red Devils will face yet another gruelling test as Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez look to add to their combined 42 league goals this season.

Sturridge, who is still looking to cement his place in England's World Cup squad, tweeted of his excitement of the weekend fixture after becoming a firm favourite among Reds' fans:

Victory for Liverpool would extend their title hopes. Defeat would surely leave them looking only at Champions League qualification.


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