The Premier League is still a four-horse race as Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City all dash toward the finish line.
Week 30 saw several significant results, none more than Chelsea's shock defeat away to mid-table Aston Villa. Liverpool kept up their fantastic run of form, travelling to Old Trafford to destroy Manchester United 3-0 in the North West derby. Arsenal also stayed on track with a marginal 1-0 victory over their local neighbours Tottenham Hotspur.
Week 31 sees a packed fixture list in order for the league to catch up after recent cup matches.
Here is the Premier League table in full after Week 30 and a review of the key fixtures for the coming week:
|Premier League Table After Week 30 Games|
Chelsea vs. Arsenal
The early afternoon kick-off on Saturday sees Premier League leaders Chelsea host FA Cup semi-finalists Arsenal. Both clubs' aspirations are high, and Arsene Wenger's team will be looking to reduce the gap between them and the West London side to just a single point.
Chelsea were shocked by Aston Villa on Saturday as Jose Mourinho's men lost their cool en route to a 1-0 defeat.
The fixture against the Gunners has added spice due to a recent spat between both clubs' managers. As reported by Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph, Mourinho called Wenger "a specialist in failure" after the Frenchman said many managers denied their own title credentials due to a fear of failing.
Mourinho's retort led the veteran Arsenal boss to say that The Special One's comments were embarrassing.
Patrick Barclay of The London Evening Standard predicted that Mourinho might have made a foolish mistake considering his side still needed to face the Gunners:
It was a potential own goal, a hostage to fortune that the Chelsea manager might not have offered had he taken his time and remembered that Wenger’s Arsenal had yet to visit Stamford Bridge in the Premier League.
Wenger will feel confident entering the tie after disposing of Tottenham in the North London derby.
Despite injuries to a host of key players, including Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, the Arsenal manager will feel that a result is achievable, keeping them in the title race.
However, Mourinho normally finds a way, and the opportunity for him to stop Arsenal's title charge will be a huge motivation to him and his squad.
A win would likely cut Arsenal from the Premier League picture, so expect Chelsea to go for the throat in the match.
Manchester United vs. Manchester City
When the fixtures were published last summer, some would have seen this game as a possible title decider.
However, just a few months on, Manchester City travel to Old Trafford to face their local rivals United, with the champions out of the title race with their season all but over.
Manuel Pellegrini will take heart after viewing Liverpool's destruction of United on Sunday, and he will feel his team can do the same.
As United persist with 4-4-2, this should leave Yaya Toure all the room he needs to inflict damage and take the points. The former Barcelona man has had yet another great season, averaging a goal every other game. He has 13 goals from 26 Premier League games, per Squawka.
United have lost almost a third of their domestic league matches, losing nine times. The immediate future looks bleak for David Moyes as he tries to pick up the pieces and rescue some pride for his club.
Liverpool vs. Sunderland
It is a classic case of top versus bottom, as Merseyside giants Liverpool battle Capital One Cup finalists Sunderland.
The Black Cats have flirted with the relegation zone all season and currently sit in 18th position. However, an unlikely win at Anfield would see them climb out of the danger zone should Crystal Palace also lose.
Liverpool are in irrepressible form after beating United 3-0 at Old Trafford. They are top of the Premier League Form Guide after winning their last five games.
Their home form has been magnificent, only dropping points to Aston Villa in their last six games at Anfield.
If Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge can stay in their current goalscoring condition and avoid injury, this really could be the season that the five-time champions of Europe regain the throne they vacated almost a generation ago.
Sunderland should offer no viable challenge to the Reds at the present time.
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