EPL Table Week 31: Latest Standings and Key Fixtures on Matchday 31

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2014

Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring against Manchester United, during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Sunday, March 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

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
4Man City2719354460
7Man Utd2913691248
10Aston Villa299713-634
11Stoke City3081012-1234
12West Ham298714-631
16West Brom2951311-1028
17Crystal Palace298417-1928
BBC Sport


Chelsea vs. Arsenal

(FILE PHOTO - EDITORS NOTE: COMPOSITE OF TWO IMAGES - Image Numbers 177996036 (L) and 452339145) In this composite image a comparison has been made between Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho (L) and Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger. The Premier League match betwe
Getty Images/Getty Images

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 TelegraphMourinho 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.

LONDON - DECEMBER 18:  Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger (L) and Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho (R) give instructions from the sidelines during the Barclays Premiership match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Highbury on December 18, 2005 in London, England.  (Ph
Ben Radford/Getty Images

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

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02:  (L-R) Jesus Navas, Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri of Manchester City pose with the trophy after the Capital One Cup Final between Manchester City and Sunderland at Wembley Stadium on March 2, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Ja
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

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

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 16:  Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates scoring the first goal with his team-mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 16, 2014 in Manchester, England.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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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