Three is the magic number for the remainder of the 2013-14 Premier League season.
Only three games are left until a league champion is crowned. Just as well three clubs—Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City—enter Week 36 with a shot at donning the crown when it's all said and done.
That race will be a bit clearer after Matchday 36, when Liverpool can effectively squash Chelsea's title hopes with a home victory, and Manchester City can potentially get back control of their own destiny with a road win over Crystal Palace and help from their adversaries.
Of course, that's only the start of what is going on in the EPL throughout Week 36. Let's take a look at the entire slate of fixtures and delve into the top affairs.
|Premier League Week 36 Fixtures|
|Southampton vs. Everton||4/26|
|Fulham vs. Hull||4/26|
|Stoke vs. Tottenham||4/26|
|Swansea vs. Aston Villa||4/26|
|West Brom vs. West Ham||4/26|
|Manchester United vs Norwich||4/26|
|Sunderland vs. Cardiff||4/27|
|Liverpool vs. Chelsea||4/27|
|Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City||4/27|
|Arsenal vs. Newcastle||4/28|
Liverpool vs. Chelsea
A season-long title campaign comes down to just one match for Chelsea, who will see their title hopes end with a loss at Anfield on Sunday.
But everything is seemingly on the line for Liverpool as well. A loss wouldn't eliminate them from the race, but it would move the Blues within two points and give Manchester City the chance to tie the Reds in the table—and thus win the title on a favorable goal differential.
Oscar and Chelsea aren't short on motivation heading into what could be a potential title decider, per the club's Twitter:
Jose Mourinho and company will have to hope that recent form doesn't play a big part in who wins this affair. Liverpool are on a historic tear of 11 straight EPL wins and points in 16 consecutive Premier League matches. Luis Suarez has been a handful to defend, and the supporting cast around him is clicking better than ever.
Meanwhile, the Blues are coming off a distasteful 2-1 defeat at home to Sunderland. In the loss, Chelsea gave up the opportunity to win out and control their own destiny in winning the title.
However, Mourinho's men have a shot at knocking off the title favorites and boosting their own chances of remaining in the hunt if they can somehow pull out three points—or even a draw—at Anfield.
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City
They might spend the hours leading up to the match keeping an eye on Liverpool-Chelsea and hoping for a Blues victory. But Manchester City will have to have their heads in the game when they take the pitch later on Sunday at Crystal Palace.
Manuel Pellegrini's crew still have that valuable game in hand but are otherwise six points back—three if they win that extra game—and need a Liverpool slip-up.
But if that happens, City are three victories (they're currently plus-four in goal differential) away from winning the EPL title.
First, they will have to go through a shockingly formidable Crystal Palace squad. They have won five straight, with victories over Chelsea and Everton in that span.
Even though the Eagles come in on an impressive hot streak, City have a title shot to motivate them and know they can't let three points slip against an inferior opponent.
Arsenal vs. Newcastle United
It wasn't too long ago that the Gunners had their eyes fixed solely on the EPL title, but a late-season plummet now has Arsene Wenger and company fighting for the league's final Champions League spot.
But that doesn't mean they are any less inspired, as Sky Sports notes:
Next up for the Gunners in their quest to remain in the Champions League is Newcastle, Monday's visitors to the Emirates. An Arsenal loss or draw would give Everton the chance to leapfrog them for the all-important No. 4 spot.
Arsenal have been on offensively in their last two matches, scoring three goals in each. And it wouldn't be wrong to think that is likely to continue at home against Newcastle, who have lost five straight.
Newcastle haven't scored a goal in their last three away Premier League fixtures, and that streak could very well continue with the Gunners' defense looking to lock down the opponent and move one step closer to locking up a Champions League bid.