In the wake of David Moyes' axing at the Manchester United helm, interim successor Ryan Giggs is sat firmly in the spotlight this Premier League weekend as another new era beckons at Old Trafford.
The Welshman's first test comes against a Norwich City side that needs to make something of their remaining three fixtures in order to stave off relegation but will struggle in doing so with Chelsea and Arsenal awaiting.
Elsewhere, Liverpool face the toughest remaining examination of their campaign, with the Blues travelling to Anfield on Sunday in the hopes of clawing back what little hopes they have for the title.
It's not just the big guns worth keeping one's eye on, though, as the storyline of each club nears its conclusion in Week 36 of the campaign.
|Fixture||Date||Time||Live Stream/TV Info||Prediction|
|Southampton vs. Everton||Saturday, April 26||12.45 p.m. BST/7.45 a.m. ET||BT Sport 1 and BT Sports App (UK)/NBC Sports Network (US)||1-1|
|Fulham vs. Hull City||Saturday, April 26||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||NBC Sports Network (US)||2-1|
|Stoke City vs. Tottenham||Saturday, April 26||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||NBC Live Extra (US)||2-2|
|Swansea City vs. Aston Villa||Saturday, April 26||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||NBC Live Extra (US)||3-2|
|West Brom vs. West Ham||Saturday, April 26||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||NBC Live Extra (US)||2-1|
|Manchester United vs. Norwich City||Saturday, April 26||5.30 p.m. BST/12.30 a.m. ET||Sky Sports 1 and Sky Go App (UK)/NBC Sports Network (US)||3-0|
|Sunderland vs. Cardiff City||Sunday, April 27||12 p.m. BST/7 a.m. ET||NBC Live Extra (US)||0-3|
|Liverpool vs. Chelsea||Sunday, April 27||2.05 p.m. BST/9.05 a.m. ET||Sky Sports 1 and Sky Go App (UK)/NBC Sports Network (US)||2-1|
|Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City||Sunday, April 27||4.10 p.m. BST/11.10 a.m. ET||Sky Sports 1 and Sky Go App (UK)/NBC Sports Network (US)||1-2|
|Arsenal vs. Newcastle United||Monday, April 28||8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET||Sky Sports 1 and Sky Go App (UK)/NBC Live Extra (US)||2-0|
Swansea City vs. Aston Villa
Swansea City and Aston Villa each sit in a precarious bubble position where either outfit know that just one more win will likely be enough to secure their top-flight status. The former sit on 36 points with three games remaining while the latter have 35 points and four games left to go.
Speaking to the official Swansea website this week, centre-back Jordi Amat noted that his side are capable of winning all their remaining fixtures despite the injuries they've had to cope with. Amat himself is preparing to step in for Chico Flores once again, the first-choice defender serving the second of a two-match ban this week:
It’s been a hard season. We have played a lot of games and had a lot of injuries. The Premier League is the best in the world and it’s not easy to win games.
Saturday should be a good game because they (Aston Villa) will want to win as well. It’s a big opportunity for us and we know that if we win we could be safe.
BBC Sport's Conor McNamara highlights that Wilfried Bony provides Garry Monk's side with a consistent scoring presence, something that not every other relegation-threatened team boast:
Of all the clubs not yet mathematically safe in the PL, Swansea have a unique asset to their advantage: A goalscorer. http://t.co/5J9sTENmdV— Conor McNamara (@ConorMcNamaraIE) April 25, 2014
The Ivorian will have a weight on his shoulders to replicate the heroics of last week's last-minute win over Newcastle United, particularly in the absence of an injured Michu, with the Welsh outfit likely to find some fluidity in their play where the Villans might not.
Prediction: Swansea City 3-2 Aston Villa
Manchester United vs. Norwich City
The talk of the town this week, Giggs looks to bring some solidity to the Red Devils' ship in the last four matches of their Premier League season, hoping to banish recent disappointments from memory.
The club legend has assembled together an old band of coaching brothers, and as Paul Hayward of The Telegraph and NBC Sports' Arlo White point out, the atmosphere at Old Trafford promises to work against Norwich on Saturday evening:
Rotten luck for Norwich to be facing a liberated Man Utd with the 1992 Committee charming the crowd and Ryan Giggs as interim Supremo.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) April 25, 2014
At Old Trafford tomorrow. Will be fascinating. Rousing reception for Giggs. Will #MUFC respond? Feel for Norwich. Timing is awful for them.— Arlo White (@arlowhite) April 25, 2014
With all the obstacles seemingly in place for the Canaries, it's difficult to see a team which has lost its last four on the trot all of a sudden pull something so audacious out of the bag.
With great squad morale seemingly accounted for, it will be intriguing to see what Giggs does with his team tactically, if there are to be any changes at all for his regime. In any scenario, it's likely to be too hot for Norwich City to handle.
Prediction: Manchester United 3-0 Norwich City
Liverpool vs. Chelsea
The tie that would throw a major spanner in the works of Liverpool's bid for a maiden Premier League title has created a new rivalry between the Reds and Chelsea.
The Premier League's official Twitter account shows that these two sides have enjoyed some fierce encounters of late:
Chelsea's commitments to next week's Champions League semi-final second leg means that their line-up will likely be influenced by that on Sunday, a matchup that Jose Mourinho is unhappy couldn't be postponed, per the Daily Mail's Matt Barlow:
If next season Chelsea play an English team that is playing the Champions League semi-final two or three days later, Chelsea will accept to play the game one or two days before to give the English team more chance. We would be protecting English football without creating any problem for Chelsea.
McNamara does away with the notion that Mourinho will sacrifice a Premier League pursuit altogether, though:
All this talk of fielding a weak team v Liverpool, there is no chance Mourinho is going to give up on the Premier League. Not in his DNA.— Conor McNamara (@ConorMcNamaraIE) April 24, 2014
TalkSPORT's Stan Collymore has already made his mind up on who's likely to prevail on Merseyside:
Appolgies, @sammatterface birthday is Sunday. The day Liverpool demolish his beloved Chelsea which he'll be commentating on… With me )))))— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) April 25, 2014
Set five points apart, this match has all the makings of an elite head-to-head, but it's unfortunate that the storylines taking place around the fringes have taken precedence where more majestic factors might.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea