Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The 10 matches that will decide the Premier League

Following tonight's Merseyside derby, there are just 100 fixtures remaining to complete the calendar for 2011/2012 Premier League season. We've sifted through them to select the ten most decisive matches remaining.
1. Manchester City v Chelsea
In a season that's provided more than its fair share of bizarre results and ill-advised, gung-ho performances, this one could be the daddy of them all. For Chelsea, missing out on Champions League football will hit them much harder than missing out on the title will hit City. I'm going to say about eight or nine goals in this one.
(19.45 Wednesday 21 March, LIVE: Sky Sports 1/HD1)
2. Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur
Beyond this fixture the remainder of Tottenham's run-in is relatively straightforward, defeat here though could narrow the gap between themselves, Arsenal and Chelsea and make the final weeks far more worrying.
(12.45 Saturday 24 March, LIVE: Sky Sports 2/HD2)
3. Bolton Wanderers v Blackburn Rovers
Both sides look the most likely out of the bottom five to escape relegation; that may change of course after this fixture.
(15.00 Saturday 24 March)
4. Wolverhampton Wanderers v Bolton Wanderers
A must win for Wolves, an away win could well see Bolton pull clear from danger.
(15.00 Saturday 31 March)
5. Arsenal v Manchester City
City's last real test before facing United for the title. Arsenal may take a more pragmatic approach to this fixture - choosing a point to help secure fourth spot rather than gambling for the win in a bid to finish higher than Spurs.
(16.00 Sunday 8 April, LIVE: Sky Sports 1/HD1)
6. Chelsea v Newcastle United
The further into the future you look, the less sure you can be of the significance of fixtures. As it stands though, this could be Newcastle's last chance to grab a deserved Europa League spot without having to hope that a non-qualifer doesn't make it to the FA Cup final.
(15.00 Saturday 14 April - will be re-scheduled if Chelsea get to the FA Cup semi-finals)
7. Arsenal v Chelsea
A straight play-off for the fourth Champions League spot. Chelsea's run-up to this fixture is much tougher, though in the desperate scramble for European places, both teams could be all played out by the time this comes around.
(12.45 Saturday 21 April, LIVE: Sky Sports 2/HD2)
8. Manchester City v Manchester United
If United gain a four point lead going into this game, the title is theirs if they can get a victory here. Whoever has the advantage at the end of this game should go on to take the crown.
(20.00 Monday 30 April, LIVE: Sky Sports 1/HD1)
9. Blackburn Rovers v Wigan Athletic
At the time of writing it looks like Wolves and QPR will go down along with Wigan. An away win here could drag Blackburn back into the mire, and for Wigan lead nicely to their final fixture.
(14.00 Sunday 6 May)
10. Wigan Athletic v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Twice in the last six seasons, Wigan have left it to the final day to escape relegation. This fixture could provide them with yet another Houdini act.
(15.00 Sunday 13 May)

1 comment :

Josh Tarrant said...

It is all nicely balanced leading into the final 10 rounds of fixtures.
Good pick of top 10 matches.
It has been a good season - would have been even better if Spurs or Arsenal could have been a bit closer to the top.
10 games to go and it is a 2 horse race. Should be 3 or 4 next season.