Saturday, 2 April 2016

Spurs need Anfield victory to pile pressure on Leicester

After the usual highs and lows with England, it is back to the Premier League as the final stretch begins on what has been the most fascinating season for years. This weekend could be pivotal to deciding where the Premier League trophy will end up, Leicester host Champions League chasing Southampton, while Spurs face a tough trip to Anfield. Whilst at the bottom Norwich host Newcastle in a huge relegation clash.

Starting at the top though, and this will probably seem like another Leicester City to win the Premier League article, but it really is hard to see the Foxes’ slipping up. With Spurs in action first, on Saturday evening away to Liverpool, the result could be crucial in Leicester’s mind-set. Defeat for Spurs would allow the East Midlands outfit to open up an eight-point gap, with just six games to play. Title-race over, surely. However, should Spurs win at the fairly unpredictable Liverpool, then Leicester will approach their encounter against Southampton with just a two-point lead and the pressure will be firmly on them. Mauricio Pochettino will be delighted to welcome his key England quartet, Harry Kane, Danny Rose, Dele Alli and Eric Dier back unscathed after their heroics in Berlin last week, with the focus on Alli and Kane in particular to get the goals. Despite that, they are slight outsiders heading to Merseyside in the latest Premier League odds. But, with Jürgen Klopp returning to Dortmund on Thursday, Spurs fans will hope the German has one on eye on Europa League glory and may choose to rest some of his stars, particularly Phillipe Coutinho who was away in South America with Brazil.

A photo posted by Dele Alli (@delealli36) on

Elsewhere on Saturday, Arsenal host Watford, the side who dashed their FA Cup hopes, as they frantically try to stay in the title race. Manchester City go to Bournemouth as they now focus firmly on ensuring Pep Guardiola will be arriving at a Champions League club in the summer. Though the pick of the games at 3pm on Saturday surely will arrive at Carrow Road. Rafa Benitez takes his side to Norwich for an afternoon that promises to be tense, nervy and dramatic as the Geordies look to climb out of the bottom three. They were dealt a huge blow in the week with Rob Elliot joining first choice keeper Tim Krul on the treatment table, with his season over, so Karl Darlow will stand in. Sandwiched between those two are Newcastle’s north-east rivals Sunderland who host West Brom, in what Sam Allardyce must have down as a must-win.

Then all eyes will be on Leicester, Southampton will provide a real test, their stunning comeback last time out against Liverpool has left them four points off Manchester City in fourth. The introduction of Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane in particular changed that game so expect both to start at the King Power stadium. After that Manchester United host Everton to conclude the weekend games as they too look to close in on the final Champions League spot available.