The races at both ends of the Premier League table are heating up as we approach the final two months of the camapign. This is also the time of year when FA Cup fixtures find their way into our matchdays, leaving us with postponed matches to be rearranged.
Some teams look at these matches as a potential to gain points while the teams they chase have the day off, while other managers look at them with nothing but uncertainty.
Many of these matches could play vital roles in the way the Premier League turns out this season. Whether its deciding the top four or figuring out who will play next season in the Championship, these games have a huge role to play.
Here’s a look at five matches that could define the Premier League this season…
The Merseyside Derby has one more chapter this season after two draws earlier in the campaign.
Liverpool look to continue their hunt for at least a Europa League spot, currently sitting five points behind West Ham in fifth. Everton manager Roberto Martinez will try to secure his job for the future and while the club is in good form at the moment, a win over rivals always helps the resume.
Chelsea have no more trophies to play for, but what’s to stop them from getting in another one of the big club’s way?
The Blues were knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup over the past seven days, but have been playing well under Guus Hiddink. With a little luck, the Blues could end up in the Europa League next season but to do that, three points in fixtures like this one are a necessity.
Tensions are rising at the Emirates Stadium after recent matches. Some Gooners are calling for Arsene Wenger’s head after an embarrassing FA Cup exit to Watford at home.
Arsenal are still in the hunt for the title, but those hopes are slipping quickly as they are now eight points adrift of leaders Leicester City.
This match is a must win for the Gunners’ title hopes and the same could be said for Wenger to retain his job. A loss at home to West Brom would not fare well for supporters in North London.
A match that features two clubs on both ends of the Premier League races. Newcastle are desperate for results to escape relegation and Manchester City need to stay in the Champions League hunt.
It’s a daunting task for new manager Rafa Benitez to come away with at least a point when facing Manchester City, even at home. However, this could be one of those surprising matches that changes the whole outcome of the Premier League in terms of relegation and Champions League spots.
Having won the Capital One Cup, City have at least secured a Europa League spot next term, but obviously they need to ensure Champions League qualification before Pep Guardiola arrives in the summer.
United’s inconsistent attack will need to sharpen up during their remaining games if they want to make a push for the Champions League.
The Red Devils have beaten Palace twice so far this year, but a loss here could be detrimental to their season.
Louis van Gaal is still in the hot seat and if he doesn’t produce good results in must win matches against weaker opponents, the decision to keep him beyond the summer could be made for them.