This weekend in the Premier League
2. The race for Champions League qualification
|THE RACE FOR THIRD AND FOURTH
Tottenham welcome Manchester City to White Hart Lane with the aim of taking advantage of Arsenal's 0-0 draw with Everton last Tuesday.
Andre Villas-Boas' side have faltered of late - as is becoming increasingly common for the north London outfit at this point of the season - and have picked up just four points from the previous 12 available.
However, a comeback 2-2 draw against fellow top-four rivals Everton last time out will have buoyed Spurs - with Gylfi Sigurdsson again impressing in a role just behind their ineffectual strikeforce.
Six goals in his last six games for club and country has painted the Iceland international in a different light after initially struggling to settle at White Hart Lane - and has softened the blow of Gareth Bale's injury absence.
|BET OF THE WEEKEND
|Jim Knight, Goal.com Betting Editor
Manchester City's recent run of good form may be coming too late to stop their city rivals from regaining the Premeir League title in the next couple of weeks but it should prove to be useful from a betting point of view.
Although Tottenham's results this season have, overall, been fairly good, they have often struggled to keep clean sheets. They have only prevented visiting sides scoring on three occasions at White Hart Lane this season. When you look at their record against the top sides, this trend of defensive fragility is especially evident.
In 10 games against the current top-seven Premier League clubs, Spurs have conceded at least two goals on seven occasions and, although they have had a break following their Europa League exit, Manchester City to score over 1.5 team goals looks a solid bet at 11/10 (2.10) with Bet365. City have scored at least twice in six of their last nine games and have failed to score at all just once in that run.
Chelsea, meanwhile, travel to former Champions League-chasing side Liverpool - who looked to have had their faint top-four hopes extingished by a man-of-the-match display from Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy in a 0-0 draw on Saturday.
The Blues overcame a fiesty Fulham side 3-0 to reclaim third place over Arsenal but will be wary of a team they have not beaten since 2010 - losing four of their last five league games against Liverpool.
Rafael Benitez will also, of course, be returning to the club he won four trophies at - including the Champions League - during a six-year spell and the city where his wife and children still live. The Spaniard is attempting to put affection aside for Saturday's game, though. Sort of.
"The main thing is to stay in the top three and what I want is to win at Liverpool," Benitez told reporters. "And after, I wish them all the best and if they can win all their games until the end of the season, that will be fantastic."
Arsenal will look to continue their fine form - the Gunners have won seven of their past nine league game - against Martin Jol's side. The two teams played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in November with Olivier Giroud and Dimitar Berbatov both notching doubles, and the same pair will be keen to replicate that form.
The Bulgarian has not scored in his last three outings, while Giroud has just two goals to his name in his last seven Premier League showings - and missed a number of good opportunities against Everton three days ago.
David Moyes effectively ruled his team out of a top-four finish after once again failing to beat Arsenal away from home in their last outing, and a game against relegation-threatened Sunderland is likely to prove tougher in person than on paper. However, the Toffees have not lost against Paolo Di Canio's side since 22 December 2001 - with Everton winning 10 of the last 14 Premier League clashes.