Goal.com Predicts: Chelsea 3-3 Tottenham, Manchester United 3-0 Fulham, Stoke City 1-2 Manchester City

Roberto Mancini's side have the chance to leapfrog the league leaders until they play on Monday night, while the clash at Stamford Bridge could decide a Champions League spot

The race is now well and truly on for the Premier League title, Champions League spots and the bid to beat the drop at the other end of the table.

And the weekend starts with Chelsea's bid to secure another year of Champions League football at the expense of London rivals Tottenham, who are the visitors to Stamford Bridge.

The other side bidding to get to that last Champions League spot, Arsenal, are in action at home to the out-of-sorts Aston Villa, who are aiming to avoid getting caught up in the relegation battle at the bottom of the standings.

Two teams already involved in that battle are Bolton and Blackburn, who meet at the Reebok Stadium, but this battle has been somewhat overshadowed by the build-up, with Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba still critically ill in hospital.

Meanwhile, in the title race, Roberto Mancini's Manchester City can leapfrog rivals United, for two days at least, as they travel to Stoke City before the Red Devils host Fulham.

Without any further ado, here are the predictions from our very own Goal.com writers:



I am looking forward to a lunchtime feast in west London. Not in terms of cordon bleu football, of course. Both teams are too frail for that.

But this encounter has all the ingredients of another entertaining goal-fest in a Premier League season full of them.

Tottenham need to halt a damaging downward spiral and Chelsea can ill afford to drop any more points at home in the three-horse London race for the third and fourth Champions League places.

Subplots abound. How much of a distraction for Tottenham is the prospect of losing their manager to England? Can Fernando Torres reproduce his excellence at the Bridge six days earlier against stellar opposition?  Will he be given the chance? Chelsea's old stagers will surely have half an eye on starting places against Benfica three days later.


Aston Villa


A seventh consecutive victory beckons for Arsene Wenger’s side at the Emirates on Saturday, with the Gunners embarking on an incredible winning streak of late to turnaround a season which had looked dead in the water.

The 1-0 win away to Everton in midweek was further example of the growing resilience amongst the squad, and in turn saw them pull a point ahead of north London rivals Tottenham into third place in the Premier League.

Last time Villa travelled to the Emirates, a Darren Bent double snatched all three points for then-caretaker boss Gary McAllister but, with the England striker currently sidelined, the West Midlands outfit look even more blunt in attack.

While a second relegation in a row for boss Alex McLeish may be still be unlikely with his side 10 points above the dropzone, I don’t expect there to be any alleviation from the pressure beginning to surround the Scotsman against an Arsenal side in rampant form.



Expect this weekend's game at the Reebok to be an emotional day. It's been a week since Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at White Hart Lane and the after-effects are still being seen throughout football.

The midfielder's recovery has been remarkable and his team-mates will want to win the game for him. However, there is a danger that this week has taken its toll on the players emotionally and we could see something of a quiet performance from Owen Coyle’s men.

The Scot has said that he won’t make anyone play who doesn’t want to and, although no-one has yet come forward, I can’t see too many who will be keen on taking the pitch.

Blackburn, on the other hand, are on a high after two victories that put them five points clear of the drop-zone. I expect them to be too strong on the day but I would also wager that football won’t be at the forefront of everybody’s minds.



The past two weeks have induced a complete contrast of emotions upon Liverpool, with weekend and midweek results interchanging after losing to Sunderland before comprehensively disposing of Everton in this season’s second Merseyside derby.

Ten days later and the Reds have booked another date at Wembley after narrowly beating Stoke City in the sixth round, but sunk to defeat at QPR, having been 2-0 up with 15 minutes remaining, only to lose 3-2.

Kenny Dalglish was left speechless after the game at Loftus Road and has a lot of work to do to get his side ready for their tie with a club desperate to rise out of the relegation quagmire.

Wigan have shown encouraging signs of progression after a pretty dismal campaign has left them battling for their Premier League status at the foot of the table for most of the season and, like a wounded animal, look ready to do everything within their power to grasp at as many points as possible.



Norwich and Wolves find themselves close to the bottom of the form table, having both won only one of their last six matches in all competitions, but Paul Lambert's team have faced some difficult fixtures in that time.

Wolves, by contrast, since beating QPR, have suffered hammerings at the hands of Fulham, Manchester United and West Brom and also fell at home to fellow strugglers Blackburn.
Every tally added to the 'W' column will now be significant for the visitors. Blackburn have shown how quickly things can change and, indeed, Terry Connor's team's prospects could be looking a lot better if they get something from this fixture and then beat Bolton at home a week later.
Norwich like to take the game to the opposition at Carrow Road by stifling the centre of the midfield but are sometimes troubled by good wide play and I think the likes of Matt Jarvis and Michael Kightly may ask a few questions of their defence.



There really could not be a better time to visit the Stadium of Light, so the R's should be able to build on their stunning victory over Liverpool.

Mark Hughes' relegation-threatened side should capitalise on the fact that they will face a Sunderland side clearly distracted by next week's FA Cup quarter-final with Everton, as their 2-0 defeat at Blackburn demonstrated on Tuesday night.

It is only natural that Sunderland players will not be able to give everything they have got with Wembley looming, and that should open the door for the Hoops to build a bit of momentum as they attempt to avoid the drop.

Djibril Cisse will get a warm welcome from Sunderland fans thanks to his loan spell on Wearside, as should Anton Ferdinand, who switched between the clubs last summer.

However, it is fair to assume that out-of-sorts former Newcastle skipper Joey Barton will get a rough ride from both sets of supporters, after he was booed by fans at Loftus Road for his poor performance against Liverpool.


They were favourites for relegation before the season began but Brendan Rogers' side have made a mockery of such suggestions. The Swans have won three on the trot and lie just three points behind Liverpool in eighth place as they prepare for the visit of Everton to the Liberty Stadium.

The Toffees have had a tougher time of late. After beating Spurs 1-0 in the week that David Moyes celebrated his 10th year in charge, the club have bumbled through their last three fixtures, losing the Merseyside derby, drawing with Sunderland and tasting defeat again to Arsenal.

That said, their focus is clearly on making the FA Cup semi-final and, although Saturday's game at Swansea will still be treated with care, Tuesday's tie at the Stadium of Light will be far more important to Moyes and the fans.

With the Swans in such fine form and a defensive record the envy of most in the league, I expect another victory for Rogers' side.

Stoke City
Manchester City


Victory over Chelsea has reminded everyone that Manchester City are still very much in the title race this season. The boost following Wednesday’s win might be just what they need given they have not won at Stoke on their last four visits in league and cup.
City’s away form has taken a bit of a dip recently and they were beaten by Swansea on their last away league fixture. Stoke have been very strong at home this season, they have not lost in their last four home games, and their physical strength and power will test the City back line.
I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Carlos Tevez’s integration back into the City side, his off field actions have rightly been criticised but on the pitch he is still one of the best players in the league and will provide a real boost to City’s title charge.

West Brom


Roy Hodgson’s men have enjoyed a bright second half to the campaign, steering themselves well clear of danger while Newcastle have had an incredibly consistent season and still find Champions League qualification an outside target.

Neither West Brom nor Newcastle are particularly high-scoring sides, despite some of the Baggies' recent results meaning that this affair should be very tight.

Both sides have received welcome boosts on the injury front as Peter Odemwingie returns for the home side while Alan Pardew is likely to welcome Cheikh Tiote back into the fold.

With safety almost assured for the home side and Newcastle still in a battle to finish in a European spot, I expect the visitors will be wary of an open game with an away point very much of value, so will find myself surprised if there is to be a winner at the Hawthorns on Sunday.

Manchester United


The big red machine rumbles on and Fulham are the next team in Manchester United’s sights as they steam towards the Premier League title.

It amazes me how United are able to peak in the final three months of the season, year after year, and they are doing it against this season as they battle with Manchester City for the Premier League crown.

This is as close as a home banker as you will get at this stage of the campaign, with United facing a Fulham side sitting comfortably in mid-table and with nothing to play for.

The likelihood is that United will start this game second in the table, so I’m looking forward to seeing whether Sir Alex Ferguson’s men make a real statement of intent and look to thrash the Londoners on Monday night.

Wayne Rooney failed to score against Wolves last week but he has been a key figure for United this season and I expect him to keep up his superb goalscoring record and keep United in pole position to win the title.