If you're a fan of the Premier League (and if you're reading this you really must be), this weekend features a pair of must watch contests that are going to shape the landscape of the title race in the Premier League. Arsenal losing to Bolton (with a Daniel Sturridge goal) pretty much trimmed the title picture down to just Chelsea and Manchester United. Chelsea currently sit just six points back of the leaders with four games to play, including an absolutely huge six pointer at Old Trattford on May 8th. All three contests with United this season have been very closely contested, so their is no reason to think that this one will be any different.
Winning that game is obviously a must if we want to retain the title, and goal differential is going to be a factor as well. United currently hold the tie breaker, with a +39 compared to Chelsea's +37. Chelsea taking care of business by any margin against United, however, will switch the advantage in the tiebreaker back over to Chelsea. Realistically, this means that to retain the title Chelsea need to win out their remaining four games while hoping United drop two of their remaining four. After the jump we'll take a look at both teams schedules and see what we should be hoping for.
That's a pair of very tough fixtures between two tricky but very winable ones. The good news for Chelsea is that neither Newcastle or Everton are in the relegation discussion, so neither should be bunkering down and playing for the draw. With goal differential potentially deciding the race, this could be a big factor. Beating Spurs is going to be key to putting the pressure on United, with their recent form we really should be looking to control that game.
Next we'll take a look at the run in for United. United are still alive in the Champions league, so I've included those remaining games in italics:
Shalke (A) 4/26
Arsenal (A) 5/1
Shalke (H) 5/4
Chelsea (H) 5/8
Blackburn (A) 5/14
Blackpool (H) 5/22
United have a pair of tricky fixtures midweek prior to their biggest Premier League games of the season, which can only be good news for Chelsea. Here's hoping that Shalke give United a tough run today, forcing them to think about their game next week. Blackpool and Blackburn may also be tricky affairs, as both teams are firmly in the relegation battle. I'd expect both of them to bunker down and play for a point, meaning goals may be tough to come by.
This weekend is absolutely huge for Chelsea. Arsenal can do us a huge favor by beating United this weekend, and doing so combined with a win against Spurs will put us back in control of our own fate as far as the title is concerned. We'd at worst be tied with United on goal differential heading into our big head to head, and we're probably the more likely team to expand that in the last two weeks. A United win combined with a Chelsea loss would effectively clinch the title for United, giving them a nine point lead with three to play and a decent lead in goal differential. Any other combination of dropped points will muddy the waters some, and likely take goal differential out of play as results will decide the title. Here's hoping for a rough two weeks for United combined with Chelsea finally clicking into high gear again.