Gerrard farewell overshadows Arsenal's trip to United

Premier League preview: not much will be decided this weekend, but there's still all to play for at the bottom

Steven Gerrard
(Image credit: Paul Ellis / AFP)

The penultimate week of the Premier League season is shaping up to be a curious affair. The championship is decided, the rest of the top four have been finalised and two of the three relegation places have been filled.

All that remains to be settled is who out of Manchester United, City and Arsenal will finish in fourth place, who will claim a place in the Europa League and who will go down with Burnley and QPR.

However, we are unlikely to get many answers. The relegation issue cannot be settled this weekend because two of the four remaining candidates for the drop, Leicester and Sunderland, are playing each other. The Europa League question hinges on the result of the FA Cup final and Arsenal's extra game means that the top four issue is sure to rumble on.

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However, there is one thing that will come to a conclusion this weekend – and that is Steven Gerrard's Anfield career, as he plays in front of the Kop for the final time. The Scouse legend's farewell could even overshadow the match between Arsenal and Manchester United.

Here's the best of the weekend action.

Man United vs Arsenal

There might not be as much riding on it as the fans and TV companies would have hoped, and the epic rivalry between these two grand old clubs may have eased in recent years, but there is no doubt that United against Arsenal remains one of, if not the, iconic fixture of the Premier League.

Arsenal's defeat at the hands of Swansea on Monday also adds spice to the clash as United will move above the Gunners if they win, although the London club do have a game in hand.

Danny Welbeck will be missing from the Arsenal side, meaning he will not get the chance to strut his stuff at Old Trafford once again. But the teams look evenly matched. Arsenal may have lost to Swansea but they have won their last five away games and are looking for a second win at Old Trafford this season, after beating United in the FA Cup.

United meanwhile, returned to winning ways against Crystal Palace last weekend after three straight defeats, and will be determined to claw their way above the Gunners as they try to avoid having to qualify for the Champions League via a play-off. They have not lost to Arsenal at home in the league since 2006. Plenty of the squad will also be playing for their futures at the club, which might concentrate their minds.

On the other hand, Arsene Wenger may have the FA Cup final on his mind as he considers who to throw into the Old Trafford bear pit. United will expect to emerge with at least a draw.

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

It's a cliche to talk about Liverpool fans as overly emotional, but there will be tears a-plenty at Anfield on Saturday evening as Steven Gerrard bids farewell to the Kop after 17 years. And with Liverpool's final game of the season against Stoke next week, this will also be the last time Gerrard wears the famous Red shirt in a match.

Alan Pardew is a prickly character and he will want his Palace side to ruin Gerrard's big day, but they are unlikely to succeed. No matter what the score, the biggest cheer of the day will come towards the end of the match when Gerrard is substituted off. They might still be applauding on the final day of the season.

Sunderland v Leicester

At the bottom of the table, this is the game that ensures Hull cannot be relegated at the weekend, as whatever the results this weekend one of these teams will still be within three points of the Tigers. But whoever wins this match will take an enormous step towards safety and depending on results elsewhere could even secure their Premier League status.

With both teams in full-on escape mode, this could be a great match. Leicester have won six of their last seven matches and Sunderland have lost only one of their last five and have won their last two.

Sunderland have a game in hand, but they cannot allow that to influence the way they approach this match. The danger for Leicester is that they look at their incredible run and take their foot off the pedal, but if they do they could come unstuck in the north east on Saturday.

Tottenham v Hull

The smart money is on Hull to go down. They have a horrible run-in and defeat to Burnley last week could prove terminal. It is asking a lot of a side with only three away wins all season to go to Spurs and take the spoils, but with a game against Man United next week they cannot afford to leave London empty handed.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, Spurs are still caught up in the fight for Europe, and will not roll over. Perhaps Steve Bruce's only hope is that Mauricio Pochettino decides to give 44-year-old Spurs keeper Brad Friedl a farewell appearance in goal and that he puts his back out.

QPR v Newcastle

Perhaps the two clubs who have endured the worst seasons in the division. QPR are already down, and Newcastle are in freefall. The Hoops will be playing their final Premier League game at Loftus Road for who knows how long, so they will want to sign off with a better performance than their fans have got used to this term.

Any Newcastle fans who make the long journey down south to watch their side, after the performances they have put in over recent weeks deserve a medal.

It's a hard game to call, but QPR, with nothing to worry about any more, may be the ones that emerge triumphant. And that would leave Newcastle on the verge of relegation.

The weekend's other fixtures:


Southampton v Aston Villa

Burnley v Stoke

West Ham v Everton


Swansea v Man City


West Brom v Chelsea

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