Chelsea prepare for coronation as relegation battle heats up

Premier League preview: west London pub landlords prepare for bank holiday bonanza

Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates with a teammate
(Image credit: Clive Rose/Getty)

The race for the Premier League could be over this weekend, with Chelsea just one win away from claiming their first title since 2010. But even if the Blues have the championship wrapped up there is still plenty to play for elsewhere.

The battle for Champions League spots is not quite over, and a Spurs win over Man City would put the cat amongst the pigeons, as would slips by either Arsenal or Man United.

At the bottom no-one is dead yet, but QPR and Burnley are on life support and badly need a win. The battle for the final spot is becoming ever more intriguing and Newcastle, Hull, Aston Villa and even West Brom could be dragged into the dogfight this weekend.

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Here's the best of the weekend action.

Chelsea v Crystal Palace

The landlords of west London could be in for a bank holiday bonanza on Sunday as Chelsea fans are likely to spend the afternoon and evening celebrating their coronation as league champions, without having to worry about work on Monday.

Whether or not their brand of football is boring, it is undeniable that the Blues have been the best team in the division all season and it is pretty much unthinkable that they will lose their unbeaten home record against their London rivals Crystal Palace. Avoiding defeat is one thing, but if they want to parade the Premier League trophy round Stamford Bridge they will have to win the game. Again, the omens look good.

Palace may have won five of their last six away games, but none of them were against a team in the top eight.

Strikers Diego Costa and Loic Remy are fighting to be fit, but even without them Chelsea, as they showed on Wednesday against Leicester, have enough in their locker to win. Anything other than a win on Sunday would be a big surprise, and a huge disappointment for the Stamford Briodge faithful.

Tottenham v Man City

This game could have dramatic consequences in the race for Champions League football. On paper Spurs, along with Liverpool and Southampton, are out of the running, but a win for the Lilywhites at least keeps the dream alive and will put the wind up City, whose season could end in something close to disaster.

A Spurs win would also put the pressure on Arsenal, who play on Monday.

On the other hand, a win for City would ensure them a top-four finish and could jeapardise Spurs's chances of a top six finish.

Who knows how this will pan out. Spurs have been erratic, but not quite as erratic as City, who have lost four in a row away from home. But Sergio Aguero has nine goals in six games aginst Tottenham in the league, so a 0-0 looks unlikely.

Leicester v Newcastle

You would have to be an ostrich with your head in the sand not to have noticed Leicester's recent resurgence. A fifth victory in six games for Nigel Pearson's side on Saturday lunchtime would lift the Foxes to within one point of the Magpies, who have lost their last seven games, and have not won away from home since January.

Robert Huth and Andy King are likely to be absent for Leicester, but Newcastle are still without striker Papiss Cisse. But it's more about passion than personnel at the this stage of the season and Leicester have shown that in spades recently, while Newcastle have been a rabble. A home win is on the cards unless Magpies boss John Carver finds a way to motivate his troops – although the threat of relegation could do it.

Liverpool v QPR

You would have thought that Brendan Rodgers's side were the ones in danger of relegation after the roasting they have been given this week after another lacklustre display and defeat against Hull. But Liverpool remain in fifth, even if Champions League qualification is still a distant dream.

But the Reds need a win to maintain that position and so does Rodgers to keep the critics off his back. But with Daniel Sturridge out for the season, Mario Balotelli looking increasingly disinterested, Rickie Lambert long forgotten and Raheem Sterling out of form, who will he play up front?

As for QPR, they are all but down, and even a win would not lift them out of the drop zone. A defeat would not end their hopes mathematically but it would leave them in need of a miracle. A draw is probably the best they can hope for in front of the Kop.

This weekend's other matches:


Aston Villa v Everton

Sunderland v SouthamptonSwansea v StokeWest Ham v BurnleyMan Utd v West Brom


Hull v Arsenal

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