In Review

Premier League preview: Chelsea and Man Utd in the spotlight

After their midweek Champions League exit, Chelsea will have to regroup for the title race

The Premier League is back after a break last weekend for the FA Cup quarter-finals. Some sides will be refreshed by the breather and raring to go, but others, notably Manchester United and Chelsea, face a test of their characters after troubling results last time out

Saturday fixtures:
Arsenal v West Ham United, Saturday, 3pm

Arsenal will be strong favourites when they host the Hammers at the Emirates. With just two league defeats in 2015, the Gunners go into the game on the back of Monday’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat of Manchester United. West Ham, in contrast, have suffered a terrible slump in form post-Christmas, winning just one of their last 11 league matches. Additionally, recent fixtures between the two clubs suggest a victory for Arsenal: West Ham have lost the last eight games against the Gunners. "We know how difficult it is at the Emirates, where we've actually gone in front a few times but not managed to hold on,” said West Ham boss Sam Allardyce. "We'll go there and give it our best shot and see what happens. I think they have different threats from all over the team, which is why they are so difficult to beat, especially at home.”

Burnley v Manchester City, Saturday, 5.30pm

The last time the two sides met in the league was December, when Burnley recovered from a 2-0 deficit at half-time to draw 2-2 at the Etihad. Neither City nor Burnley have been in top nick this year with City suffering defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal, while the Clarets have taken just two points from their last seven league outings and are now second from bottom in the table. City – who have no injury problems to report – will be looking to capitalise on Chelsea’s shocking Champions League exit in midweek, when they could only draw 2-2 with Paris Saint-Germain, sending them out on the away goals rule. With the Blues not in action until Sunday, City know that victory over Burnley will leave them just two points behind the Premier League leaders.

Sunday
Chelsea v Southampton, Sunday 1.30pm

The only positive to take for Chelsea from their dispiriting result against PSG on Wednesday is that they can now concentrate solely on winning the league title. With 11 matches left, the Blues have a five-point lead at the top of the table but Southampton will arrive at the Bridge on Sunday looking to exploit Chelsea’s fragile morale in the wake of their Champions League failure. “There is an awful lot to do but it’s in our hands and we have to respond,” declared Chelsea captain John Terry. “We’re a few points clear and need to keep that gap and maintain it.” Meanwhile, manager Jose Mourinho had this message for his players after the Paris disappointment. “No time to cry. Move on and look forward.”

Man Utd v Tottenham, Sunday, 4pm

Six days after losing to Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-final, Manchester United welcome the Gunners’ north London rivals to Old Trafford. Spurs have become United’s bogey team in recent seasons and the Red Devils have failed to take maximum points in their last five league matches. That must change on Sunday if United are to remain fourth and keep on course for Champions League qualification, while the same applies to Tottenham. They lie sixth on 50 points, three behind fourth-placed United, and victory for the visitors will see them climb above Liverpool (who play Swansea on Monday night). United are without the suspended Angel Di Maria and Jonny Evans, while Robin van Persie is still sidelined with injury and there are doubts over the fitness of Ashley Young and Luke Shaw, both of whom picked up knocks in the loss to Arsenal.

Other fixtures
Saturday

Crystal Palace v QPR

Leicester v Hull

Sunderland v Aston Villa

West Brom v Stoke

Sunday

Everton v Newcastle

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