Man City vs Arsenal: 'Monster' clash after Leicester party
Jamie Vardy will host a celebration on Saturday, but it's still serious business for City and Arsenal on Sunday
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy will be hosting a party on Saturday night, but it's a ticket to see the newly-crowned Premier League champions in action against Everton earlier that day that is surely the hottest event in football this weekend.
However, once the hangovers have cleared, there is the small matter of Sunday's showdown between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad to consider.
Even at Christmas, the TV schedulers must have had this match down as the title decider, little knowing that Captain Morgan and co would be laying on cocktails in the East Midlands a day earlier.
But even though it will now have no bearing on the title race, Sunday's match has massive repercussions in the battle for the Champions League. If City blow their chance against the Gunners, then incoming manager Pep Guardiola could find himself leading his first-ever assault on the Europa League next term.
A win for Arsenal, on the other hand, guarantees their fans another season of underachievement in the Champions League and could leave the team level on points with Tottenham Hotspur, if Mauricio Pochettino's side slip up against Southampton.
It makes for a "monster game", says Graeme Souness of Sky Sports. "It is vital for both sides to put a marker down and show that they can deal with disappointment because they have not dealt with it very well so far this season."
Neither side has "shown any resilience to bounce back when things have got tough", he adds: "Players have gone missing and that is one of the reasons why Leicester have won the league."
From a City perspective, Manuel Pellegrini's first task will be to lift his side after their limp Champions League defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday. He must also come to terms with the loss of skipper Vincent Kompany, who is out with yet another muscle problem after pulling up early at the Bernabeu.
Also missing will be fellow defenders Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov, as well as midfielder David Silva.
However, Mark Lawrenson of the BBC believes that the side will rally for their manager. "It is Manuel Pellegrini's final home game in charge of City and the players and fans will want to give him a decent send off," he says, predicting a home win.
Paul Merson of Sky Sports is not so sure. City were dreadful in Madrid, he says, and Arsenal will want to take advantage before the arrival of Guardiola.
"If there's ever a chance for Arsenal to win at the Etihad again, this is the game. If they don't win this game, you'd have to ask serious questions. Man City are there for the taking, all day long," he says.
The Gunners are in relatively good shape in relation to injuries. After another injury-ravaged season, they have only two first-teamers out in the form of Per Mertesacker and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, both of who face uncertain futures.