Weekend Preview: What to look out for
From title fights to promotion and relegation battles, here's what to look out for this weekend across England's top four leagues.
A real Super Sunday
I’ve lost count of how many times first place in the Premier League has changed hands this season (postcards are welcome with the answer). In all seriousness though, it has been a title race to remember, with twists, turns and some majestic football played by both Liverpool and Man City, along the way.
With each playing on the same day, one after the other and live on Sky, Sunday really is deserving of the ‘Super’ on this occasion. First up, City head to Palace. The South London side, responsible for the only blotch on City’s otherwise perfect home record, will be out to record a famous double over the Champions.
Challengers to their crown, Liverpool, host Chelsea straight after in a mouthwatering clash at Anfield. Worse-case scenario they’ll need to win to reclaim top spot but should City slip-up once more against Palace, then we could be looking at Liverpool extending their lead to four and, at best, five points with just a few weeks of the season left.
Premier League survival fight could become clearer
We’ll know a lot more about the occupants of the final relegation spot after this weekend’s round of games that’s for sure. 18th currently are Cardiff - they’re away at Burnley, realistically needing a result to remain in contention.
I say this as you’d expect one of Southampton and Brighton - five points above the Bluebirds and with a vastly superior goal difference - to take points from their mid-table opponents (Wolves and Bournemouth).
You could say Cardiff’s destiny is still in their own hands with games to play against teams in and around them. But taking nothing points wise from Turfmoor or their re-arranged midweek clash away at fellow strugglers Brighton, could leave the Bluebirds with too big a gap to close.
Sat: Brighton vs. Bournemouth (15:00)
Sat: Burnley vs. Cardiff (15:00)
Sat: Southampton vs. Wolves (15:00)
Tues: Brighton vs. Cardiff (19:45)
Crunch games in The Championship
Where do we start with the league many consider to be the best league in the world? (Or is that just my opinion?)
Finally, it looks as if the three into two is now two into one with Norwich having peeled away from Leeds and Sheffield United to hold a six point advantage at the top. The Canaries may have the chance to further increase their lead at Wigan on Sunday if Leeds fail to beat in-form Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on Saturday evening.
Sheffield United, heavily fancied to see off Millwall at Bramall Lane, will be hoping their fierce city rivals can do them a favour by stopping Leeds.
On the up? Norwich are close
With West Brom looking dead certs to end up fourth, there are six contenders for the two play-off spots remaining, two of whom, Aston Villa in 5th and Bristol City in 6th, play each other on Saturday.
Hosts Villa are in red hot form having won their last seven but Lee Johnson’s side can’t be written off after recent wins at Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and at home to West Brom.
Middlesbrough, Derby, Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday make up the chasing pack. 'Boro are faced with the prospect of being leapfrogged by Hull should they lose to the Tigers in their 3 o’clock meet at the Riverside on Saturday.
One almighty relegation scramble in third tier
You’ve probably come across the state of the League One table of late, for its sheer ridiculousness. With five rounds of games still to go for most, we’re still none the wiser as to who the four relegated teams will be.
Walsall in 23rd are just six points from the mid-table mediocrity of 13th occupied currently by Gillingham. If we say Bradford have given themselves too much to do at this stage, there are still ELEVEN clubs in danger of falling through that dreaded trap door.
One standout game down there will see Wycombe, winless in 12 and seemingly in free fall, head to Roots Hall, where Southend, themselves without a win in 13, lie in wait with their new manager Kevin Bond. Accrington vs. Walsall is also one to keep an eye out for - both are winless in five and in dire need of points.
Accrington Stanley vs. Walsall (15:00)
Bristol Rovers vs. Bradford City (15:00)
Gillingham vs. Shrewsbury (15:00)
Southend vs. Wycombe (15:00)
Lincoln sealing promotion
The Imps were in the non-league wilderness just two years ago. But they’ll have opportunity to secure promotion to the third tier for the first time this century, should they record a 24th league win on Saturday.
Cheltenham will play the role of potential party poopers at a packed Sincil Bank with fans getting ready to celebrate a second promotion in three seasons. The taking of all three points at closest rivals MK Dons last weekend leaves Lincoln nine points ahead of third with five to play and, crucially, eleven points ahead of fourth.
A win will seal a historic day for a club on the up but even if they fail with their first bite of confirming the inevitable, Danny Cowley’s men could even have promotion confirmed if their fellow promotion rivals all drop points. Champagne bottles at the ready!