Man City In Title Groove As Arsenal Face Spurs Test

London, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 26th Apr, 2024) Manchester City are in ominous form as the champions chase a fourth successive Premier League crown.

Leaders Arsenal face a stern test of their title credentials in the north London derby at top four hopefuls Tottenham, while Sheffield United are on the brink of relegation.

AFP Sport looks at three talking points ahead of this weekend’s action:

‘Frightening’ Man City make statement

Phil Foden issued a warning to Manchester City‘s title rivals after the champions’ “frightening” attack inspired a vital 4-0 demolition of Brighton.

Pep Guardiola’s side could not afford to slip up at the Amex Stadium on Thursday as they try to overhaul Arsenal in the title race.

And City rose to the challenge as Kevin De Bruyne’s header put them in front before Foden netted twice in the first half.

Julian Alvarez added the fourth after the break to end his goal drought as second placed City climbed within one point of Arsenal.

City have a game in hand over both Arsenal and third placed Liverpool, who are two points adrift of Guardiola’s men after their damaging loss at Everton on Wednesday.

The Etihad Stadium club will be champions yet again if they win their last five games, starting at Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

“In the first half it was frightening the way we attacked,” said Foden, while De Bruyne added: “I trust my team obviously, all respect to Arsenal and Liverpool because they are amazing.”

Arsenal must win at bitter rivals Tottenham for a second consecutive season to keep City at bay, while Liverpool take their spluttering challenge to West Ham.

Villa aim to cement top four place

With Tottenham facing a tricky task against Arsenal, Aston Villa have a golden opportunity to cement their grip on fourth place when they host troubled Chelsea.

Villa are six points clear of fifth placed Tottenham, who have two games in hand in the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

A win for Unai Emery’s men on Saturday evening and a loss for Tottenham would take Villa within touching distance of a first European Cup campaign since 1982-83.

The prospect of plundering a Chelsea defence breached five times by Arsenal on Tuesday will be all the incentive Villa striker Ollie Watkins needs to extend his hot streak.

Watkins has 19 league goals this term — behind only joint top-scorers Erling Haaland and Cole Palmer — and is also the top-flight’s leading assist provider with 12.

“I appreciate him and his progress. His commitment to do the work we always need has been fantastic, more than scoring goals, more than assists,” Emery said.

Blades face the chop

Sheffield United travel to Newcastle with the grim prospect of relegation hanging over them after a disastrous season.

With just three league victories, Chris Wilder’s bottom of the table team are 10 points from safety with four games left.

They are almost certain to return to the Championship just 12 months after winning promotion, with their crumbling defence at the root of their impending demise.

Beaten 4-2 at Manchester United on Wednesday, the Blades have conceded 92 goals in 34 league games, surpassing Derby‘s previous record of 89 in a 38-game top-flight season.

Their fate will be sealed if they lose at Newcastle on Saturday or if fourth bottom Nottingham Forest match their result against Manchester City on Sunday.

Asked if he believes his club can bounce back next season, Wilder said: “It’s going to be hard. We have to make big decisions. We have to get it right.”

Fixtures

Saturday (1400 GMT unless stated)

Aston Villa v Chelsea (1900), Everton v Brentford (1630), Fulham v Crystal Palace, Manchester United v Burnley, Newcastle v Sheffield United, West Ham v Liverpool (1130), Wolves v Luton

Sunday (1300 GMT unless stated)

Bournemouth v Brighton, Nottingham Forest v Manchester City (1530), Tottenham v Arsenal


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