Gerrard could kill his beloved Liverpool’s Quadruple dream, a north London derby worth over £35m… and will Chelsea lose grip of third place? Things to look out for in a bumper Premier League midweek
- Chelsea could be in danger of losing third-place if they continue their poor form
- Tottenham and Arsenal lock horns in a clash vital to the outcome of the top four
- Everton could move one step closer to safety with a favourable clash at Watford
As we approach the final few weeks of the season, the Premier League returns on Tuesday for a set of midweek features.
Not every team is in action, but there is plenty of important games to be played with the battle for Champions League football heating up, the battle for the golden boot going to the wire and of course Steven Gerrard coming up against Liverpool.
Chelsea could now actually slip out of third-place despite looking comfortable for so many months and Everton can go one step closer to ensuring Premier League survival.
Chelsea are in danger of slipping out of third-place in the Premier League this mid-week
Sportsmail previews the things to look out for in the mid-week Premier League fixtures, including the golden boot race, as the season comes to a close.
THIS WEEK’S FIXTURES
Aston Villa v Liverpool, 8pm
Leeds v Chelsea, 7.30pm
Leicester v Norwich, 7.45pm
Watford v Everton, 7.45pm
Wolves v Man City, 8.15pm
Tottenham v Arsenal, 7.45pm
Can Chelsea actually lose grip of third?
Chelsea looked clear in third for quite some time, but they now face the danger of losing that spot, and even missing out of the Champions League although the latter looks unlikely.
The Blues have struggled of late, winning just two of their last six, and failing to win in their last three Premier League fixtures.
The poor run of form has seen Arsenal catch them up as they now sit just one point behind while Tottenham are still five behind heading into the final three fixtures.
Thomas Tuchel’s side do however face an easier opponent in Leeds who are also struggling and have slipped into the relegation zone.
It is a must-win match for both side’s, but for very different reasons, but you’d think the Blues new owner Todd Boehly will be urging them to ensure they have Champions League football next season.
A win over Leeds would all but ensure a top-four finish with Arsenal and Tottenham facing each other on Thursday night.
Chelsea must turn their fortunes around to finish third or face being caught by Arsenal
Gerrard v Liverpool
When you think of Liverpool, Steven Gerrard is one of the names you think of, and he was such a key figure for the Reds over so many years.
It will be strange for Reds supporters and the former midfielder himself to come up against each other.
But, nevertheless it’s something they will have to get use to, and quickly as Gerrard has impressed already in his managerial career with Rangers and now Villa.
Villa are coming off the back of Saturday’s 3-1 win at Burnley which left them 11th and Gerrard wants his men to stand up against his former club and even potentially end any hope they have in the title race.
Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard will come up against his former club Liverpool on Tuesday
‘Liverpool are a world-class team. Arguably, the best team in the world right now. We’re well aware of the challenge,’ said Gerrard.
‘I’ve spoken many times about how I respect the coach and the coaching staff there. You either fear that or you put your shoulders back and try to take it on and find situations where you can have your moments in the game.
‘Every team on the planet, historically or now, there’s always areas or situations that happen in a game where you can hurt them.
‘We’re well aware of the size of the challenge, but it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to it. Big games of football are what it’s all about.’
Gerrard has described his former club Liverpool as the best team in the world right now
Golden Boot race
Mohamed Salah is currently leading the race with 22 goals, although Tottenham forward Heung-Min Son is hot on his tail with 20.
The Egyptian international will be hoping to fill his boots against Aston Villa on Tuesday evening to end any hope Son or even Cristiano Ronaldo have of catching the Liverpool ace.
Ronaldo, however, has 18 goals and only one game left to play this season so unless he scores a bucket load it’s just a two-horse race for the title.
Son also has a tougher fixture than Salah as Spurs face fierce rivals Arsenal on Thursday – meaning it could be the perfect chance for Salah to stretch his lead with the target of winning the award for a third time.
Although Salah has struggled to find the net of late after starting the season on fire, scoring his 15th goal back in mid-December.
The race for the golden boot could go to the wire between Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah (left) and Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son (right)
North London derby
What more needs to be said than the north London derby? It’s normally a big occasion no matter when it is on the fixture list, but it just so happens there is more riding on it at this stage of the season.
The clash between Tottenham and Arsenal will almost certainly play a huge part in the battle for the top four – therefore it adds more spice to the clash.
Arsenal currently sit third and are four points clear of Spurs in fourth, but this is not only about Champions League football next season – and the small matter of around £35m in money earned by qualifying – but also major bragging rights.
Especially considering the winner could prevent the other from playing in Europe’s elite competition and instead having to settle for Europa League.
The north London derby has even more spice than normal with it being a battle for the top four
Surely Everton can take another step towards safety
A team that looked destined for relegation just a matter of weeks ago, can go one step closer to ensuring their Premier League survival, when they take on Watford on Wednesday evening.
The Toffees have won three of their last five Premier League fixtures, with the other results being a defeat to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby, and a draw with Leicester City.
Frank Lampard’s side will be backing themselves to continue that rich vein of form and take advantage of coming up against already relegated Watford.
They’ll see it as a good chance to put their game in hand to good use, although Leeds are also playing, but they face a tough test in Chelsea.
Everton can take another step towards Premier League safety with a win over Watford
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