Still Lots to Play For in the English Premier League
Monday: Charlton versus Spurs (Fox Soccer Channel, 3pm ET)
If Alan Pardew’s Charlton side loses this pivotal match, the club south of London’s Thames River will be relegated to the Championship. A win will keep their survival hopes alive until Sunday. Spurs still has a UEFA Cup spot to fight for.
Wednesday: Chelsea versus Manchester United (Setanta Sports, 3pm ET)
Several weeks ago, we thought this was going to be the match to decide the title. Instead, pride is all that’s at stake and Chelsea’s unbeaten home record. Can United get the three points at Stamford Bridge, or will Ferguson decide to rest his stars and get his reserves much needed playing time? Chelsea, meanwhile, will line up on the pitch across from one another to welcome the Premiership champions on to the pitch at Stamford Bridge in a show of sportsmanship.
Mark Hughes’s Blackburn side is still within a shot of qualifying for next season’s UEFA Cup, but the Lancashire side will need to win this match and their last game of the season. However, Spurs will be fighting for a UEFA Cup spot too. The battle between Spurs and Blackburn should be good to watch. Back in November, the two teams drew 1-1 in a very controversial match after Phil Dowd sent off two players.
The relegation battle will be the main focus of attention with five teams in the race to avoid the drop (four, if Charlton loses on Monday). Fulham is not safe yet, although a point will guarantee them safety. The big matches of the last day will be Sheffield United against Wigan, and Man United v West Ham (could United give the Hammers a lifeline if Fergie rests most of his first team players?) Other matches of note are eight of the remaining nine fixtures: Spurs v Man City, Chelsea v Everton, Liverpool v Charlton, Middlesbrough v Fulham, Bolton v Aston Villa, Blackburn v Reading and Portsmouth v Arsenal.