Premier League: The final countdown

Kelvin Leong has never seen a tighter Premier League table than the one this season. Oh what joy!

Kelvin Leong has never seen a tighter Premier League table than the one this season. Oh what joy!

The league title is still up for grabs, the coveted UEFA Champions League play-off fourth spot is still hanging in the balance, and the relegation dogfight is very much alive, with the exception of Portsmouth.

Manchester United’s last gasp victory against City at the weekend, coupled with Chelsea’s humiliating loss to Spurs and Arsenal’s puzzling defeat at the hands of Wigan, has thrown the title race wide open.

Spurs have regained fourth spot ahead of Roberto Mancini’s cash-rich City side while Burnley, Hull, West Ham and Wolverhampton are stuck in the rut at the bottom of the hill.

With an average of four to five games left for all the top–flight clubs, it is ‘squeaky-bum time’ as Sir Alex Ferguson once said.

Will Chelsea’s consistent season derail in the next four weeks? Can the Red Devils retain the league title and overtake Liverpool’s record of 18 league titles?

It could all come down to two men – Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney, who between them have accounted for a whopping 51 goals (Drogba 25, Rooney 26).

Drogba seems to have lost a bit of steam in the last two games, while Rooney is struggling to play on with an injury. The ribbon colours on the trophy will depend on which of these two warriors can grab the rope and drag their team across the finishing line first.

Third placing will most likely belong to the Gunners while the next two seats in the top five will see Spurs and City go toe-to-toe as they slug it out to determine who makes it to the holy grail that is the Champions League.

Once again, it could all boil down to how two men perform – Croatian playmaker Luka Modric and Argentine grinder Carlos Tevez.

Tevez’s 21-goal haul has been the key reason for the Citizens’ good season while Modric’s magnificent midfield play typifies Spurs’ doggedness despite an alarming injury-list at White Hart Labe.

May 5 will see the two clubs square off at the City of Manchester Stadium in what could be a date with destiny.

The side that strikes the killer blow in this game will probably end up reaping the rewards. Gladiators like Michael Dawson, Craig Bellamy and Gareth Bale have to stand up and be counted. No place to hide, no time to lose. Quite simply heaven or hell. No in between for the 22 brave warriors chosen to play in the biggest game of the season for both clubs.

As for the bottom-dwellers, it looks as if that will also go down to the wire.

Burnley seem lost and have not really recovered from the departure of Owen Coyle to Bolton, while Hull’s sacking of Phil Brown, and the subsequent appointment of Iain Dowie has failed to lift the KC Stadium troops.

Can the Tigers and the Clarets hit form to surpass the Hammers of Upton Park and Mick McCarthy’s pack of Wolves?

It’ll be tough, but we all know everything is possible in football. Just ask a fuming Wenger who is probably still recovering from the shocking defeat by Wigan.

So stock up on the coffee and tea and standby for a month of pulsating Premier League action.

And just in case your partner decides to throw your television set out of the window, you can take your laptop with you on a milk run excuse and log on to www.espnstar.com to keep abreast of all the action.


Remaining Fixtures

24th April 2010
Manchester United vs Tottenham
West Ham vs Wigan
Wolverhampton vs Blackburn
Hull vs Sunderland
Bolton vs Portsmouth
Arsenal vs Manchester City

25th April 2010
Aston Villa vs Birmingham
Burnley vs Liverpool
Everton vs Fulham
Chelsea vs Stoke

1st May 2010
Birmingham vs Burnley
Tottenham vs Bolton
Stoke vs Everton
Portsmouth vs Wolverhampton
Manchester City vs Aston Villa

2nd May 2010
Liverpool vs Chelsea
Fulham vs West Ham
Sunderland vs Manchester United

3rd May 2010
Wigan vs Hull
Blackburn vs Arsenal

5th May 2010
Fulham vs Stoke
Manchester City vs Tottenham

9th May 2010
Arsenal vs Fulham
Wolverhampton vs Sunderland
Chelsea vs Wigan
Manchester United vs Stoke
West Ham vs Manchester City
Burnley vs Tottenham
Bolton vs Birmingham
Hull vs Liverpool
Everton vs Portsmouth
Aston Villa vs Blackburn .

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