Sunday and Monday’s Premier League games could have a big bearing on both ends of the table.
In Sunday’s early kick-off struggling Aston Villa welcome poor travellers West Ham to Villa Park.
In the late kick-off on Sunday Manchester United host Everton at Old Trafford.
On Monday night Liverpool welcome out-of-form West Brom to Anfield on Monday looking to gain ground on the teams above them.
Aston Villa are currently in major trouble at the bottom of the Premier League. The Villans find themselves second from bottom in the league, with just QPR below them.
Villa claimed a point in a 3-3 draw at Everton last time out, but managed to throw away a two goal lead.
The point left Villa two points away from Premier League safety. Paul Lambert’s side have not won in eight games and haven’t kept a clean sheet in nine. Sunday’s visitors should be the perfect team to remedy that against though.
The Irons haven’t won away from home since the middle of November. Their home form however has ensured that they haven’t been embroiled in the relegation battle. Sam Allardyce’s team are currently nine points clear of the relegation zone.
The recent return to form and fitness of England striker Andy Carroll will be encouraging for everybody involved with the Hammers and they will be hoping to move up the Premier League table with a win in the Midlands.
In the late kick-off Manchester United host Champions League chasing Everton at Old Trafford. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that he could make a number of changes to his team for this clash, with a crucial midweek Champions League clash with Real Madrid on his mind.
United have a strong squad, but Everton can’t be underestimated. The Toffee’s defeated the Red Devils in the opening game of the season and also came back from two goals down to draw 4-4 at United last season, in what was considered the game that cost the Red Devils the title.
United are nine points clear of reigning champions and bitter-rivals Manchester City, but could extend that lead depending on the Citizens result at Southampton in Saturday’s late kick-off. United are unbeaten in 13 matches in all competitions, but Everton won’t be an easy side to defeat.
Everton’s star player Marouane Fellaini caused the United defence all sorts of problems in August, but the Belgium international is doubtful for this clash because of a hip troublesome hip injury.
Everton are three points behind fourth-place Tottenham, but could go into this game six points behind Spurs. The Toffee’s have lost just three times in their last 34 Premier League games. A win at Old Trafford will be difficult though.
Liverpool host West Brom at Anfield on Monday night, in the first of two consecutive home games for the Reds. The Reds are currently in seventh place, nine points behind fourth place Tottenham.
Their form has been slightly inconsistent in recent weeks having won one game of their last four games, but Brendan Rodgers’ side have produced impressive displays against Arsenal and Manchester City in two 2-2 draws. However, Liverpool fans will be frustrated that neither performance produced maximum points for the Reds.
The clash against the Baggies is a big chance to gain maximum points though, as the Midlanders have struggled to gain points in recent months. The Baggies have suffered defeats in three out of their last four Premier League fixtures, with the other game resulting in a 2-2 home draw with Midlands rivals Aston Villa.
Can Villa defeat West Ham to move out of the relegation zone?