Thursday brings another busy night of Premier League action with ramifications up and down the table, and the genuine possibility of the crowning of the champions.
There are three games coming up, two kicking off at 18:00 before a mouthwatering clash at Stamford Bridge, with plenty on the line for both Chelsea and Manchester City.
Starting with the danger zone, Watford travel to Burnley with a big opportunity to put some daylight between themselves and the bottom three.
The Hornets go into the clash lying in 16th place in the table, just a point above Bournemouth in 18th, and West Ham in 17th, with Brighton the only side in the bottom six to have won since the season restarted.
Nigel Pearson’s men will be taking on a Burnley side that, arguably, still has a chance of finishing in the European positions, even if they start the match in 12th.
The 5-0 hammering at the hands of Manchester City in their first game back may have knocked their confidence but there is no real disgrace in losing at the Etihad, and the bigger problem is the continued absence of their leading scorers.
Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes are still sidelined, along with the likes of Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady, making Watford’s job that little bit easier.
The problem for
7/5 favourites Watford is they are the second-worst goalscorers in the division, mustering only 11 on the road, while they have won just twice away from Vicarage Road all season – and going for a low-scoring permutation should certainly be considered.
Arsenal Aim to Recover from Disastrous Restart
Southampton also entertain Arsenal at 18:00 with the pressure seemingly only on one side.
The Saints took a while to get going in their opening match but ran out deserved 3-0 winners at Norwich and can relax having opened a ten-point cushion to the relegation zone.
Arsenal have resumed in disastrous fashion, losing 3-0 at Man City before suffering a late blow to succumb 2-1 to Brighton last time out, losing Bernd Leno to injury in the process.
Europe is still a possibility for the Gunners, even if the top four looks out of reach, but such is the perceived state of the 11th-placed north Londoners that the Saints – who won this fixture 3-2 last year – are marginal favourites at
8/5 with Mikel Arteta’s men
7/4 and the draw at
City’s Last Stand at the Bridge?
And then comes the potential coup de grace at 20:15 where anything other than a City win will confirm Liverpool as champions.
City will be desperate to at least prolong their stay as champions, particularly as there are still seven games to go, and they are
4/5 favourites to do precisely that, even without the injured Sergio Aguero.
However, Chelsea are desperate for points themselves as they look to stay ahead of the chasing pack for a top-four place, while also trying to reel in third-placed Leicester, who are currently four points ahead.
Chelsea are certainly not without chances, particularly at
16/5 with the draw at
3/1, but they have lost five of the last seven meetings between the two sides, while they have already suffered five losses at the Bridge this season.
Although this looks a game full of goals, it is worth noting that six of the last seven meetings have seen only one side score and in only two of those seven matches have there been over 2.5 goals, including their most recent clash with City enjoying a 2-1 success earlier this season.