Premier League Midweek Preview: Tension Top & Bottom

We’re truly in the midst of the Premier League run in with a slew of crucial midweek fixtures to devour.

Teams at both the top and the bottom of the Premier League are now in ‘must win every game’ territory. The race for the title, Champions League places and Premier League survival will be shaped on Wednesday and Thursday.

Will Arsenal or Liverpool slip up in favourable home fixtures? Can Aston Villa take a step towards 4th place?

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On Wednesday night, second-placed Arsenal face 18th place Luton at the Emirates Stadium. While a miserly draw away at City is admirable, Arsenal need to get back to winning ways against Luton. Mikel Arteta has a mostly full squad available to him, so he could rotate if he needs to. However, Luton are no pushovers and a win would be huge in their efforts to avoid relegation.

A little later on, third-placed Manchester City play against fourth-placed Aston Villa at the Etihad. A win would, incredibly, take Villa to within two points of City but that’s not what they’ll be thinking about. Three points would take them five clear of Spurs, who could only manage a draw against West Ham on Tuesday. They would be a ridiculously hard-earned three points against a City team that must win to keep pace with Arsenal and Liverpool.

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On Thursday, Liverpool host bottom-of-the-league Sheffield United at Anfield. If Arsenal win the night before, they will enter the game in second place. Whatever associated pressure may come with that is unlikely to hinder them against a poor Sheffield United, who look doomed.

Meanwhile Brentford, who need to win to avoid slipping towards the trap door, play against Brighton at home. On Thursday, Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge in the probably-should-be-competing-for-Europe-but-are-too-shambolic Derby. A win wouldn’t mean anything concrete for either team, particularly Chelsea, who are currently 12th.