Premier League, Week 32 preview: Manchester City take their title push to the Emirates

Richard Heathcote

All eyes are going to be on the Emirates, where Arsenal will take on Manchester City.

Manchester United vs. Aston Villa

Old Trafford; Saturday, 12:45 GMT/8:45 AM ET

Manchester United ran into quite the brick wall against Manchester City on Tuesday, effectively putting an end to their hopes of salvaging something approaching respectability from their season. Their opposition in this game will be quite a bit less daunting, with Aston Villa struggling to stay out of the relegation fight following a 4-1 embarrassment at home to Stoke City. There's not a whole lot to like for the neutrals in this one, and quite frankly, there's not much to like for partisan fans either.

Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea

Selhurst Park; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Chelsea enter the weekend as league leaders, but with Manchester City just three points behind with two games in hand, the Blues aren't quite in control of their own destiny. Needless to say, Chelsea can't afford to take anything other than full points from this game if they hope to hold the top spot come season's end; luckily for them, it's exceedingly difficult to see Crystal Palace posing much of a challenge. Tony Pulis' side are out of the relegation zone at the moment, but calling their current predicament uneasy would be quite the understatement. Every point is vital at this stage and it would be a bit of a shock to see Palace try to do anything other than grind out a result, but given the Blues' firepower even that seems like far too tall an order.

Southampton vs. Newcastle United

St. Mary's Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Both Southampton and Newcastle have earned the right to not endure a great deal of stress where their results are concerned. Neither side will be playing in the Champions League next season, nor will they be playing in the Championship; professionals always want to win and both sides would certainly love to finish on a strong now after promising starts gave way to solidly mid-table form as the season wore on. Still, it's tough for the uninvolved to pretend like their results are important any longer and while it's likely they'll put on a pretty good show, there are so many important games happening this weekend that investing the time in this one seems like a poor choice.

Stoke City vs. Hull City

Britannia Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Speaking of poor choices, one could opt to watch this game. Stoke and Hull are both still still nominally threatened by the relegation battle, but they're clearly better teams than those at the bottom of the table and nearly everything would have to go wrong the rest of the way for them to be in any real danger. It's somewhat terrifying to think about these teams in a situation where there's a great deal of incentive to play for a point, but here we are.

Swansea City vs. Norwich City

Liberty Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Swansea and Norwich looked very much like two teams that wouldn't be in this position at the start of the year, but things haven't gone as planned. The Canaries invested quite a bit in young but well-vetted talent that hasn't always lived up to (admittedly lofty) expectations, and their lack of attacking punch hasn't been helped by a porous defense. Swansea's attack hasn't been an issue, and though their defense has been poor they've surrendered the same number of goals as Norwich; this isn't a very good team by any stretch, but the Swans have had some pretty awful luck to be as far down the table as they are. It's tempting to think that luck will even out down the stretch, but luck doesn't really work that way and Swansea need to start racking up points to put any fears of relegation to bed.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Cardiff City

The Hawthorns; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Cardiff come into the weekend in the bottom three, and unless they manage to win by 12 goals they're going to exit the weekend in the bottom three as well. They've got some ground to cover, is the point. A trip to the Hawthorns to face a West Brom side that are just three points ahead is a significant opportunity to begin doing just that, but Cardiff didn't end up in this position by doing much of anything right. The same could be said of West Brom though, so we're probably in for a real barn-burner. Relegation battle fever!

Arsenal vs. Manchester City

Emirates Stadium; Saturday, 17:30 GMT/12:30 PM ET

Arsenal had a chance to make a bold statement about their title chances last weekend, and, whoops. They then had a chance mid-week to make a bold statement about said whoops not killing their spirit and, whoops again. A win would bring the Gunners level on points with City and would probably be enough to put them back into the title contender discussion, but to be completely honest there probably a whole lot of people that can see that happening.

Fulham vs. Everton

Craven Cottage; Sunday, 13:30 GMT/9:30 AM ET

Thanks largely to the ineptitude of the other teams toward the bottom of the table, Fulham still have a glimmer of hope. They're going to have to start picking up points at some point in the very near future in order to keep said hope alive, but they're not likely to do anything of the sort against Everton. Largely because Everton is not a complete and total mess.

Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Anfield; Sunday, 16:00 GMT/12:00 PM ET

This is shaping up to be a pretty compelling title race, and somehow second-place Liverpool are probably the least likely side of the three still in the mix to take the crown. That's difficult to believe given just how good the Reds have been this season, but though they're very much still alive it would take slips down the stretch from both Chelsea and Manchester City to give Brendan Rodgers' side enough of an opening. But no matter how things turn out, one thing is clear; Liverpool are back in the elite tier of the Premier League, and it's hard to see them dropping out of it any time soon.

Sunderland vs. West Ham United

Stadium of Light; 20:00 GMT/4:00 PM ET

On a weekend of huge games at the top of the table and compelling relegation six-pointers, where even the lowest-stakes match of the week is probably going to be a pretty enjoyable game, this is the prime-time, stand-alone game. Masterfully done, schedulers.

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