Premier League 2012, Week 26 Preview And Fixtures: North London Derby Role Reversal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger speaks to Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp ahead of the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal in London, England. The two teams play the North London Derby on February 26, 2012. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

League leaders Manchester City host Blackburn, United travels to face Norwich and Chelsea hosts Bolton in what could be one of the more important weekends of the Premier League season from top-to-bottom.

Chelsea vs. Bolton Wanderers

Saturday, 2/25; 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Stamford Bridge

Chelsea and Arsenal have been taking turns trying to out-lolz one another pretty much all season now, and though losing to Napoli at the San Paolo, the 3-1 score line flattering the hosts, the narrative (and league table) dictates that currently Chelsea are the Mayors of Crisistown. But fear not! Roman Abramovich has given Andre Villas-Boas his complete support. That's got to mean a great deal, right? No? A little bit? Something? Oh. I guess not. Carry on.

Pick: Chelsea, 4-2

Newcastle United vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers

Saturday, 2/25; 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

SportsDirect Arena

Thanks to the complete and total derp-ification of half of London, Newcastle remain well within the hunt for the Champions League. Thanks to the continuing under-achievement of Liverpool, they're currently in the Europe League driver's seat (which is a bit like a Le Car.) They're also playing Wolves, a team so bad they can't even get Alan Curbishley to be their manager. The "Alan Pardew is a genuis" movement doesn't look like it's going to be derailed this weekend.

Pick: Newcastle, 2-0

Queens Park Rangers vs. Fulham

Saturday, 2/25; 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Loftus Road

Ah yes, another "Team from London you always forget is from London when you're doing that one Sporcle quiz and get really annoyed at yourself for forgetting" derby. Should be a treat!

Pick: Fulham, 2-1

West Bromwich Albion vs. Sunderland

Saturday, 2/25; 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

The Hawthorns

I can't help but picture Martin O'Neill calling Randy Lerner after every game, laughing for five minutes and hanging up.

Pick: Sunderland, 2-0

Wigan Athletic vs. Aston Villa

Saturday, 2/25; 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

DW Stadium

This is like the 128-color-Crayola-box of terrible football teams.

Pick: Villa, 3-2

Manchester City vs. Blackburn Rovers

Saturday, 2/25; 17:30 GMT/12:30 PM ET

Etihad Stadium

Blackburn somehow found a way to willingly make their team significantly worse in their weakest area a month after the close of the transfer window. That's a special kind of awful you can only hope to achieve with owners like Venky's and a manager like Steve Kean. That is next-level pooch screwing.

Pick: City, 4-0

Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Sunday, 2/26; 13:30 GMT/8:30 AM ET

Emirates Stadium

It's not often in recent years that Arsenal will host their North London rivals as underdogs, but it's difficult to see this any other way. Spurs title hopes have fizzled over the past month but they're still looking good in terms of Champions League qualification, while Arsenal have managed to stay in the same hunt only due to the baffling incompetence of a few of their peers. A Gunners win would go a long way towards bringing some normality back to the proceedings, but that looks about a million miles away at the moment.

Pick: Spurs, 2-1

Norwich City vs. Manchester United

Sunday, 2/26; 13:30 GMT/8:30 AM ET

Carrow Road

It's great Norwich has had such a fantastic season back in the Premier League and I hope they've really been enjoying it, because they are going to get absolutely destroyed in front of their home fans and that is always embarrassing.

Pick: United, 2-0

Stoke City vs. Swansea City

Sunday, 2/26; 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Britannia Stadium

Ah, a slightly less terrible version of Wigan-Villa. What a fantastic way to end the weekend!

Pick: Draw, 1-1

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