Premier League 2012, Week 32 Preview And Fixtures: Manchester City's Title Hopes May Rest On Sunday's Results

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: Roberto Mancini the manager of Manchester City looks. on prior to kickoff during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium on March 24, 2012 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Elsewhere, Spurs and Arsenal look to hold off Chelsea while Newcastle look to keep their slim Champions League hopes on life support.

A whole lot could be all but decided once this weekend is over; with City facing tough competition and a loss (coupled with a presumed United win over 18th-placed QPR) their odds at bringing home the title are as good as done, while several teams fighting relegation could see their road to safety become blocked with proverbial felled trees and a forest fire thrown in for good measure.

Swansea City vs. Newcastle United

Friday, 3/6; 16:30 GMT/11:30 AM ET

Hey, a Friday game! That's kind of fun! This is a tricky one for Newcastle, as their Champions League hopes are getting slimmer and Swansea is tough to deal with at Liberty Stadium. The visitors will likely need full points from this one if they hope to keep pace with the likes of Arsenal and Spurs, and anything less is going to make an already tall order positively Crouchian.

Pick: Draw, 1-1

Sunderland vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Saturday, 3/7; 12:45 GMT/7:45 AM ET

At one point the thought that Spurs could fall out of the top four seemed unthinkable. They've still got a pretty decent cushion, but they've also got a Chelsea side that appears to have put the lion's share (hur hur hur) of their derp-ery behind them. Last week's impressive win against Swansea was a good start, but Spurs will need more of that the rest of the way. The Stadium of Light has been a tough place to make that happen for the better part of the season.

Pick: Spurs, 3-2

Bolton Wanderers vs. Fulham

Saturday, 3/7; 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Bolton have pulled themselves out of the relegation zone and given themselves a bit of breathing space for the first time this season, and they've looked a pretty competent side over the past few weeks. A win here wouldn't pull Bolton to true safety, but it would certainly help a whole lot.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

Chelsea vs. Wigan Athletic

Saturday, 3/7; 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

This feels like one of those games where Wigan gets a point and starts their final, desperate sprint that ultimately ends in their escaping relegation. Of course most of the time something unlikely "feels" like it's going to happen it doesn't because human intuition is an amazing thing but really awful at predicting sports.

Pick: Chelsea, 3-1

Liverpool vs. Aston Villa

Saturday, 3/7; 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

The first edition of this fixture at Villa Park has a case for being the most boring Premier League game of the season. With Villa missing Stiliyan Petrov, Charles N'Zogbia, Andreas Weimann and Carlos Cuellar, this game will probably be even more boring and about six times as lopsided.

Pick: Liverpool, 3-0

Norwich City vs. Everton

Saturday, 3/7; 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Remember how Everton were the early season's shock relegation candidates and many people had Norwich City's stay in the top flight lasting just the one season? Yeah. Turns out David Moyes and Paul Lambert are pretty good at their jobs.

Pick: Everton, 2-1

West Bromwich Albion vs. Blackburn Rovers

Saturday, 3/7; 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

I know this game is hugely important in terms of the relegation battle and everything, but gahhh, no. Just no.

Pick: West Brom, 2-1

Stoke City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers

Saturday, 3/7; 17:30 GMT/12:30 PM ET

Even more no than the above no. Good gracious sweet heavens. And this is going to be the only Premier League game going on at this time! Just awful.

Pick: Stoke, 3-0

Manchester United vs. Queens Park Rangers

Sunday, 3/8; 13:30 GMT/8:30 AM ET

I wonder how the (presumed) most underwhelming champion in recent memory will manage to win a game while looking imminently beatable this time? I'm going with a Djibril Cisse own-goal. From the half way line. Because why the hell not.

Pick: United, 2-1

Arsenal vs. Manchester City

Sunday 3/8; 16:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

If Manchester United do in fact end up the season as relatively uninspiring champions, that would surely make City the sexiest runners'-up in quite some time. How this club has managed to fall so far behind United is a mystery to me, but I'm guessing it's because Alex Ferguson uses some kind of Druid magic or something.

Pick: Arsenal, 3-2

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