Premier League 2012, Week 37 Preview And Fixtures: Newcastle Stands Between City And Glory

Danny Simpson of Newcastle United challenges Sergio Aguero of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at the City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

In a weekend which all but perhaps one game taking place has massive implications, Newcastle-Man City and Blackburn-Wigan are the biggest.

Don't let anyone tell you that the Premier League is unexciting; with just two games remaining for all 20 sides, the title, Champions League, Europa League and relegation races are all a jumbled mess that are all but guaranteed to come down to the final day. There might even be some pretty major surprises when all is said and done.

Arsenal vs. Norwich City

Saturday, 5/5; 12:45 GMT/7:45 AM ET

With third being the lowest spot in the table with a current guarantee of Champions League football, an already intriguing race has turned into something not dissimilar to chaos. Arsenal currently occupies the favored position, with a one point advantage over Spurs and Newcastle and the edge in goal differential as well, but it's far from a comfortable lead. The Gunners are fortunate to close out the season with two imminently winnable games against teams without anything tangible to play for, but the spoiler factor should never be underestimated.

Pick: Arsenal, 3-1

Newcastle United vs. Manchester City

Sunday, 5/6; 13:30 GMT/8:30 AM ET

Of all the important games being played this weekend, this one might have the widest-reaching effects; due to a difference in goal differential too significant to plausibly overcome, Newcastle will need to pick up the points if they hope to lay claim to a Champions League place. Manchester City did what they needed to do against their crosstown rivals on Monday, but with United facing a slightly less daunting end of the season schedule they'll be able to take nothing for granted. There's also the secondary impact; if City feels as though they have little to play for on the season's last day, it could end up impacting the relegation battle. And if all that weren't enough, let's not forget that these are two very good teams that are generally quite enjoyable to watch. This is arguably the weekend's best game, in any league.

Pick: Newcastle, 2-1

Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Sunday, 5/6; 14:00 GMT/9:00 AM ET

An Aston Villa win will all but guarantee them of safety. Unfortunately, that would require Aston Villa to win a game. A game of football. Unless Spurs agree to use a nightclub door in place of a ball, that seems exceedingly unlikely.

Pick: Spurs, 3-0

Bolton Wanderers vs. West Bromwich Albion

Sunday, 5/6; 14:00 GMT/9:00 AM ET

For quite some time now, Bolton fans have been clinging to their side's game(s) in hand to give them hope for another season in the Premier League. The Wanderers caught up to the rest of the league in terms of games played on Wednesday, and things didn't go so well. Bolton is even on points with 17th place QPR, but they've got a serious mountain to climb in terms of goal differential; it's been an incredibly difficult season in many ways for Bolton, and unless they can put together an inspired run-in it's starting to look like their time may well be running out.

Pick: Bolton, 3-2

Fulham vs. Sunderland

Sunday, 5/6; 14:00 GMT/9:00 AM ET

There aren't a whole lot of meaningless games left on the schedule this season, but this is definitely one of them.

Pick: Fulham, 2-0

Queens Park Rangers vs. Stoke City

Sunday, 5/6; 14:00 GMT/9:00 AM ET

QPR is in an uncomfortable position where a draw is probably enough to keep them alive but a win would be so much more meaningful. Since Stoke is involved though, they don't have much say in the matter.

Pick: Draw, 1-1

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Everton

Sunday, 5/6; 14:00 GMT/9:00 AM ET

If Wolves manage to win this game, they might convince the FA not to send them all the way down to League 2! They won't win this game though.

Pick: Everton, 3-1

Manchester United vs. Swansea City

Sunday, 5/6; 16:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Let's be honest, United is probably going to win the title. They're not going to do it by being an especially impressive team, or even a complete one. They're deeply imperfect, and it's because their flaws are so evident that many have suggested that a title win would make this Sir Alex Ferguson's most impressive season in terms of getting the most of his players. That may well be true, but it's important to remember that this is the man that decided to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of £16 million on Ashley Young despite having Nani, Antonio Valencia, Ryan Giggs, Park Ji-Sung and Danny Welbeck in the squad.

Pick: United, 2-0

Blackburn Rovers vs. Wigan Athletic

Monday, 5/7; 20:00 GMT/3:00 PM ET

This is, undeniably, the last chance for Blackburn to save themselves. Even then they'd be facing a tough road; if-for the sake of argument-QPR were to lose to Stoke, Rovers would still be in the relegation zone on goal difference. But at this point, is there anyone that thinks there's any saving this team? It's been a mess for months, blips of positivity drowned out by overwhelming mediocrity (to be charitable) all season long.

Pick: Wigan, 3-1

Liverpool vs. Chelsea

Tuesday, 5/8; 19:45 GMT/2:45 PM ET

Liverpool-Chelsea, twice in the space of three days. Oh, be still my beating heart.

Pick: Chelsea, 3-1

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