Premier League 2013, Week 27 preview and fixtures: Chelsea and City fight to remain relevant

Alex Livesey

The Blues face the Blues in a game with major implications at the top of the table.

Fulham vs. Stoke City

Craven Cottage; Saturday, 12:45 GMT/7:45 AM ET

Not the most enthralling way to begin the week's action, is it? Fulham is theoretically close enough to the relegation zone that there will likely be a half-hearted attempt made to paint this as a vital game in terms of avoiding being dragged into the much, but that's pretty clearly not true. These are two solidly mid-table sides playing a game that few people would be at all interested in were it not the only Premier League game happening at the time. There's a chance it might not be boring, but it's not really a good one.

Pick: Draw, 1-1

Arsenal vs. Aston Villa

Emirates Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Arsenal's struggles this season aren't much of a secret, but for some reason the mid-week Champions League loss to what is arguably the best team in the entire world seems to have kicked things up a notch. That it came on the back of an FA Cup loss to Blackburn probably didn't help matters, but if being outplayed by Bayern Munich is some kind of signal that a team is in dire straits then the entire German league is hopelessly doomed. Aston Villa seem to have finally shaken off the hangover from their nightmare run of form in December and have looked quite good the past few weeks, but taking anything away from London will be a pretty tall order.

Pick: Arsenal, 3-1

Norwich City vs. Everton

Carrow Road; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Everton's last two league results (a draw at home to Aston Villa and a 2-0 loss to Manchester United) have made the ever-elusive Champions League qualification look to be just out of reach yet again. Spurs' six point lead is far from insurmountable, but Everton need to be at their very best and will have to rely on a dip in form from at least two other sides if they hope to crack the top four. Norwich City has put together a season that they ought to be pleased with, but if the Toffees hope to stay in the mix this is a game from which they have no business taking anything other than three points.

Pick: Everton, 2-1

Queens Park Rangers vs. Manchester United

Loftus Road; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Time is running out for Harry Redknapp's side, and if QPR have a hope in the world of staying up they'll have to pull at least one or two shocking results out of their hat over the next 12 games. This is an opportunity for that kind of stunner, but given the way United have been playing of late, a QPR win would have to be qualified as, at the very least, a minor miracle.

Pick: United, 3-1

Reading vs. Wigan Athletic

Madejski Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

This is likely the most consequential match of the weekend, with 19th placed Wigan travelling to face 18th placed Reading. With Aston Villa facing Arsenal, a win for either side (and a draw for Reading) could be enough to pull them out of the relegation zone, while a Reading win combined with a positive result for Villa could make things look quite bleak for the Latics. Those kind of stakes have a way of producing some pretty enjoyable games.

Pick: Reading, 2-1

West Bromwich Albion vs. Sunderland

The Hawthorns; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Remember all that stuff I said about Fulham Stoke? Yeah.

Pick: West Brom, 2-1

Manchester City vs. Chelsea

Etihad Stadium; Sunday, 13:30 GMT/8:30 AM ET

In the headline game of the weekend pits a Manchester City team hanging on to the barest of threads of hope at a repeat title win against a Chelsea team whose place in the top four is far from secure. Chelsea can make things much harder for Arsenal and Everton with a win, and while three points for City wouldn't do much to make the gap between themselves and United look much more likely to be overcome, everyone likes winning so I'm sure that would be nice for them.

Pick: City, 2-1

Newcastle United vs. Southampton

St. James' Park; Sunday, 13:30 GMT/8:30 AM ET

If there's a winner in this game they'll likely put any real fear of the relegation battle behind them. And while the jury is still out on whether or not Newcastle's winter spending spree was well advised it does seem fair to say that a Southampton win would be a less desirable outcome for the clubs below these two in the table.

Pick: Newcastle, 2-1

West Ham United vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Upton Park; Monday, 20:00 GMT/3:00 PM ET

Spurs can make things very difficult for their greatest rivals by continuing to play well, and that they're unbeaten over their last ten games is a sign that they'e capable of doing just that. West Ham isn't going to make it easy --West Ham never makes anything easy-- but Spurs could make an argument for being the second best team in England at the moment. In any case, this looks like a promising way to close out the week.

Pick: Spurs, 3-1

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