Premier League 2013, Week 26 preview and fixtures: Manchester United host Everton in week's biggest game

Michael Regan

The Toffees face the Red Devils in a match that could have serious implications at the top of the table, but the relegation battle remains the biggest source of drama in the Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Newcastle United

White Hart Lane; Saturday, 12:45 GMT/ 7:45 AM ET
There were lots of jokes about Newcastle's signings over the past few weeks, but after a couple of very impressive showings everyone might need to acknowledge that Alan Pardew's side has gotten significantly better for a fairly insignificant sum of money, all but assuring safety this season and setting themselves up for a major bounceback in the next.

Meanwhile, Spurs appear to have paid attention to what happened last season and are taking nothing for granted. That three point edge over Everton doesn't seem like much, but when you consider that Tottenham hasn't lost a game in two months it looks a bit harder to overcome.

Pick: Spurs, 3-1

Chelsea vs. Wigan Athletic

Stamford Bridge; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET
You can make fun of Hulk Hogan's seeming lack of information all you'd like, but brother, when all those little Hulkamaniacs are hopin', wishin' on a star, brother, you're not gonna' believe your eyes what Chelsea does to those Latics brother, when you see what Chelsea tears poor little Wigan apart, brother. MEAN GENE. Roberto Martinez is a real smart guy, brother, and I feel bad for him man, but when Chelsea comes to play brother, it's gonna' get ugly at the Bridge. This will be unlike anything you've ever seen, Brother. You better hang on for life Roberto, because-MEAN GENE-you're not gonna' believe the carnage, Mean Gene. It's gonna' be beyond your wildest dreams.

Pick: Chelsea, 40-1

Norwich City vs. Fulham

Carrow Road; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET
If there's a loser here they could very nominally be in a relegation battle. That's about it so far as narratives go, though. Sorry about this and like 90% of other Premier League games, everyone :(

Pick: Draw, 2-2

Stoke City vs. Reading

Britannia Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET
When you're as close to the drop as Reading, you begin to hyper-analyze every game. This one could induce an aneurysm. Is Stoke the favorite? But how is that so? They're Stoke! But wouldn't this be a great win for Reading? Probably! But it's Stoke! The Potters really make this league difficult to build compelling storylines around.

Pick: Stoke, 2-1

Sunderland vs. Arsenal

Stadium of Light; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET
This is the kind of game Arsenal needs to win if they're going to keep their Champions League string alive. That doesn't mean they have to win this particular game, necessarily, just this kind of game. But they should probably win this game.

Pick: Arsenal, 2-1

Swansea City vs. Queens Park Rangers

Liberty Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET
When do we get to stop pretending like QPR has actually gotten appreciably better? Also, when do we get to stop acting like this season is a surprise? Also also, when can we agree that Harry Redknapp does not have some kind of magic relegation-avoidance juice that he sips upon ever so covertly once every few years?

(Watch QPR win now that all of this has been said.)

Pick: Swansea, 2-0

Southampton vs. Manchester City

St. Mary's Stadium; Saturday, 17:30 GMT /12:30 PM ET

Anything less that a point for City will all but end the fourth most dramatic contest in this Premier League season. Of course, it will also make the most interesting contest in this Premier League season even more compelling, so it's probably better to root for that. Championships are kind of boring anyways.

Pick: City, 3-1

Aston Villa vs. West Ham United

Villa Park; Sunday, 13:30 GMT/8:30 AM ET

MORE LIKE CLARET AND BOO

Pick: Draw, 1-1

Manchester United vs. Everton

Old Trafford; 16:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

With a nine point edge, United will likely feel very comfortable as the season heads into it's home stretch. There's still plenty of time for their lead to be give away, but this year's City team doesn't seem nearly as good and this year's United team is somehow better than last year's. Everton is good enough to keep things interesting for a bit longer, but United somehow manages to beat seemingly better teams all the time so I think we can safely assume there's some kind of Illuminati eye-wink thing going on and pick United in every game the rest of the way.

Pick: United, 3-2

Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion

Anfield; 20:00 GMT; 3:00 PM ET

So, here's Liverpool all of a sudden. Right on the outskirts of the Champions League places. Sure, they've got a long road ahead, but they've been playing some really excellent football of late and they've at least worked their way back to relevance. It's been the opposite path for the Baggies, whose one real dreams of Europe have now faded significantly; West Brom needs a win to keep Europa in their sights, and having taken just one point from the last 18 available it's hard to see them breaking through for a win at Anfield.

Pick: Liverpool, 3-2

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