With the title race decided and many of the teams in the Champions League race busy with the FA Cup, the relegation battle takes center stage again. Thankfully, a fun looking Liverpool-Spurs clash will (hopefully) close out the weekend in style.
Carrow Road; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET
Southampton had a golden chance to pull themselves closer to safety last weekend, and they blew it in pretty spectacular fashion by losing to QPR at home. This is a much tougher test for the Saints, and with Reading and Aston Villa facing off there's a very good chance that they could be once again dragged back into the relegation battle. Norwich has won just one of their last ten, but they've been a tough team to beat at home and their early season form has given them enough of a cushion that anything short of total collapse should see them finish comfortably mid-table. Both sides would certainly love three points, but a draw would be an acceptable result for each. Not necessarily the makings of a classic, but neither of these teams are very good at playing conservatively. Should be fun.
Pick: Norwich, 2-1
Loftus Road; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET
QPR's survival hopes were given a major boost last weekend with their third win of the season bringing them close to striking distance of their relegation rivals, but they're still in pretty bad shape. It's tough to survive in the Premier League with just one win at home, and a struggling Sunderland team that's been poor away from the Stadium of Light look as beatable as anyone QPR will face the rest of the way. That's not saying much, however, and QPR quite simply haven't earned the right to enter any game as anything other than heavy underdogs.
Pick: Sunderland, 1-0
Reading vs. Aston Villa
Madejski Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET
This is probably the most important game of the weekend. That is not the same thing as saying you should watch it. Please do not watch this game.
Pick: Villa, 2-1
The Hawthorns; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET
Swansea will be playing in the Europa League one way or another thanks to their League Cup win, but West Brom is still very much alive in the race for ~Europe and a victory here could keep them in it. That's about it in terms of things that matter in the bigger picture for this one, which is going to be an increasing theme in the weeks to come. Which is nice, because it means you can actually watch games that should be good (like this one) instead of games that are "important" from now on.
Pick: Draw, 2-2
Newcastle United vs. Stoke City
St. James' Park; Sunday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET
Newcastle is having the kind of season that, while bad relative to expectation, has also just been plain unlucky. One draw and six losses at home--despite a positive goal difference--doesn't really seem like a sustainable pace, and one only need to look at Stoke's superior point total despite one fewer win to see how fine the margins are. Newcastle aren't really in the relegation battle anymore, but they spent a whole lot of time in it, while Stoke has Stoked along all season right in the middle of things. Some of that is likely down to a difference in style, but it's just hard to believe that Newcastle's standing is genuinely reflective of their actual talent.
Pick: Newcastle, 2-1
Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Anfield; Sunday, 16:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET
Spurs with top billing for the second consecutive week, and given the way they're playing that's probably the way it ought to be. Manchester United has been in a different stratosphere from the rest of England all season long, but Spurs are arguably the second best team in the league right now and it wouldn't be too terribly surprising if they managed to catch Manchester City for second place. If Gareth Bale sticks around and AVB can strengthen the rest of the squad, next year could be a pretty special one for this club. Liverpool have been stomping people pretty convincingly in their own right as of late, giving this one a lot of promise to living up to its marquee billing.
Pick: Spurs, 3-2