English Premier League, Week 31 preview: Early London derby highlights the round

Chelsea and Arsenal play in a potentially huge game early on Saturday, and unfortunately, it's all downhill from there.

Chelsea vs. Arsenal

Stamford Bridge; Saturday, 12:45 GMT/8:45 AM ET

This could either be a title six-pointer or just a really good match between two really good teams that are going to finish top four. Recent slip-ups by both Chelsea and Arsenal mean that Manchester City will lead the league if they win their games in hand, but it's not like points are a given for them. However, with the Gunners currently four points behind Chelsea and a possible seven behind City if that aforementioned games in hand scenario plays out, they're probably quite screwed with a loss.

Chelsea need to win less than Arsenal do and Arsene Wenger doesn't have his best players at his disposal, so this might actually be pretty dang boring.

Cardiff City vs. Liverpool

Cardiff City Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Liverpool aren't exactly great away from home, but last week's last-minute winner by Seamus Coleman could have broken Cardiff. They're done.

Everton vs. Swansea

Goodison Park; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Speaking of Everton, they're looking like a decent bet to catch Tottenham Hotspur and become surprise fifth-place finishers. Meanwhile, Garry Monk's honeymoon period is over at Swansea and he's facing a very real relegation battle. That relegation battle is probably going to get nasty if Everton win on Saturday, which seems likely.

Hull City vs. West Bromwich Albion

The Circle; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

There was a wonderful time when Hull were very safely mid-table and not involved in this relegation muck at all. But now they're down in 13th, just five points ahead of 18th-placed Sunderland, who have two games in hand, and two above 17th-placed Crystal Palace. They're also just two points ahead of their Saturday opponents, who are really odd and impossible to characterize under Pepe Mel so far. But they beat Swansea last week, so this should be close and meaningful and stuff.

Manchester City vs. Fulham

Eastlands; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Hahahahaha oh my god poor Fulham.

Newcastle United vs. Crystal Palace

St. James' Park; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Generally, one would expect a decent Newcastle team to comfortably beat a relegation-battling Palace team at home. But Newcastle have nothing to play for and their manager is suspended for headbutting an opposing player, so who the heck knows. If you're trying to make a pick, invent a three-sided coin, then flip it.

Norwich City vs. Sunderland

Carrow Road; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

There's no such thing as a truly boring game between relegation battlers at this point in the season, since every save or near-miss is so tense that it feels like the most important event in your football-watching life, but this game might come close to being boring. Norwich will probably play for a draw and Sunderland will probably not know what to do about that.

West Ham vs. Manchester United

Upton Park; Saturday, 17:30 GMT/1:30 PM ET

Robin van Persie is out for this game and for the foreseeable future, which sucks for Manchester United. But look on the bright side, fans of England and Mexico: A forward crucial to your World Cup hopes might actually get some playing time for the next six weeks! This game is also fun for England fans because you can watch another center forward who's key for your team, Andy Carroll!

What, don't act like Roy Hodgson won't pick him.

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Southampton

White Hart Lane; Sunday, 13:30 GMT/9:30 AM ET

Picking Spurs or Southampton games seems like a futile exercise at this point. The season is effectively over for both teams and they've proven they can beat or lose to anyone. Let's hope we get a repeat of the wild 3-2 game at St. Mary's earlier in the season.

Aston Villa vs. Stoke City

Villa Park; Sunday, 16:00 GMT/12:00 PM ET

The 10th- and 11th-placed teams in the table! They're both on 34 points, so neither is getting relegated, but they're not moving up either. So they're fighting to be able to call themselves "top-half." FEEL THE EXCITEMENT!

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