Premier League, Week 33 preview: Everton meet Arsenal with Champions League on the line

Paul Gilham

Everton can move within one point of Arsenal for fourth place with a match in hand with a win at Goodison Park.

Manchester City vs. Southampton

Etihad Stadium; Saturday, 12:45 GMT/7:45 AM ET

Manchester City are still in control of their own destiny where the title race is concerned, four points behind leaders Liverpool with two games in hand. There's a decent argument to be made that they remain title favorites, but given the chance to cement that status against a struggling Arsenal last weekend they were able to muster only a point. Despite Southampton's comfortable mid-table standing, there's no reason to think they'll be significantly less difficult opposition; the Saints throttled Newcastle last weekend and have seemingly rebounded from their mid-season slump, and a result at the Etihad would be a pretty strong statement that they'll be a team to watch next season.

City are still rightful favorites, and there's no reason to think they'll be looking past Southampton towards next weekend's date with Liverpool. But that doesn't mean the Saints aren't capable of making the title race even more interesting than it already is.

Aston Villa vs. Fulham

Villa Park; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

If Fulham hope to make a run at a great escape before time runs out, they need to get started this weekend. Aston Villa's inability to play at anything approaching their best for extended periods of time makes them vulnerable to anyone, and the loss of Christian Benteke for the remainder of the season-with Libor Kozak, Villa's second best strike option, still recovering from a broken leg-isn't going to improve things. Fulham couldn't ask for better opposition to start the month of April, and the remainder of their schedule isn't exactly daunting; the odds aren't in the Cottagers' favor, but the idea of a run to safety isn't all that crazy. But in order to keep whatever faint glimmer of hope remains alive, they have to win games like this one.

Cardiff City vs. Crystal Palace

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

There's been just a bit of separation at the bottom of the table these past few weeks, and though Cardiff City aren't doomed just yet, that could change rather quickly. Crystal Palace are one of the clubs that have managed to give themselves a bit of breathing room, with the gap between themselves and the bottom three now standing at 5 points. As annoying as cliches like "6-pointer" may be, the result of game such as this is clearly outsized; if Palace manage 3 points they're all but clear of the relegation battle, while a victory for Cardiff keeps things interesting for pretty much everyone in the bottom half.

Hull City vs. Swansea City

K.C. Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Swansea's 3-0 thumping of Norwich City last weekend made things much for comfortable for Garry Monk's side, pushing them to 13th in table and 7 clear of the bottom three. It's been clear all season that Swans are really too good to be in relegation danger, and given all that's gone on with the club this season a strong finish would be most welcome in setting the tone for next season. Two straight losses have prevented Hull from taking both eyes off of the rearview mirror, but it's really hard to see either of these sides falling off so much that a bottom-3 finish becomes a reality; they've taken very different routes to get where they are, but ultimately both should be safe. That's a job well done for Hull, but Swans will be expecting more next season.

Newcastle United vs. Manchester United

St. James' Park; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

It's somewhat hard to believe that a game between these two sides could be so inconsequential and offer such little potential for excitement, but here we are. United's best hope this season will be a trip to the Europa League-which likely depends on an Arsenal trophy win-while Newcastle aren't going to drop below 9th and could maybe finish 8th if things go right. It could be worse for the Toon-it has been worse, much worse, within recent memory-but it's not exactly an exhilarating way to close out the season.

Norwich City vs. West Bromwich Albion

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

West Brom really doesn't have any business whatsoever being so close to the bottom 3, and while they're potentially a good week or two away from the relegation battle being a thing of the past, for now they're pretty deeply in the muck. Norwich looked to be on the verge of moving to safety, but last weekend's thumping at the hands of Swansea served as a reminder that their flaws are numerous and exploitable enough that there's still cause for concern. Both of these sides have the talent to play much better football than has been the case for much of their respective seasons; if they were planning to living up to their potential, this would probably be a good time to get started on that.

Chelsea vs. Stoke City

Emirates Stadium; Saturday, 17:30 GMT/12:30 PM ET

Chelsea's last 10 games include 6 wins-notably a 6-0 over Arsenal, a 4-0 over Spurs, and an away win against Manchester City-2 draws, and 1-0 losses to both Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. If you're the gambling kind, it might be time to put everything on a Stoke win*.
*Please do not do this.

Everton vs. Arsenal

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

So, here's the thing: Everton made a pretty good run at the Champions League this year, but a few months back they begin to fall back to the pack just enough that it became obvious they'd be falling short yet again. Then they went and won 5 in a row, while Arsenal went and Arsenal'd up the works, and now the Toffees are 4 points out of 4th with a game in hand. If Roberto Martinez's side manage a win at Goodison, they're arguably the favored side for a top 4 finish. That's a pretty tremendous start to the post-Moyes era at Goodison Park, but given how late into the season it appeared as though the Gunners had a legitimate title run in them, it's also a testament to how quickly things can go off the rails.

West Ham United vs. Liverpool

The Boleyn Ground; Sunday, 16:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

In other news, Liverpool will still be at the top of the league table this time next week.

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Sunderland

White Hart Lane; 20:00 GMT/3:00 PM ET

With Sunderland facing a possible points deduction due to their fielding an ineligible player, a difficult road out of the relegation zone is likely to get much tougher in the coming weeks. Perhaps instead of fielding an ineligible player they should have given fielding some competent players a go.

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