Premier League talking points: Top-four race heats up as Man City close on title

City can claim the title this weekend, while opponents Chelsea need the points for their top-four push.

By Press Association Published: 7 May 2021 - 10.29am

Things are heating up as the Premier League edges closer to a conclusion.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the main talking points heading into gameweek 35.

Will Tottenham keep up top-four push?

Interim boss Ryan Mason has won both Premier League matches in charge
Interim boss Ryan Mason has won both Premier League matches in charge (Justin Setterfield/PA)

Amid widespread rage against the Super League that Spurs and five other Premier League clubs signed up for, the north Londoners took the bold decision to sack Jose Mourinho. Gone was the artist formerly known as ‘the Special One’ to be replaced by temporarily replaced by untested 29-year-old academy graduate Ryan Mason, whose side may have lost the Carabao Cup final to Manchester City but have won back-to-back Premier League games against Southampton and Sheffield United. Saturday’s trip to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds should provide a sterner test but Spurs need to maintain their top-four tilt.

Can Liverpool put pressure on Chelsea?

Jurgen Klopp has endured a challenging campaign
Jurgen Klopp has endured a challenging campaign (Lee Smith/PA)

Sixth-placed Spurs head into the weekend five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, with Liverpool a place worse off and two points further adrift albeit with a game in hand. Jurgen Klopp’s men have got nowhere near defending their title and will play their first match in a fortnight when Southampton arrive at Anfield on Saturday evening. Whether the unexpected extra break brought by last weekend’s postponed clash at rivals Manchester United is a help or hindrance remains to be seen, but it is clear they cannot afford any more slip-ups if they want Champions League football.

Can City clinch title in final dress rehearsal?

Tottenham and Liverpool fought it out in Madrid for Champions League glory in 2019 and Istanbul will host another all-English final at the end of the month. Manchester City made it to the main event for the first time by beating Paris St Germain this week, with Chelsea joining them by overcoming Real Madrid. Thomas Tuchel’s side, who head into the weekend two points behind third-placed Leicester, shocked City to win last month’s FA Cup semi-final encounter at Wembley but Pep Guardiola’s men can get revenge in style as victory will seal the Premier League title – their third in four seasons.

Can Man Utd cope with schedule?

Neighbours Manchester United are also through to a continental final, having overcome Roma in a goal-filled Europa League semi-final to set up a shot at glory against Villarreal in Gdansk. But the main talking point after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reached his first final at the Old Trafford helm was about schedules rather than success. Last Sunday’s postponed match against Liverpool due to anti-Glazer protests has been moved to next Thursday, leaving Solskjaer raging about a run of four matches in eight days. The 3-2 second leg loss to Roma kicked off that mini-marathon, with Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa to come before hosting Leicester and then Liverpool. Solskjaer, whose side are second, has some big selection decisions to make in the coming days.

How will Arsenal respond to European exit?

While United rage about their calendar, at least they have a final to look forward to it at the end of it. Arsenal arguably got the kinder-looking Europa League semi-final draw against Villarreal yet followed last week’s 2-1 loss in Spain with a toothless 0-0 home draw as their former manager Unai Emery progressed to the final at their expense. A gut punch for Mikel Arteta and the Gunners, they face the very real prospect of missing out on European football for the first time this millennium. Sat on just 49 points after 34 matches, a win against West Brom – a result which would relegate the Baggies – may well be too little too late.

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