Monday 14 April 2014 10:04, UK
A Super Sunday which sees Liverpool entertain Manchester City and Chelsea go to Swansea City should offer a greater indication as to where the Premier League title will end up this season.Elsewhere in the capital, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa go head-to-head at Selhurst Park. Palace, who appeared to have a mountain to climb when Tony Pulis inherited their managerial reins from the beleaguered Ian Holloway in November, are riding the crest of a wave they hope will carry them away from danger and keep their head above water. Back-to-back wins over Chelsea and, more importantly, Cardiff have lifted the Eagles seven points clear of the bottom three, and one more success may be enough to see them safe. The same can be said for Villa, who sit level on points with Palace, but they need to find a way of halting a run of three straight defeats if a wobble is to avoid becoming an alarming slump. Sunderland are very much stuck in a rut, with seven defeats in their last eight sinking them to rock-bottom. Gus Poyet conceded after a 5-1 hammering at Tottenham on Monday that his side may now require 'a miracle' in order to keep themselves among English football's elite. Things are not about to get any easier for the Wearsiders either, with Everton the next side to visit the Stadium of Light. Their 3-0 win over Arsenal last time out has them sat just one point adrift of the Gunners in the race for UEFA Champions League qualification - and they still hold a game in hand on Arsene Wenger's side. With Arsenal in FA Cup action this weekend, victory in the North East on Saturday - which would make it seven in a row - would lift the Toffees into the top four and have them dreaming of a seat at Europe's top table. Tottenham Hotspur are still clinging to the hope that they could make a late surge in that particular race and pip their rivals at the post. There is, however, a five-point gap to bridge if they are to upset the odds, and events off the field are doing Spurs few favours as they attempt to end the campaign on a high. Speculation regarding the future of manager Tim Sherwood was brushed aside in spectacular fashion against Sunderland on Monday, but reports that he is to be relieved of his duties regardless of results from here on in are set to drag on into the summer - providing an unwelcome distraction. West Bromwich Albion will be hoping that Spurs take their eye off the ball at The Hawthorns, with a four-point haul from their last two outings edging them away from the drop zone, but leaving plenty of work still to be done. Southampton had been hoping that they, like Tottenham, would be among those staging a continental push at this stage, but they have fallen away and will have to make do with a solid top-half standing. They are moving in the right direction, though, which is more than can be said for their weekend opponents Cardiff City. The Bluebirds have never got going this season, and find themselves languishing in the relegation zone as a result. The clock is ticking on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's bid to turn the tide, with it possible that they could end the latest round of fixtures in 20th spot. Three defeats in four - including costly dropped points against West Brom and Crystal Palace - will have done little for fragile confidence, while their record against the Saints makes for dismal reading. Cardiff's last success on the south coast came way back in 1962, and they failed to muster a single shot on target when the two sides met in South Wales on Boxing Day. It is rare at this stage of the season - given how tight things are at the top of the bottom - to find a fixture that will barely register on the Premier League radar. Stoke City and Newcastle United have, however, plodded their way into mid-table - doing just about enough to ensure that they will steer well clear trouble, but not quite enough to put themselves in the race for Europe. It may be a case of going through the motions at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, but there are still points to be taken and pride to be played for, and that should ensure that the tie remains competitive. Stoke head into the game in much the better form having won four of their last six, with Newcastle losing three on the bounce -conceding 10 goals without reply.