Premier League preview

There are crucial games in the Premier League relegation battle and the chase for European qualification on Wednesday night.

Arsenal travel to Bolton as Blackburn entertain Newcastle

There are crucial games in the Premier League relegation battle and the chase for European qualification on Wednesday night. The title race took centre stage in Tuesday's five games, alongside the drama of transfer deadline day, but with the window now closed it is an opportunity for clubs to regroup and focus on fulfilling their season's objectives. Martin O'Neill was one manager to do business on Tuesday and he could hand loan signing Wayne Bridge a Sunderland debut in the evening's televised game against Norwich at the Stadium of Light. The Black Cats have been in fine form since Steve Bruce was replaced and they will now be hoping to push on into the top half of the table. The Canaries are one of the teams currently blocking their path, with a four-match unbeaten run perfectly demonstrating the qualities they have shown all season during a successful return to the top flight. Bolton and Arsenal have not had such enjoyable campaigns but there is everything to play for as the sides meet at the Reebok Stadium. The Trotters have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks to climb out of the drop zone but will now be looking to put further distance between themselves and the bottom three. Arsene Wenger's side have suffered three straight league defeats to slip six points off the pace in the pursuit of a UEFA Champions League berth.

Survival scrap

Newcastle are level on points with the Gunners and could also move above Liverpool by claiming a victory over Blackburn at Ewood Park, although recent losses to Fulham and Brighton have taken the shine off the Magpies' season. Rovers, meanwhile, have been battling hard of late in their scrap for survival and a home win could pull them out of the relegation places if Bolton fail to beat Arsenal. Queens Park Rangers are only just above Blackburn and Bolton and boss Mark Hughes has a number of new players to integrate as quickly as possible following a busy January in the transfer window. The Rs beat Wigan 3-1 in their most recent league outing and will be looking to build on that success when they travel to Aston Villa, who remain inconsistent and are reeling from a 3-2 reverse at Arsenal in the FA Cup on Sunday. In the night's final game, Roy Hodgson takes his West Brom side to former club Fulham. There is just a point separating the sides ahead of kick-off and they will both be determined to consolidate a position in mid-table. The Cottagers are formidable opponents on their home turf but the Baggies also have a decent away record, having won five times on the road this term.

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