ANDREW VORCE - Friday, May 13, 2011
Jermaine Jones and Blackburn look to stop Manchester United's Premier League title ambitions while Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey could both condemn other teams to the relegation battle with weekend wins in a full weekend of English action.
Blackburn - Manchester United
Jermaine Jones and Blackburn are up against it at home as Champions-Elect Manchester United are in need of a point to secure the Premier League title.
Premier League leaders Manchester United only need one point to secure a record 19th Premier League title. Head coach Sir Alex Ferguson will want to wrap up things on Saturday instead of waiting until the last day of the season to secure the point. United have a full squad, baring the long term absentee Owen Hargreaves.
Blackburn are not yet safe sitting just three points above the relegation zone. Rovers do have a slender advantage on goal difference, but did lose their last outing to United 7-1 at Old Trafford. The home team could have David Dunn back in the squad but Ryan Nelsen and Vince Grella are out until June.
West Brom - Everton
Tim Howard and Everton will be looking to oust Tottenham for the last Europa League spot as they take on West Brom at home.
The Baggies sit comfortable in 13th place thanks to head coach Roy Hodgeson. They were undone last weekend by Wolverhampton Wanderers and fans will be looking for a response. Graham Dorrans is out with a sprained ankle while Pablo Ibanez is out with a hamstring injury. Steven Reid is also missing, out with a calf muscle strain.
Everton could still theoretically overtake Tottenham for the Europa League spot, sitting five points behind the London outfit. Tottenham have not won a Premier League game since mid-February and take on Liverpool this weekend. Everton only have thee players out, with Joey Baxter, Maroune Fellaini, and Louis Saha all on the treatment table.
Arsenal - Aston Villa
Aston Villa will look to put some distance between them and the battle for survival as Brad Friedel and company travel to Arsenal.
The Gunners will be looking to bounce back from their shock 3-1 loss at Stoke City but will be without many key figures. Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy are both suffering from a hamstring injury while captain Cesc Fabregas is out with a thigh muscle strain. Lukasz Fabianski is out until June with a shoulder injury.
Villa are relatively safe, needing just a point to guarantee survival. The visitors are only short Jean Makoun who is out through a calf injury, but will be keeping their eyes open and guards up as they look to hold on to their key players. Having massively underperformed this season, Villa will have to fight off would be suiters for their big name stars.
Birmingham - Fulham
Clint Dempsey and Fulham are in for a fight as Birmingham looks to secure points to help take them out of the relegation battle.
Birmingham will qualify for the Europa League next season having won the Carling Cup, but all of their attention is on the Premier League as they are just three points above the relegation zone. With Tottenham on the last day, Birmingham need points at home against Fulham.
Birmingham are without five players with Obefemi Martins and Scott Dann are out until the summer, while James McFadden is suffering from a knee injury. Eric Valles is out with an ankle injury while Martin Taylor is out with a shoulder injury.
Fulham will look to rebound from their Monday massacre at home to Liverpool, being dismantled by the away team. Chris Baird was charged with improper conduct after using abusive gestures and language to the referee and could miss the last game of the season. Only Diomansy Kamara and Damien Duff are sidelined for the encounter.
Stuart Holden's Bolton take on relegation threatened Blackpool at Hawthorne Stadium.
Marcus Hahnemann's Wolverhampton Wanderers travel to Sunderland.
Jonathan Spector might return to the bench if Scott Parker returns for West Ham who travel to Wigan.