By Sam Holden
MANCHESTER City will look to compound Arsene Wenger’s woes when they visit the Emirates stadium this weekend, knowing a win would take them closer to the Premier League title and inflict a potentially fatal blow to Arsenal’s chances.
Wenger’s side have capitulated in recent weeks and a win for Manuel Pellegrini’s team in London would almost certainly leave the battle for the Premier League crown as a three-way race between City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Arsenal, humiliated 6-0 at leaders Chelsea and held to a 2-2 home draw by Swansea City after conceding a last-minute equaliser on Tuesday, would have hoped for an easier match to revive their ailing title bid.
City lie third with 66 points, three behind Chelsea but with two games in hand, and they will look to build on their impressive 3-0 win at bitter local rivals Manchester United on Tuesday.
Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea travel to struggling Crystal Palace and second-placed Liverpool, only a point off the top on 68 points, host Tottenham Hotspur.
It is 10 years since Arsenal last won the league and they approach the match on Saturday looking not only to keep their slim title hopes alive but to cement a place in the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Fifth-placed Everton are breathing down their necks, six points adrift of Wenger’s men but with a game in hand and a trip to bottom club Fulham on Sunday presents the chance to move a step closer to the top four.
Wenger endured a torrid time in his 1,000th match in charge of Arsenal at Stamford Bridge and anticipates another tough match against City.
“Manchester City had a good result tonight (against United), they look a bit unstoppable and are favourites because they still have two games in hand,” Wenger said after the Swansea draw.
“Them and Chelsea are the favourites for the title. We don’t have too much room to come back into it.”
City beat Arsenal 6-3 at home this season but captain Vincent Kompany said the trip to the Emirates Stadium was a potential stumbling block.
“It’s just one little step. The other teams are still very good,” the Belgium defender told reporters.
“With the game against Arsenal, obviously it’s good in a way, because you don’t have to make a big effort to get the lads focused again.”
Chelsea are expecting to be without striker Samuel Eto’o for their visit to Palace, but as the six goals from five different players proved against Arsenal, they should still have enough firepower to see off the hosts.
Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side will look to maintain their push for a first league title in 24 years against an unpredictable Tottenham on Sunday.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes that if his old club can win the title this season it will be an even greater feat than the 2005 Champions League final win he played in.
“I think this Liverpool team is better than the side that won the Champions League in 2005, but you could argue that winning the Premier League this season would be a bigger achievement,” he told Sky Sports.
Liverpool have won their last seven league games but if Tim Sherwood’s side, who start the weekend in sixth on 56 points, can grab a victory they too will have their north London rivals sweating on fourth place.
Following back-to-back 3-0 home losses to local rivals Liverpool and Man City, Manchester United will look to relieve the pressure on beleaguered manager David Moyes with a win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford in the early kickoff on Saturday.