Blue is the colour in Manchester.
Manchester derby may have lost its sheen in the last couple of years –City marking its rise in European football with local dominance – but at least for one half of Manchester, the result is vital in the larger scheme of things.
City hold their title hopes on a very slender margin with 12 points separating them from the top. More importantly, West Ham is breathing down their neck with just two points behind. A loss for City would mean a stiff fight for the fourth position. .
United on the other hand is already on a self-destructive path. Having crashed out of Europe, thanks to Liverpool, the season is almost dusted for Louis van Gaal. Can he risk alienating his supporters further more with a derby loss? .
Tyne-wear derby to decide relegation? .
The intense hatred between Newcastle United and Sunderland is well documented and their league positions adds more spice this year. .
Hosts Magpies are in 19th position while their rivals Sunderland are in 17th position – but only one point ahead. The arrival of new manager Rafael Benitez seems to have spurred Newcastle, which showed positive display in their loss to Leicester. .
Sunderland would love to push their fierce rivals deep into relegation battle but it would be a difficult task for them. Remember that they have won the past six meetings and will be aiming for a fourth consecutive win at St. James’ Park. But can they stop a recharged Magpies? .
Can Leicester continue their charge? .
For Foxes, the mandate is simple. Win 20 points from the next 8 matches and the title will be theirs. They wouldn’t want to leave it late, so expect them to come attacking for full points against Crystal Palace. .
Palace may have reached the semi-finals of FA Cup but they are struggling in the Premier League with no league wins this year. The alarm bells are within arm’s length and another loss could be a little disturbing. .
Can Everton rub more salt into Arsenal’s wounds? .
Arsenal complemented their FA Cup exit with their customary exit from the round of 16 in Champions League. The chances of winning the title are alive only in the mind of Arsene Wenger who should be more worried about City overtaking them, being just a point behind. Everton have the best chance to kill those last-existing-hopes of Wenger although their own Premier League season is almost done. .
Can Chelsea spoil West Ham bid? .
The Blues under Guus Hiddink have been a revelation and they still have hopes of making it to the top seven. Victory in the London derby couldn’t be sweeter because a loss for the Hammers would be a big blow for their top four hopes. .
And the others? .
Tottenham would hope to pick maximum points against Bournemouth and continue the pressure on Foxes while Liverpool would hope to get maximum points against Southampton and continue their unlikely run towards top four. Watch out for West Brom versus Norwich which could be crucial for the visitors. .