As the Barclays Premier League 2010/2011 begins to enter its final few weeks, eight important fixtures take place on Easter Saturday – Saturday 23rd April 2011 – featuring sides involved in battles at either end of the ultra-competitive league table.
All Kick-Off times are listed in British Summer Time (BST).
Man Utd v Everton Kick-Off (BST) 12:45
Man Utd will be looking to get back to winning ways after being dumped out of the FA Cup by rivals, Manchester City, last week, and being held to a Premier League draw by Newcastle United in mid-week.
United still have a lead of six points at the head of the table, thanks to Arsenal’s failure to convert a lead at White Hart Lane, though they have seen Chelsea re-emerge as title contenders of late – the Blues are now in second in the table. With Arsenal (3rd) and Chelsea (2nd) both still to play; the six point lead United currently hold over each is the minimum they require: this home match against Everton at Old Trafford is clearly an important match for them to win.
Everton, for their part, are just two points behind their local rivals, Liverpool. They sit 7th in a league which they started so poorly before Christmas. Everton will be looking for at least a point in this away fixture, too, so expect a hard-fought battle in this early kick-off match, which also has a little more about it as it sees Wayne Rooney return for United against his boyhood club.
Aston Villa v Stoke Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
Villa v Stoke has about as mid-table a feel as any match in this weekend’s fixture list, as Villa sit 10th on 40 points, while Stoke are 13th on 38. A win for either side would probably put away any lingering fears of relegation – while a loss might mean the opposite – meaning this match carries a valuable prize for both sides.
Blackpool v Newcastle Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
Two sides promoted last season face each other at Blackpool, with the home side – who had been so good at the start of the season – now deep in trouble, sitting in the relegation zone, in 18th place.
A win for Newcastle, who are 9th in the table on 40 points, would all but assure them of Premier League survival, while anything but a point could spell major trouble for Blackpool, who have some tricky fixtures ahead of them.
Liverpool v Birmingham Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
Liverpool, who are four points behind Tottenham Hotspur, are still chasing guaranteed European positions, while Birmingham, who are now five points ahead of the bottom three, in 15th place, are looking for the win that would put extra distance between themselves and danger, and, on the face of it, make this season’s relegation battle a five horse race.
Birmingham, who won this year’s Carling Cup, will have their work cut out, however, against a Liverpool outfit who have been reinvigorated under Kenny Dalglish of late.
Sunderland v Wigan Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
Sunderland, whose slide down the league table in recent weeks has been astounding, will be desperate to win this six-pointer against Wigan which would see them open up a seven or eight point gap between themselves and the bottom three teams, with just four games remaining.
If Wigan can get the victory their recent performances have hinted at, despite playing away at Sunderland’s Stadium Of Light, they’ll draw within one point of the Black Cats, and remain out of the bottom three.
This is a must-win game for both Sunderland and Wigan as a result.
Tottenham v West Brom Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
Tottenham need to win every one of their remaining five matches in order to make certain their qualification for another UEFA Champions League, so they’ll be keen to get a result from this home fixture against West Bromwich Albion.
West Brom, while not mathematically safe, in 11th place on 39 points, look to have done enough, under the tutelage of Roy Hodgson, to be assured of safety from the drop, though any points today would be most welcome to confirm their Premier League status for next season all the sooner.
Wolverhampton v Fulham Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
Mick McCarthy’s Wolves will be looking for the home victory they need to pull away from the bottom of the table, where they currently sit on 32 points. If they can get a result, and the teams around them – who all face difficult fixtures – all fail to win, Wolverhampton could end the day in 17th place, two points ahead of the drop.
That said, Fulham, who are 12th in the table, on 38 points, have been in improved form of late, and are, themselves, looking for a win that will make their survival in the league a more likely prospect.
With Wolves, this season, far better in attack than defence, this match could contain much excitement for both sets of fans at Molineux.
Chelsea v West Ham Kick-Off (BST) 17:30
The evening kick-off match this Easter Saturday sees title-chasing Chelsea entertain second-bottom West Ham with both sides needing nothing short of a victory.
Chelsea have been extremely strong, of late, with Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou hitting their brilliant best form in recent weeks, so the Hammers, who have proved able to score from relatively few opportunities themselves, may have to rely on their gifted goalkeeper, Robert Green, if they are to pick up the point or points they so desperately require.
Barclays Premier League 2010/2011 Fixtures – Saturday 23rd April 2011
- Man Utd v Everton Kick-Off (BST) 12:45
- Aston Villa v Stoke Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
- Blackpool v Newcastle Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
- Liverpool v Birmingham Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
- Sunderland v Wigan Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
- Tottenham v West Brom Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
- Wolverhampton v Fulham Kick-Off (BST) 15:00
- Chelsea v West Ham Kick-Off (BST) 17:30