The flow of the English Premier League would be distorted slightly this weekend and fans attention shifted to the FA Cup due to the involvement of Premiership big guns-Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea. This has forced the postponement of most league matches. Therefore, fans of the most watched league in the world have to make do with games involving potential winners-Tottenham and Leicester on Sunday and Monday respectively
After been ousted from the UEFA Champions League by Paris St Germain on Wednesday, the only realistic chance for a trophy this season left for Guus Hiddink led side is the FA Cup and that why their visit to Goodison Park against Everton in the FA Cup quarterfinals today will be very interesting.
“My opinion is that Chelsea is now in a transitional period. They have to see how to go on and try to regain the lost terrain where Chelsea used to be. It’s difficult to get into fourth position,” Hiddink told reporters.
Meanwhile, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard both sustained injuries against Paris Saint-Germain. Costa hobbled off while Hazard left the fray late on with a hip injury and was booed by a small number of Chelsea fans as he made his way over to the touchline to be replaced by Oscar.
“We’ll see if there is big damage tomorrow (Thursday). Diego was desperate to play today, although he’s not 100 per cent fit. I don’t know if it became worse. I don’t hope (think) that it’s worse than it was before the Stoke game. Because in two days we have to play another game against Everton in the FA Cup,” said Hiddink of Costa.
However, Tom Cleverley has declared himself fit for the clash.The midfielder missed the Toffees’ last two Premier League games through illness but has returned to training this week ahead of the visit of Hiddink’s side.
Cleverley played in last year’s final at Wembley for Aston Villa, where they were thumped 4-0 by Arsenal, and the former Manchester United man is determined to make amends in an Everton shirt this season.
“It’s important we get to Wembley and give the club a lift and give our fans something to shout about,” he told evertontv.
“I have been training fully and I’m ready for this weekend. I will do everything I can to help the team get through to Wembley.”
On Sunday, two teams from both ends of the table, bottom-dwelling squad Aston Villa and top contender Tottenham Hotspur, are scheduled to face each other at the White Hart Lane .
Aston Villa continued its struggles in the English top flight this season as they remain in the cellar of the overall standings with its fourth straight loss and fifth one in their last six outings.
Meanwhile, Tottenham settled for a 2-2 draw against third-running team Arsenal FC at the White Hart Lane also last Saturday
Interestingly, a hair’s breadth separated Leicester City and Newcastle United at the end of the relegation battle last season but a 36-point chasm and a gulf in confidence exists between the sides ahead of Monday’s Premier League clash.
With Leicester’s title challenge showing no sign of wilting as the inevitable pressure of the run-in continues to mount, Newcastle’s season is seemingly skidding towards the abyss.
It is by no means certain that Newcastle manager Steve McClaren will still be in the dugout for the game at Leicester’s King Power Stadium with his immediate future up in the air.
A scheduled meeting with managing director Lee Charnley did not take place on Wednesday, according to media reports, with former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez strongly linked to the role should the club decide to end McClaren’s stay at St James’ Park.
Despite spending heavily in the transfer window, Newcastle are 19th in the table having been in the bottom three for 146 days this season.
On paper they should be little more than cannon fodder for Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester, who have won five of the last seven to open a five-point lead at the summit as their more-fancied rivals have all stumbled.
Confounding their doubters on a weekly basis, Leicester, who finished 14th and two points above Newcastle last season, are looking more like champions every match they play.
They came through a testing February when they played Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal and now need only to keep their heads over the final nine games to claim one of the most remarkable title triumphs in English football history.
They could find their lead cut to two points, however, by the time they take the field against Newcastle as second-placed Tottenham Hotspur visit doomed bottom club Aston Villa on Sunday.
Spurs, who face a testing trip to Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League on Thursday, needed to get back to winning ways swiftly if they are to maintain their pursuit, having taken just one point from their last two games. It is a similar story for Manchester City, whose fading title hopes probably could not survive a defeat at Norwich City today.
City bounced back from a 3-0 defeat by Liverpool with a thumping 4-0 victory over Villa, but still trail Leicester by 10 points, although they do have a game in hand.
Third-placed Arsenal, whose challenge has fallen away in recent weeks after three games without a victory, are likely to drop further behind as they play Watford in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Sunday.