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Man City looking to hammer home title advantage – Premier League Talking Points

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City need a win at West Ham (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City need a win at West Ham (Bradley Collyer/PA)

The Premier League prepares to enter the final week of the season with plenty of questions still to be answered.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the some of the main talking points from both the top and bottom of the table.

Can West Ham derail Manchester City’s title charge?

Norwich City v West Ham United – Premier League – Carrow Road
David Moyes’ West Ham could have a big say in the title race when they face Manchester City (Joe Giddens/PA)

Fears Manchester City might suffer a hangover from their Champions League exit have been emphatically erased by successive thrashings of Newcastle and Wolves. But Sunday’s trip to West Ham represents a different level of challenge for Pep Guardiola’s men, who go into the game in the midst of a defensive injury crisis and with the added pressure of needing to capitalise on rivals Liverpool’s FA Cup engagements. Thanks in part to their recent 10-goal spree, a win should all but seal another title for City, but anything less is sure to leave things up for grabs heading into the final week.

Leeds battling for Premier League lifeline

Leeds United v Chelsea – Premier League – Elland Road
Jesse Marsch is under pressure after a bright start (Mike Egerton/PA)

Leeds’ 3-0 win at Watford last month stretched a four-game unbeaten streak and appeared to all-but seal top-flight survival. But three recent losses, coupled with the unexpected resurgence of their relegation rivals, has led to a gloomy prognosis for Jesse Marsch’s men. With a home game against Brighton followed by a trip to Brentford on the final day, Leeds appear to have the most favourable run-in of the teams battling to stay up. But the pressure is bound to be immense at Elland Road, with anything less than a win against the resurgent Seagulls – fresh from a 4-0 thumping of Manchester United last time out – probably consigning the Yorkshiremen to the drop.

Toffees still with work to do

Watford v Everton – Premier League – Vicarage Road
Everton’s goalless draw at Watford extended their agony (Adam Davy/PA)

The bare statistics suggests Frank Lampard’s Everton are going to limp over the line in their fight for top-flight survival. But their failure to effectively confirm their fate on Wednesday, when they were held to a goalless draw at relegated Watford, once again raised questions over their ability to get over the line. After a pair of superb results against Leicester and Chelsea, it was timely reminder that, whatever happens in the course of the next fortnight, Lampard faces an enormous task to get the Toffees back into any semblance of fighting shape.

Spurs gunning for fourth

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Tottenham gained an advantage in the race for fourth place (John Walton/PA)

The battle for fourth place took another twist on Thursday as Arsenal, having worked so hard to put themselves in pole position, were brushed aside by Tottenham in the north London derby, hauling their rivals back within a point with two games to play. Spurs appear to have the advantage this weekend, as they face a Burnley side whose surge towards safety seems to have stalled. The Gunners might therefore face travelling to Newcastle on Monday night two points adrift in the fight for the final Champions League slot, but pressure does funny things at this stage of the season.

Managerless Clarets looking to bounce back

Burnley v Aston Villa – Premier League – Turf Moor
Burnley’s top-flight survival bid may have stalled (Nick Potts/PA)

Burnley’s defeat to Aston Villa last week frustrated Clarets fans who saw the Turf Moor clash as an ideal opportunity to take a huge stride to confirming their top-flight survival. With new manager talk still swirling, it remains to be seen how the side will cope with such off-field distractions. The next two games will also define whether the club were correct to take the controversial decision to axe Sean Dyche ahead of the relegation run-in.