Race for Champion League places intensifies

London, May 3 (IANS) The race for the Champions League places as well as the battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League heats up over the weekend.

Nine of the clubs playing Saturday will be fighting to stay in the Premier League, reports Xinhua.

Norwich City is one of the teams precariously positioned and could be overtaken by Aston Villa should Paul Lambert’s men continue to be impressive after reeling off six goals against Sunderland Monday.

Newcastle United were also hit for a six last weekend and a defeat at West Ham United Saturday will damage their efforts to survive severely.

At the top end of the table, Tottenham Hotspur need to beat Southampton to overtake their north London rivals Arsenal, who later in the evening play relegated Queens Park Rangers.

Chelsea travel to Manchester United Sunday in a bid to keep the north London pack at bay as the race for Europe intensifies. Earlier in the afternoon, in the Merseyside derby, Everton will try to put it across Liverpool in their bid to crash into the top four.

The following are the Premier League standings ahead of the weekend’s matches (tabulated under games played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against and points):

Manchester United 35 27 4 4 79 36 85 – Champions

Manchester City 34 21 8 5 61 31 71

Chelsea 34 19 8 7 68 35 65

Arsenal 35 18 10 7 66 36 64

———————————–

Tottenham 34 18 8 8 60 43 62

Everton 35 15 14 6 52 38 59

Liverpool 35 14 12 9 67 42 54

West Brom 34 14 6 14 46 44 48

Swansea 34 10 12 12 43 44 42

West Ham 35 11 9 15 41 49 42

Fulham 35 10 10 15 44 53 40

Stoke 35 9 13 13 31 41 40

Southampton 35 9 12 14 47 57 39

Norwich 35 8 14 13 33 54 38

Sunderland 35 9 10 16 39 51 37

Aston Villa 35 9 10 16 42 64 37

Newcastle 35 10 7 18 43 66 37

———————————–

Wigan 34 8 8 18 39 62 32

QPR 35 4 13 18 29 56 25 – Relegated

Reading 35 5 10 20 37 65 25 – Relegated

The top four teams qualify for the Champions League and bottom three clubs are relegated.

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