A roller coaster campaign for Newcastle United has seen them climb as high as seventh, before a bad run of form saw them flirt with relegation at the end of 2017. Yet an incredible run since the turn of the year has seen the Magpies soar under the steady leadership of Rafa Benitez. In the twelve games that Newcastle have played since the start of 2018, they have only lost twice - to table-toppers Manchester City and Champions League semi-finalists Liverpool. There is no longer any relegation talk at St James’ Park - only chatter over whether the Magpies can steal an unlikely eighth position, a remarkable achievement given that they were just promoted last season.
On the other hand, it has been a truly shambolic season for the Baggies, who sit rock bottom of the table. After sacking Tony Pulis, West Brom turned to former Newcastle boss Alan Pardew - but his time at the club proved to be an ill-fated one, winning just one game in 18 after four months in the job. New boss Darren Moore has steadied the ship, with two excellent results in a row - a victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford and a draw at home to Liverpool. But relegation still looks a certainty, with West Brom trailing 17th placed Swansea City by eight points with three games left.
Liverpool vs Stoke City
Liverpool still have fate in their own hands in the race for the top four, but their late lapse against West Brom - throwing away a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw - means their task of guaranteeing another season in the Champions League became slightly tougher.
The Reds now need five points from their final three matches to be absolutely certain they can’t be overtaken and with Chelsea away still on the horizon, that task will be much easier if they can overcome Stoke.
For the Potters, consecutive 1-1 draws in their past two matches against West Ham and Burnley did give them a couple of points, but still sitting four points and sizeable goal difference behind 17th-placed Swansea City, they desperately need victories if they are to survive.
Anfield has been a fortress this year, with Liverpool undefeated in the league at home, but a late-season clash with a relegation-threatened rival can often throw up some surprise results.
Manchester City vs Swansea City
There was little talk of a home slump when Manchester City slipped to a 2-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium in an inconsequential Champions League Round of 16 loss to Basel (City won the first leg 4-0).
But, Pep Guardiola and Manchester City’s march to the title was delayed after a shock 3-2 defeat at the Etihad earlier in the month. Despite leading 2-0 at half-time, the wasteful Citizens managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Their league defeat was followed by a second-leg loss to Liverpool in the Champions League - again at the Etihad. Still top of the league by a substantial margin, City will be looking to restore their stellar home record with a win over the Swans.
Swansea have worries of their own, with the relegation trapdoor still gaping for Carlos Carvalhal’s men. After a stellar start to life under the Portuguese manager, the Swans have not managed to pick up as many points as they would have liked. Their away form has been wretched too, they have not won on the road since the end of December.
Arsenal vs West Ham United
It’s unlikely fans of Arsenal or West Ham would say they are pleased with how the current season has unfolded.
The Gunners faded from top-four contention far too early and have largely been treading water ever since. The Hammers, meanwhile, were embroiled in a tough relegation battle for the vast majority of the season.
For both, however, there is now reason for optimism.
Arsenal are undefeated since a shock loss to Brighton back in early March, winning six straight matches before a draw in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final with CSKA Moscow ensured their progress to the final four.
While they still aren’t completely safe, West Ham’s victory over Southampton and then a rare away draw with Chelsea means they are close to guaranteeing their top-flight place for another season.
Swansea City vs Everton
Swansea appeared to have arrested their slide when they reeled off consecutive wins over Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup and then fellow relegation rivals West Ham in the league.
Since then, however, the Swans have only managed a draw with Huddersfield and fairly predictable defeats to Tottenham and Manchester United to remain just three points outside the bottom three at the time of writing.
Matches like these - against an Everton side now sitting comfortably in mid-table following its own issues earlier in the season and with little left to play for - are the types of opportunities Swansea can’t afford to waste.
Southampton vs Chelsea
At the start of the season, nobody would have predicted both these teams to be languishing where they are now.
Defending champions Chelsea have had an almighty struggle this season, and already slumped to nine defeats. With retaining the title completely out of the equation, the pressure continues to mount on boss Antonio Conte, as the Blues sit eight points behind fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Southampton are having a tough season as well, and are two points behind 17th placed Crystal Palace. The Saints have struggled to score goals this campaign (29) and it has cost them dear. Having finished no lower than 14th in the league since they were promoted in the 2012/13 season, they have to improve - and fast.
Manchester City vs Manchester United
It’s all come down to this - the dream scenario for the Citizens and a potential horror show for their neighbours. If Manchester City beat United at home, they will be crowned English Premier League champions.
City have been the standout team all season long, losing just once, and have been the champions-in-waiting since the turn of the New Year. How they would love to rub salt into that wound by taking possession of the trophy with the Red Devils in attendance.
For United, not only can they delay City’s celebrations, however briefly. It is also a critical game for them in their bid to secure second place on the table. Liverpool keep breathing down their neck, Tottenham are well in contention and Chelsea will still fancy their top-four hopes. So there is plenty on the line at Etihad Stadium.
Everton vs Liverpool
Everton have steadied the ship after a concerning period earlier in the season when they were stuck in a relegation dogfight. Consecutive wins over Brighton and Stoke had the Toffees in the top half of the table at the time of writing and reaching the all-important 40 points for the season.
They will want to end a long stretch without a victory against the Reds, which dates back to a 2-0 triumph at Goodison Park in October 2010
They would love nothing more than to impact Liverpool’s charge for the top four, with the Reds still embroiled in an almighty battle with Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea for the three spots remaining behind runaway leaders Manchester City.
Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur
Five points ahead of Chelsea, Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side are in the driving seat to finish fourth this season and qualify for the Champions League. The recent injury to Harry Kane hasn’t dampened Tottenham’s resolve, as they remain unbeaten in the league since December 17 last year.
Their opponents are not exactly in the best shape to be facing a confident Spurs side - with Chelsea having lost three of their last five games. A 2-1 win over Crystal Palace has calmed jangling nerves somewhat, but Antonio Conte remains under pressure and a win over Spurs would be massive for the Blues.
Arsenal vs Stoke City
A 3-0 home win against Watford last time out stopped the rot for Arsenal as they ended a run of three consecutive games without a win. But the Gunners’ top four hopes remain up in the air, as they sit in sixth, trailing London rivals Tottenham Hotspur by 13 points.
Stoke City are in a battle of their own, struggling for their lives close to the foot of the table. Paul Lambert’s side have not won in the league in over two months, and have found points tough to come by in recent times. But they will take comfort in their previous victory against the Gunners earlier in the season, having triumphed 1-0 at the Britannia - courtesy of a goal from former Real Madrid man Jese.