The first Premier League games of April tell you that we have reached the business end of the season and there is still so much to play for. The destination of the title is still uncertain, as is the final line-up for the Champions League places next season. There is also the situation at the bottom of the table that needs to be resolved, with seven points separating the bottom five clubs.
So, here are the ten players who could have a big say on the outcome of this weekend’s results:
It hasn’t been the best of weeks for Chelsea’s defence after they suffered a loss to Crystal Palace in the Premier League and then to Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League. Terry – who scored the decisive own goal against Palace – will need to galvanise his troops at the back in order to get themselves back to their solid best and to keep up the pressure at the top of the table as Stoke City head to Stamford Bridge.
West Ham are likely to line up in a solid fashion at the back, and will try to make it hard for free-scoring Liverpool to break them down. But Coutinho has been in terrific form recently and has this habit of unlocking very tight defences, so don’t be surprised if he is the architect of a few of Liverpool’s chances at Upton Park.
Carroll faces up to his former club this weekend and he will have a point to prove to Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who let Carroll leave in the infancy of his reign at Anfield. Carroll, who played a big part in West Ham’s win over Sunderland last week, is likely to be the focal point of the home side’s attack and is going to be handful for the league leaders’ defence.
Silva has been in terrific form in recent weeks, but unfortunately for him he could not lead Manchester City to victory against Arsenal. But he will be determined to come up with the goods again this weekend, and to get City back on track with a win over Southampton to maintain their tag as title favourites.
Sidwell goes to one of his former clubs this weekend as Fulham travel to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa. Fulham are in desperate need of a win if they are to keep their chances of staying in the Premier League alive – and Sidwell is going to have to be in charge of proceedings in the midfield if the Cottagers are to emerge victorious.
Roberto Martinez has been keen not to rush the defender back but Everton face a massive game this weekend in their quest to qualify for the Champions League next season. However, if there is ever a game when they could do with their first choice defenders available, it’s this weekend against Arsenal.
Arteta comes up against some familiar faces this weekend as Arsenal travel to Goodison Park to face Everton. The midfield is likely to be a hard fought battle and one that the visitors will need to win if they are to leave firmly in charge of the fourth Champions League spot.
Adebayor was back in training this week for Spurs after he missed the past two league games with a hamstring problem and a cut on his heel. Tottenham could have done with their top scorer against Liverpool as there was very little attacking threat, but they will be pleased he is back for the visit of Sunderland at White Hart Lane. Can he mark his return with a goal?
Odemwingie has been in terrific form for Stoke City in recent weeks and has been the catalyst behind their recent good form. The Potters travel to Stamford Bridge this weekend, and given Chelsea’s defence hasn’t had the best week, could Odemwingie inflict more misery on Jose Mourinho’s men?
It is a massive weekend for Cardiff City as they take on Crystal Palace where three points for either side would be huge. Fraizer Campbell looks like Cardiff’s most threatening attacking option, and Palace will go to the Welsh capital by trying to keep themselves solid at the back. If Campbell gets a chance, he simply must take it.