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Arsenal was watch out for Red Devils banana skin as Man City set to swoop

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Should both City and Arsenal win at the weekend, the focus will switch to City’s game in hand at Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, when victory for Guardiola’s side would put an unprecedented fourth successive title in their grasp.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta (left) speaks to midfielder Bukayo Saka during a match. Picture: Ben Stansall, AFP

After being forced to play catch-up for the past month, Manchester City have the chance to exert some added pressure on Arsenal in the Premier League title race when they kick off the weekend’s action at Fulham on Saturday.

City’s past three Premier League wins against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Nottingham Forest and Brighton & Hove Albion all came after Arsenal had already gathered three points to temporarily open up a four-point lead over Pep Guardiola’s side in the table.

This weekend, however, City go first and victory at Craven Cottage on Saturday at lunchtime would see them move two points clear of Arsenal with two games left.

Arsenal would then have to beat a woefully out of form Manchester United on Sunday to regain top spot.

The last time Arsenal kicked off after City, it did not work out too well as they lost 2-0 at home to Aston Villa, the day after City thrashed Luton Town 5-1 to go top.

Since then, Arsenal have regained the lead, but only because City were in FA Cup semi-final action and have played one game less than the Gunners heading into the penultimate weekend.

Should both City and Arsenal win at the weekend, the focus will switch to City’s game in hand at Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, when victory for Guardiola’s side would put an unprecedented fourth successive title in their grasp.

For City, the scenario is nothing new. They are proven masters at churning out wins down the finishing straight of a Premier League campaign.

They are unbeaten in their past 20 league games, and few would bet against them earning the nine points they require to be crowned champions again.

Arsenal can only win their last two games and hope for the best, although Fulham’s dismal record against City will not exactly be filling them with optimism.

Fulham have lost their past 15 games against City in all competitions, and are not in the best form, with only one win in their past seven Premier League games.

City will be well aware, however, that Fulham beat Arsenal at Craven Cottage in December, and more recently disposed of Tottenham Hotspur.

But with the Erling Haaland back firing on all cylinders and with a week’s rest, they will be supremely confident of turning up the heat on Arsenal.

The Gunners travel to an injury-hit Manchester United side whose season hit yet another low on Monday when they were thrashed 4-0 at Crystal Palace.

That result left eighth-placed United’s hopes of qualifying for Europe via the league hanging by a thread, and manager Erik ten Hag’s future under an even darker cloud.

Old Trafford fans have endured so much this season, and they might not exactly be roaring their team to victory, knowing that could potentially hand the title to arch-rivals City. United were severely depleted in their defeat at Palace, but could welcome back the likes of captain Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay for the visit of Arsenal – although defensively they are stretched, with Harry Maguire injured.

While the focus is very much on the fight for the title, the battle to avoid relegation could be resolved this weekend. Burnley will follow Sheffield United through the relegation trapdoor unless they win at Tottenham, while Luton Town will almost certainly go down if they lose at West Ham in what will be the last home match for David Moyes.

Even if Luton win, 17th-placed Nottingham Forest could almost certainly send them down if they defeat Chelsea in Saturday’s late kick-off.

Reuters

Weekend Premier League Fixtures (SA Times)

Saturday (1.30pm): Fulham vs Manchester City. (4pm): Tottenham vs Burnley, Bournemouth vs Brentford, West Ham vs Luton Town, Everton vs Sheffield United, Wolves vs Crystal Palace, Newcastle vs Brighton. (6.30pm): Nottingham Forest vs Chelsea

Sunday (5.30pm): Manchester United vs Arsenal

Monday (9pm): Aston Villa vs Liverpool

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