The Premier League top four is still in constant flux, and with the two North London clubs tied at 51 points, the stretch run proves to be exciting. That race begins this Sunday, as both teams feature at the same time with a chance to take charge of second place and pull within two points of Leicester City.
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Let’s not diminish the importance of the day for the other two clubs as well. For Manchester United, the chance to build on the midweek success presents an opportunity to remain in the top four conversation, but victory is as close to a must as it gets. For Swansea City, they have pulled themselves off rock bottom, but still have more work to do to pull away from the relegation zone.
Manchester United vs. Arsenal — 9:05 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra
The Red Devils stormed FC Midyjlland over the week, injecting life into a previously lifeless squad. That could be just the ticket to jumpstart a stagnant Premier League run, which features just four points over their last four. This game could be a massive opportunity for Louis Van Gaal to make a statement and stake a claim to his job that still appears in serious jeopardy.
But the story is Arsenal. The Gunners, despite all their bumps along the way this season, have the opportunity to stay two points back of the flying Foxes. Should they falter, the gap could become trepidatious. Arsenal cannot take Manchester United lightly. The Gunners have lost six of their last eight at Old Trafford, with no wins over that span.
Arsenal will be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was injured against Barcelona in Champions League play. Manchester United could miss David De Gea and Anthony Martial, who will be question marks going into the game.
Tottenham vs. Swansea City — 9:05 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Live Extra
Just like the Gunners, Spurs must keep pace with Leicester City’s late win. The most in-form team in the Premier League, though, brings only an FA Cup blemish with them to White Hart Lane. Otherwise, between the Europa League and Premier League, Spurs have not lost since mid-January.
Swansea, meanwhile, needs to rediscover the mojo. A pair of wins at the end of January have been erased by three straight without one. However, they’re finding ways to grind out points, and that grind will need to be back against a club rattling off wins. The one bright spot for the Swans is the injury situation. Manager Francesco Guidolin is battling a chest infection, but otherwise the club is healthy. Meanwhile, Spurs are battling a host of issues, with Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen both out, but Harry Kane will likely play with a mask despite a broke nose.