Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The battle for fourth place

The battle for fourth place

The battle for fourth place

The top clash this weekend sees Man City face Liverpool in what could be the deciding factor in the race for fourth place and a Champions League berth

chris_dring


Man City striker Carlos Tevez will look to continue his current strong form against fourth place rivals Liverpool Sunday. AFP
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will hope to lead his team to victory against Man City Sunday in their crucial Premiership clash. AFP

THIS season, perhaps more than any in the last decade or so of the Premiership, seems to be bringing up countless twists and turns that make predicting results almost impossible. Chelsea losing to Everton and Arsenal’s victory over Liverpool has tightened things up at the top of the table, while the battle for survival and the lucrative fourth spot couldn’t be much closer. This weekend is another round of ties that could go either way, and placing your bets is definitely a tricky business.

The early kick off Saturday sees the champions travel to Goodison Park to visit a resurgent Everton. Everton’s start to the season was hampered by injuries and the speculation surrounding Lescott’s inevitable move to Manchester City.

Against Chelsea, the Toffees proved that they can be a match for any side on their day, especially when playing at home. Saha has recently signed a new contract, and he’ll be desperate to get one over his former club and keep up his goal scoring form. Everton can often huff and puff, but fail to find the back of the net, and this is precisely why an injury-free Saha is priceless.

Both teams are coming off midweek victories in Europe, but Everton’s Fellaini has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury. United have a fantastic record against Everton and with striker Rooney in the form of his life, you just have the feeling Sir Alex’s players will find a way to squeeze out the vital three points that they desperately need to keep the pressure firmly on Chelsea.

Everton will be no pushover, but the battle in midfield should be crucial. Fletcher and Carrick should boss the midpark and allow United’s superior class to make the difference. Rooney is unlikely to be asked to play upfront on his own for the second time in a week, so Berbatov should get the nod to join him and start paying off United’s multi-million dollar investment.

Chelsea might be on top of the pile in the Premiership, but Ancelotti must be kicking himself, as they should be more than just a point ahead of United. They visit Wolves Saturday, who will be full of confidence after beating Tottenham in their last home game.

Wolves are only one point off the relegation zone, and it’s going to take another Spartan-like performance if they are going to expect to take some points off of Chelsea.

Drogba is going to be the Blues danger man as usual. His attributes sum up his team perfectly. He has the skill and talent when needed, but he also has the brute force that most teams simply can’t handle. The injured Ashley Cole will be a big loss, but between Lampard, Joe Cole, Anelka and Ballack to bolster Drogba going forwards, it seems almost impossible to envisage a clean sheet for Mick McCarthy’s team. I expect Chelsea to be heading home south still on top of the table.

Man City v Liverpool is definitely the standout fixture of the round. Moneybags City are aiming to dismantle a Liverpool side by finishing fourth and potentially send the Red’s even further in the red.

If Mancini’s side win, they’ll be four points clear of Benitez’s boys with a game in hand. City, however, still need to find the right balance between attacking and defending.

Benitez will likely play a five-man midfield and look to suffocate the service to the Sky Blues strikers. This game has the potential to be a classic, especially if there is an early goal, but it might need a piece of magic from either Gerrard or the likes of Tevez. These kinds of games, though, inevitably seem to be won by the narrowest of margins.

Arsenal at home to Sunderland and Aston Villa at home to Burnley seem like easy calls. Sunderland are in free fall and Burnley have the worst away record in the league. Nothing is a gimme in the Premiership but these two games are about as close to a guaranteed home win as you’ll get this weekend.

At the wrong end of the table, Portsmouth must surely have to turn the corner soon or it could all end in tears. Stoke will be tough opponents for Pompey, but if the Fratton Park faithful can lift the roof of the stands as they’ve done in the past, it might signal the start of the great escape.

Wigan are swimming in deep water and are struggling to find the back of the net. They welcome Spurs who hit nine goals past them earlier in the season. Both teams need a win to kick start the rest of their seasons. Defoe put five past the Latics at White Hart Lane, and I fancy him to show the Wigan players just how it’s done in a low-scoring game to finish off the weekend.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The