Wednesday night’s games will bring us a step closer to knowing the likely Premier League winners, Champions League certainties and those doomed to relegation.
Both Manchester clubs are in action against relegation threatened Wigan Athletic and West Bromich Albion.
United are eight points clear of City with a superior goal difference but look set to rest key squad members, a tactic that may leave the door open for the Latics to snatch a result.
Wigan are one of three teams on 28 points and anything at the DW Stadium would lift them out of the relegation zone at the expense of Queens Park Rangers, who face a tough game against this season’s surprise package, Swansea City.
Roberto Mancini’s side on the other hand have it all to do and must hope for a miracle to have any chance of getting back into the title race.
They face a Baggies side who held them to a 0-0 draw on Boxing Day and were the first team to stop them scoring this season.
Arsenal, fresh from Sunday’s 1-0 win over City, face a Wolverhampton Wanderers team almost resigned to propping up the league this year and facing next season in the Championship.
Terry Connor’s men are six points from safety and have not won since early February, losing their last six games.
In contrast, the Gunners can increase the gap over Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United to five points and give their goal difference a healthy boost.
With seven games to go for Real Madrid starting at Atlético Madrid on Wednesday night, only a point separates them and Barcelona at the summit of La Liga.
They may have a game in hand on their rivals, but with what is arguably the biggest El Clásico for many years sandwiched between their respective Champions League semi-finals, the margins for error are tightly fixed to zero.
Barça’s 4-0 thumping of Getafe means Madrid must take nothing less than three points from the Vicente Calderón.
When Pep Guardiola claimed it would be impossible for his team to catch Madrid a few weeks ago, it was pretty obvious he wasn’t playing mind games but instead just speaking sense.
Madrid held a ten-point lead, and José Mourinho’s teams are not famous for surrendering any advantage, let alone a gap that big.
And, as Guardiola pointed out, such a lead has never been clawed back in La Liga.
The tables have been turned though, and Barça’s run-in appears easier on paper with Madrid also having to face Athletic Bilbao.
Whatever way you stack it, the scales remain beautifully balanced and ready to tip at the first sign of weakness.
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