|After receiving the PFA’s Player of the Year award Bale will struggle to get out of Mourinho’s clutches [GALLO/GETTY]
With just six games left in the English Premier League for the top clubs, this week’s fixtures will be vital in deciding who ends up champions.
Manchester United head to Newcastle on Tuesday and will be looking to get back to winning ways after a disappointing loss to local rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinal on Saturday.
Their treble hopes may have been dashed but title dreams remain very much alive. Newcastle could be the ideal opponents for Fergie’s men with Manchester United unbeaten in 17 matches against Newcastle since September 2001.
However, after the loss at Wembley, Sir Alex Ferguson is taking nothing for granted.
“It doesn’t matter when you play, you know you’ve got to recover and get on a winning streak again.”
Paul Scholes will miss the game after receiving a three game ban for a studs-up challenge on Pablo Zabaleta on Saturday. He may also be ruled out of United’s crucial match with Arsenal on May 1st.
On Wednesday, Chelsea will need to secure victory over Birmingham to keep the pressure on Arsenal and Manchester United, in case either should slip up. After the Blues victory at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday they are just two points behind Arsenal in second place.
A Decisive Derby
Tuesday April 19
Newcastle v Man Utd,19.45
Chelsea v B’ham,19.45
Fierce London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham meet in the Premier League on Wednesday. It is a vital game for both clubs with Arsenal needing all three points to keep their title pursuit alive and Tottenham dreaming of another year of Champions League competition after falling to Real Madrid in the quarterfinal last week.
Arsenal’s decline over the last two months has left them six points behind United and defeat at White Hart Lane would be the final nail in their Premier League coffin.
After Arsenal’s dramatic draw with Liverpool on Sunday, Arsene Wenger admitted his team have been out of sorts of late.
“We are maybe jaded a bit physically, you could see that some players have played around 40-45 games and we lacked a bit of a change of pace.”
The game at White Hart Lane will see the PFA’s Player of the Year Gareth Barry up against the PFA’s Young Player of the Year Jack Wilshere.
On Sunday, the Professional Footballers’ Association awarded the 21-year-old Welshman with the honour. Bale beat six other players to the award, with Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri second in the voting followed by Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez.
“It is not just for me, it is for all my teammates that have helped me through the season and it is kind of for everyone really,” said Bale.
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere was equally happy about his accolade.
“I am very proud to be the fifth recipient from Arsenal, it is good to keep this history going.”
Bale and Wilshere, both left-footers, were also named in the PFA Team of the Year.