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This weekend's crunch Premier League matches

Friday 3rd March 2017
Another weekend, another batch of mouth-watering Premier League fixtures. We're at the business end of the season and the battle for survival and the race for the Champions League spots are as fierce as ever.

Here are the five crunch matches this weekend.

Leicester City vs Hull City



Leicester's Premier League winning team of 2016 magically reappeared on Monday night against Liverpool. They were criticised for not showing the same commitment and drive under Ranieri this season - but, in fairness, they were damned if they didn't and damned if they did: put in another abject performance and they would have been heavily criticised, too. It meant they finished the week 15th and two points above the drop.
Hull drew 1-1 with Burnley and lost the chance to leapfrog out of the relegation zone for the first time under new boss Marco Silva.

Now, the teams meet in what is sure to be a defining match. Hull travel to the King Power stadium where they are sure to meet a rowdy crowd; lose, and one would fear for Hull's chances of survival - they would then be five points behind the Foxes.

However, should Silva's team manage to a draw, or even, win, you would have to fancy their chances of beating the drop. Lose and you're doomed, win and you're safe - football is never that simple, though.

There are sure to be more twists and turns

Liverpool vs Arsenal



If Leicester were magnificent on Monday, Liverpool were utterly woeful. They had two weeks off and still managed to look lethargic and tired. Klopp's team are spiralling out of the top four and they need to arrest this crippling slump.

A win against Arsenal might just do the trick - although their 1-1 draw against champions-elect Chelsea was also mean to do so.

Arsene Wenger's men will have had a two-week break by the time this fixture comes around; enough time to sort out any tensions and frictions, surely?

Will we see Wenger's men fight for him, or will we see Klopp's men battle against increasing pressure? It is sure to be a fascinating tie.

Swansea City vs Burnley



There is not much on the line for Burnley, but the stakes are high for the Swans. Like Leicester, they are hovering just two points above the relegation zone, and a loss could see them slip back into the bottom three.

Paul Clement has done a superb job since taking over, instilling confidence and organisation. This is surely a must-win match if they are to harbour hopes of Premier League survival.

Sunderland vs Manchester City



Sunderland had been something of a bogey team for the Citizens; they lost three matches 1-0 in the Stadium of Light from 2012-13.
Since, however, City have dominated the fixture. But, if Sunderland can evoke the spirit that saw off Manchester City before, we might just be about to see another Sunderland miracle. One feels that a win could be the turning point for David Moyes' side.

It won't be easy, though. City are fighting for a Champions League spot and know that a loss could have huge consequences. Pep Guardiola will visit Sunderland for the first time in his career: should Moyes' instruct his men to ruffle some feathers and disrupt and destroy City's rhythm, we could see the biggest shock of the weekend.

Manchester United vs Bournemouth



Eddie Howe's team are in real danger. They haven't won in the league since December, losing six. Bournemouth are four points above the relegation places, so are in command of their own destiny. But a trip to an in-form Manchester United side is not what the Cherries need.

United are harbouring Champions League ambitions and will not relent the pace following their EFL win last weekend.

A heavy loss at Old Trafford could have a demoralising effect on Howe's team - Bournemouth are unlikely to get anything at United and must come back without a humiliating loss if they are to maintain the morale needed for a relegation dogfight.
Michael Jones

Football & political writer with a predictable love of everything retro. English Literature undergraduate at the University of Exeter, looking to pursue a career in sports journalism. For a collection of my work, visit. http://mikejonesmedia.wordpress.com

Follow me on twitter: @jonesmichael_97


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