Frank Lampard is optimistic N'Golo Kante's season-spanning injury struggles might be at an end, despite a hamstring strain ruling the midfielder out of the forthcoming Premier League games against Crystal Palace and Sheffield United.

Kante will miss out at Selhurst Park on Tuesday as the Blues look to take another step towards Champions League qualification, although Lampard described the setback as "low-level" with a one-week recuperation period.

The more severe knee injury the 29-year-old sustained on the eve last season's Europa League final win over Arsenal, where Kante completed 90 minutes with the help of a painkilling injection, is one that still rankles with Lampard, who has been without one of his most influential players for 11 of the 33 Premier League games so far this term.

"He had a pretty bad injury in the Europa League final. When we came back for pre-season I expected him to be, sort of, fit," the Chelsea boss explained.

"When I say expect, I wasn't sure what the situation was and it turned out he wasn't near fit with that injury.

"Then we end up with a slight domino effect that took us through the rest of the season, which means he played pretty much 50 per cent of the games before we went into lockdown.

"I'd like to think that we're through that patch and this injury now is pretty unrelated."

There will be little let up for Chelsea's players, who could yet have an FA Cup final assignment and their Champions League last-16 clash with Bayern Munich – a 3-0 first-leg deficit makes progress to the final mini-tournament in Lisbon highly unlikely – to address in August before an expectedly quick turnaround for the 2020-21 campaign.

Lampard believes this period will show players the value of knowing their limits, suggesting the famously all-action Kante is receptive to tailoring his methods.

"The players have to be given a couple of weeks off at the end of this season, however the Premier League want to arrange the start of next – whether we're in the Champions League, how far into it or not," he said.

"[Kante] will use that little refreshment break, then work in pre-season. When you get a few injuries in your career, particularly when you're in your mid-20s, maybe you see things differently and you have to maintain yourself slightly differently.

"N'Golo is certainly buying into that so I think that will help too."

Kante's latest absence is likely to mean a return for Jorginho against Palace.

The Italy midfielder was a mainstay before lockdown, although he has been an unused substitute for Chelsea's past three Premier League games.

Nevertheless, Lampard insists he has no problem with Jorginho's efforts.

"Jorginho has to do nothing different," he said. "He trains well, he shows me that he's good for the group on and off the pitch. He's vice-captain of the club.

"There's nothing different, it's purely my choice at the moment, with what I see from the games in front of me, how I like the makeup of my midfield to be.

"Sometimes it's affected by the other players that are in that midfield, whether I think we need more defensive attributes in the game.

"He doesn't need to do anything. It's purely my choice."

Chelsea will be without N'Golo Kante for Tuesday's Premier League trip to Crystal Palace after the France midfielder sustained a hamstring strain.

Kante is also likely to be absent from the Blues' weekend assignment at Sheffield United, although head coach Frank Lampard does not expect his absence to extend much further due to the injury being "low level".

"Kante won't be in the squad, he hurt his hamstring," he told a pre-match news conference.

"It's a low-level hamstring [injury], so we're hoping it is a week or so.

"We'll play that one as it goes but I would expect we'd be very lucky to have him for Sheffield United."

Mateo Kovacic returned to training following an Achilles problem on Monday but the visit to Selhurst Park comes too soon for the Croatia international.

It means Jorginho is set to resume duties at the base of Chelsea's midfield – a position he made his own under Lampard and predecessor Maurizio Sarri until the Premier League resumption last month.

The former Napoli star has been an unused substitute for the Blues' last three matches having not featured in the matchday squad for the 2-1 comeback win at Aston Villa – one of three "Project Restart" victories, which leave Lampard's men fourth, a point behind Leicester City and two better off than Manchester United in a knife-edge battle for the Champions League places.

"He has been very professional about it," Lampard said of Jorginho. "He wants to play as every player does.

"One of the hardest parts of the job is telling a player who is not playing, or picking a squad and leaving out players. Particularly when they are training well and Jorginho always trains well.

"But he has handled it professionally and that's what I would expect. It is important for players in a long season, with the competitive squad that we have, that they are there to support players when they are out, and he has done that.

"So we will see with my selection tomorrow. I don't want to go into the personal details of positional and tactical. I just have to pick a team as I see best. They are just my choices."

Lampard hopes that positive attitude extends to his whole squad when it comes to the pressure of sealing a top-four place – something he insists Chelsea's players should relish with five top-flight games remaining.

"I like to think they are not ignoring what's around them. Football is on TV more than ever," he added, reflecting on the Premier League's rebooted schedule.

"I expect them to buy into that and want to see what results are happening around us. I think that's human nature and on a sporting level I think that means you care and want to see what's happening.

"I think then there needs to be a slight switch off to focus on what's happening to yourself. We can't control the other games, although we are certainly interested in them, but we can control what we do.

"So it can fire you up to see what happens around you. The position we are in means it is in our own hands and that's the main thing. We need to focus on putting on the best performance when we train and play."

Chelsea cruised to victory over Watford, moving them back above Manchester United, while Leicester City boosted their bid for a Champions League spot.

The in-form Mason Greenwood struck twice as United thumped Bournemouth 5-2 at Old Trafford to briefly rise into fourth place in the Premier League, but Chelsea later responded to a midweek loss at West Ham to leapfrog the Red Devils. 

Leicester are a point better off than Chelsea in third after they ran out 3-0 winners over Crystal Palace, Jamie Vardy reaching the 100 Premier League goals landmark with a late double. 

Arsenal dealt a huge blow to Wolves' top-four hopes with a 2-0 win at Molineux, while Norwich City looked doomed to relegation after they lost 1-0 at home to Brighton and Hove Albion. 

 

Willian on target again on Lampard anniversary

Brazilian Willian again showed why Frank Lampard is so keen to keep him, scoring his sixth goal in his last seven games as he converted from the penalty spot against Watford at Stamford Bridge. 

Olivier Giroud, preferred to Tammy Abraham, opened the scoring before Willian struck late in the first half. Ross Barkley rifled home his first Premier League goal since October 2018 in stoppage time to round out a comfortable 3-0 triumph. 

Chelsea had too much quality for relegation-threatened opponents a year to the day since Lampard was appointed, Christian Pulisic again catching the eye with another dazzling display. 

Ruthless United march on, Gunners fire

United stretched their unbeaten run to 16 matches in all competitions by putting beleaguered Bournemouth to the sword. 

Teenager Greenwood gave another demonstration of his quality with a goal in each half, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes also findingthe net after Junior Stanislas had given the Cherries a shock lead. 

Meanwhile, goals from Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal a win at Wolves that moved them into seventh place, three points behind their opponents. 

Foxes get back on track, time running out for Canaries 

Former England striker Vardy scored his first goals since the season restarted as Leicester got back on track following a run of four games without a win. 

Brendan Rodgers' side were looking over their shoulders after losing at Everton in midweek, but Kelechi Iheanacho put them on their way to a home victory over Palace before Vardy took centre stage. 

In the early kick-off, Brighton eased their relegation fears and pushed bottom side Norwich closer to an immediate return to the Championship, Leandro Trossard scoring the only goal at Carrow Road. 

Manchester United and Leicester City bolstered their top-four hopes with Premier League wins on Saturday – as Mason Greenwood announced himself as a major star and Jamie Vardy reached a long-awaited landmark

Third-placed Leicester have laboured since England's top flight resumed last month, collecting two points from three matches heading into the home game against Crystal Palace.

Kelechi Iheanacho's close-range finish from Youri Tielemans' low 49th-minute cross set the Foxes on course for a 3-0 win and a costly slip by Mamadou Sakho allowed Harvey Barnes to tee up Vardy for his 100th Premier League goal.

The former England striker then streamed clear in stoppage time to dink past Vicente Guaita and Brendan Rodgers' side remain three points ahead of United, who are up to fourth – at least temporarily – after dismantling Bournemouth 5-2.

The relegation-threatened visitors hit the front at Old Trafford through Junior Stanislas, who cheekily nutmegged Harry Maguire before beating David De Gea at his near post.

But teenage forward Greenwood then took centre stage, blasting into the top corner to equalise.

He finished with similar venom after half-time, the 18-year-old's 15th in all competitions this term making it 4-2 after Marcus Rashford converted from the penalty spot and Anthony Martial spectacularly found the top corner.

Another penalty by Joshua King - Eric Bailly the handball offender as Adam Smith was before him – briefly gave Bournemouth hope early in the second half, although that had dissipated by the time Bruno Fernandes crashed in a 59th-minute free-kick from the edge of the area.

Wolves and Chelsea must now offer their response, with the Blues knowing a win over Watford in Saturday's late kick-off will put them back above United.

Nuno Espirito Santos' Wolves face Arsenal before that in a crunch clash at Molineux, where three points would pull them level with the Red Devils.

Watford head to Stamford Bridge in 17th and a point better off than second-bottom Bournemouth, although the relegation picture became grimly clearer for Norwich City.

Brighton and Hove Albion's Leandro Trossard scored the only goal at Carrow Road, moving the Seagulls nine points clear of the drop zone and leaving Norwich seven from safety with five matches to play.

Burnley captain Ben Mee headed in a 62nd-minute winner to earn his side a 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace that moved the Clarets up to eighth in the Premier League.

Palace were perhaps fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men early in the second half when Jordan Ayew survived a VAR review for a possible red card after catching Josh Brownhill in the face with his forearm.

Sean Dyche's side went ahead through Mee, whose diving header from Ashley Westwood's free-kick really should have been kept out by Vicente Guaita but was only pushed onto the post before going in.

Luka Milivojevic headed over a good chance for the Eagles, who saw Burnley move above them having collected a 13th clean sheet of the season in the process. 

Roy Hodgson congratulated former club Liverpool and said it was just a matter of by how much they would win the Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp's men were impressive in a 4-0 victory over Hodgson's Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.

Liverpool will be crowned league champions for the first time since 1990 if Manchester City fail to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

Hodgson, who managed Liverpool in 2010-11, praised Klopp's side and congratulated them on their season.

"They've been excellent. That moment [they are crowned champions] will arrive soon, quite simply because they are not going to lose any matches – they won't stop winning," he said, via the club's website.

"Their determination and desire in a game when you could have argued they could have taken it a little bit easy because they weren't put under real pressure from us, we didn't see that.

"Even in the last four or five minutes – they are desperately chasing every ball down, winning it back and trying to score again.

"With that type of attitude and desire there is no doubt [the] title is theirs, the big question is by how many points it is going to be, and I can only congratulate them on a wonderful season – two seasons really."

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and Sadio Mane were on the scoresheet for Liverpool, who are 23 points clear at the top.

Mohamed Salah said Liverpool's time to win the Premier League had come after their resounding 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold, Salah, Fabinho and Sadio Mane at Anfield saw Jurgen Klopp's men take another step towards a first league title in 30 years.

Liverpool could be crowned champions on Thursday if Manchester City fail to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Salah is thrilled to have Liverpool just two points away from a first league crown since 1990.

"I feel great," he told Sky Sports.

"Since I came here I said I want to win the Premier League with the team. The city didn't win it for a long time, so it was the right time.

"Maybe last year we had a chance to win it but Man City also performed really good and they deserved to win it. It's our time to win it and it's great."

Liverpool were dominant against Palace on their way to a 28th win in 31 league games this season.

Salah hailed the performance, with Liverpool now not in action again until July 2, when they visit City.

"We had a great performance today and all the players were unbelievable," the forward said.

"I'm happy about the result and looking forward to the next two games.

"I think all the players are motivated, everyone is motivated in his way – but everyone is motivated to win the league."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp intends to watch Manchester City's clash with Chelsea, but not because he is planning title celebrations.

Klopp's men were in impressive form as they crushed Crystal Palace 4-0 in the Premier League on Wednesday, moving another step closer to a first league title in 30 years.

Liverpool will be crowned champions if City fail to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday and Klopp will be watching – but only to be prepared.

"I watch the game tomorrow night not to prepare a celebration," he told a news conference.

"I watch the game because we play against City a week later so I have to watch it and especially against Chelsea, which we play as well, so this game is a really important game to watch for plenty of reasons.

"Whatever happens tomorrow night, we have no influence on it so I'm not too much interested to be honest.

"But I'm pretty sure anyway that the game next week against Man City is a must-watch for each football fan on this planet because whatever will be decided or not, two really good teams face each other and that will be pretty interesting to be honest."

If City beat Chelsea, Liverpool can claim the title at the Etihad Stadium on July 2.

The Premier League leaders scored four fine goals against Palace through Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and Sadio Mane as they secured a 28th win in 31 league games this season.

"What I saw tonight and I wanted to have that before this part of the season when I said to the boys I want to see actually the best behind-closed-doors football ever," Klopp said.

"I'm not sure if it was the best football, it was for sure the best counter-pressing behind closed doors ever.

"The attitude we showed tonight, the passion we showed, was exceptional and we played some outstanding football."

Liverpool moved a step closer to clinching their first title in the Premier League era with a resounding 4-0 triumph over Crystal Palace.

Trent Alexander-Arnold's delightful free-kick midway through the first half set Jurgen Klopp's side on the way as they maintained their 100 per cent league record at Anfield this season.

A 16th straight home victory in the competition in 2019-20, albeit this one coming inside an empty stadium due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, was wrapped up just prior to half-time by the returning Mohamed Salah.

Liverpool will now wait to see if Manchester City keep them waiting into July to end a 30-year wait to be crowned champions again; Pep Guardiola's side must win at Chelsea on Thursday to remain in the hunt, mathematically at least.

Palace were the last away team to triumph at Anfield in the Premier League, back in April 2017, though hopes of a repeat suffered an early blow when an already depleted visiting line-up lost the talismanic Wilfried Zaha to injury. 

Their cause was also not helped either by facing opponents clearly determined to do better after a Sunday stalemate against neighbours Everton. 

Georginio Wijnaldum had already spurned a glorious opportunity before Alexander-Arnold's sublime set-piece strike broke the deadlock, the full-back lifting the ball over the Palace wall and beyond Wayne Hennessey's desperate dive.

Fabinho's delightful pass picked out Salah's run in behind to lift the ball over the Palace goalkeeper in the 44th minute, while the Brazilian went for power to thump in a stunning third from distance 10 minutes into the second half.

Joe Gomez believes there were positives for Liverpool to build from after their Merseyside derby draw with Everton as they prepare to do battle with Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

With eight games to play, Liverpool are 20 points clear of Manchester City as they close in on a first title in the Premier League era.

Liverpool drew 0-0 away to rivals Everton in their first match back after the coronavirus lockdown on Sunday and welcome Palace to Anfield next. 

England international Gomez had to step in at left-back when he came on for the injured James Milner, who was already deputising for regular starter Andy Robertson.

"Unfortunately we didn't get the three points but it was a step closer at the end of the day," Gomez told the club's website.

"I think the familiarisation [of Anfield and having played the first game without fans] will help us in the next performance. Obviously it will be a tough game, but hopefully we can build on it."

Gomez made a key contribution when he deflected a Tom Davies shot onto the post as Everton launched a late flurry of attacks, but he felt Liverpool were the better side as they get ready to face Palace.

"It was a heart-in-mouth moment, moments like that I think it is just instinct, it could go either way - a couple of centimetres and it would have been a different result," he said.

"Obviously they had their fair few good chances but we like to think we came away dominating the game. There are definitely positives we can take from it, it is just about building on that now."

Of his positional change, Gomez added: "It was strange really. It wasn't expected and obviously I'm no Robbo.

"But it is part and parcel of the game sometimes, you have to do your best to help the team and get your result. 

"Everyone knows Robbo is our main man but I have learned to adapt in a way and full-back is a position I have played, albeit mainly on the right."

Jurgen Klopp confirmed in his pre-match media conference that Robertson was back in training and therefore in contention to face Palace.

Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool holding a 20-point lead over Manchester City is "pretty unthinkable" after watching Pep Guardiola's side thrash Burnley.

The reigning Premier League champions followed up a 3-0 win over Arsenal in the first game back following the coronavirus-enforced break to the season with another impressive display on Monday.

City scored five without reply to brush aside Burnley and, with Liverpool only able to manage a 0-0 draw in Sunday's Merseyside derby, the Reds' huge cushion at the summit has been reduced.

Klopp's side get the chance to respond on Wednesday when they host Crystal Palace at Anfield, with a first league title in 30 years within touching distance ahead of a trip to the Etihad Stadium on July 2.

"The only thing I realised from watching the game last night was how is it possible that anybody is 20 points ahead of this team? That's pretty much unthinkable, actually," Klopp told the media.

"So we must have done, obviously, a couple of things really well and right that we can have the situation here.  

"But, no, I don't think about City catching us, or whatever. I think about Crystal Palace. 

"I watched them because we play them in eight or nine days, and not watching them to hope that they lose – it was never like this.  

"Maybe I wanted them to lose last season against Leicester, but that didn't work very well so that's why I stopped doing that. That was one time and it didn't help. 

"I respect them a lot, I've said that plenty of times. They look like they will win all their remaining games because they are really strong, but they were always strong. 

"We are not so bad, so let's think about that."

Mohamed Salah – who was an unused substitute – and Andy Robertson were not involved in the stalemate at Goodison Park due to fitness concerns, though Klopp confirmed both could feature against Palace.

However, James Milner and Joel Matip are ruled out after the pair were forced off with injuries against Everton.

"[Salah] trained yesterday completely normal, he will train today completely normal I would guess and then he is available. What I make with the line-up, you have to wait until tomorrow," Klopp said on Tuesday.

"It is the same with Robbo; he trained yesterday completely normal as well, so it's the same.

"Millie and Joel will not be available for tomorrow. We have to figure out exactly how long it will take, but tomorrow they will not play."

Jurgen Klopp's enthusiasm to buy into Liverpool and what the club means to the city is the key reason for his success on Merseyside, says Roy Hodgson.

Liverpool's hopes of having their first Premier League title wrapped up with a win over Hodgson's Crystal Palace on Wednesday were dashed after the Reds drew 0-0 with rivals Everton on Sunday and nearest rivals Manchester City thrashed Burnley 5-0 a day later.

The runaway league leaders looked far from their best after the enforced three-month break due to coronavirus, though they need just five points to secure the title.

And Hodgson, who managed Liverpool in 2010-11 before being replaced by Kenny Dalglish, has credited Klopp's passion as one of the driving factors in the Reds' title charge.

"I think his personality, his energy and his enthusiasm have been a massive ingredient at Liverpool," the Palace coach told a media conference.

"I think the way he's worked so hard to embrace the culture and make himself aware of not only what Liverpool football club is to the city of Liverpool and how the whole city of Liverpool functions.

"I think he's done a fantastic job in that respect. And then of course he's brought to the club all of the skills that he had at Borussia Dortmund, all of the things that have made him into a really, really top-class coach.

"He's brought those skills with him and they were the reason why Liverpool went to him in the first place and ask him to be the manager of the club. So, when Liverpool lift the title this year, I think that's going to be a remarkable accolade for him and for all the players. 

"I would be surprised if he didn't himself acknowledge the fact that he's got the backing that he needed, he deserved, and it's come up trumps because he's produced the title which has been 30 long years in the waiting."

Palace won three straight league matches before the suspension of the season in March, and picked up where they left off with a 2-0 triumph over Bournemouth on Saturday, leaving them ninth, four points behind the top six, with Hodgson looking forward to taking on the best the Premier League has to offer.

"You relish facing Liverpool or Man City, not because it's going to be an easy game because it proves to you that you are at the very top level of football," he said.

"These are the flagships of our league, you relish playing against them because it means you're still there and you've given yourself a chance of getting result. We know we are playing against a team that has won the league this year deservedly so."

Bournemouth suffered a blow in their fight against Premier League relegation as they fell to a 2-0 home defeat against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Palace captain Luka Milivojevic and forward Jordan Ayew scored the only goals of the game at the Vitality Stadium inside the opening 23 minutes.

Milivojevic whipped a fine free-kick from 20 yards beyond goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who could only help the ball into the top-left corner after David Brooks had fouled Wilfried Zaha.

Zaha was involved in the build-up for Palace's second goal, feeding Patrick van Aanholt on the overlap before the defender's cutback was converted by Ayew with a first-time finish from 12 yards.

Gary Cahill survived a VAR review of his challenge on Joshua King early in the second half, a tackle that left the Bournemouth striker unable to continue.

At the other end, Palace keeper Vicente Guaita only had one save to make in the whole contest, keeping out a Nathan Ake header.

The comfortable win moved Palace above Arsenal into ninth position, just four points behind Manchester United in fifth.

Bournemouth are 18th, behind West Ham on goal difference after a day when relegation rivals Brighton and Hove Albion and Watford moved further away from the drop zone.

Lyon would be taking a major risk by signing Mamadou Sakho from Crystal Palace, former France star Willy Sagnol has warned.

The defender has been strongly linked in recent days with a switch to OL, who next season will be aiming to atone for a disappointing 2019-20 campaign.

Sakho, 30, joined Palace in 2017 after spells at Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain and has won 29 caps for France, albeit just two since 2015.

Injuries have impeded Sakho this season and he has made just six Premier League starts for Palace during the disrupted campaign, which has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That appearance record is what worries ex-Bayern Munich defender Sagnol, who is concerned Lyon may face a hefty price tag for a player with a track record for missing a large number of games.

Sagnol, France's 2006 World Cup right-back, told French broadcaster RMC's After Foot show: "When an English club allows a player who is just 30 to leave, it's not a good sign.

"The Premier League demands a lot physically, athletically and in terms of intensity. It's a league that wears you out.

"In terms of character, yes, I think he can bring a lot to this team. The lack of character has been a recurrent evil at Lyon for three or four years. But he can only bring that if he isn't injured regularly."

Sagnol admitted he had not seen Palace or Sakho in recent action, adding: "But I think if he had been in good form, we would have seen him back in the France team.

"We haven't seen him back and that's not very positive. For me, when we have a big transfer in terms of price and salary, you have to reduce the risks of a mistake for French clubs. With this, I think there are a lot of risks."

Premier League clubs fearing a cancelled season could decide their fate away from the pitch can breathe a sigh of relief after it was confirmed the top flight is set to return on June 17.

The 20 clubs have either nine or 10 fixtures each still to complete and though the title race may have already nearly reached the finish line, there is plenty to be decided further down the table.

Here, we take a look at the crucial fixtures that will determine the title, European qualification and the battle to avoid relegation.

 

MD30: Tottenham v Manchester United

Scott McTominay's derby-settling winner against Manchester City had helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer build up plenty of goodwill back in March, but the United momentum has surely been halted by the lengthy break.

They have a tough assignment first up against a Tottenham side that will likely have Harry Kane back from injury.

Solskjaer, whose own squad is set to be boosted by Marcus Rashford's return, has a fine record against the 'big six', though, and a win here - against a club led by his predecessor Jose Mourinho - would boost United's top-four hopes and significantly damage their opponents'.

 

MD31: Liverpool v Crystal Palace

It is a matter of when, rather than if, the Reds wrap up their first top-flight title in three decades, with Liverpool needing just two more wins to guarantee they will be crowned champions.

Should City lose to Arsenal when the league resumes, Liverpool could seal the title across the road from Anfield with a win at Goodison Park.

But the likelihood is Klopp's side will face Palace - the team who helped derail their title bid in 2014 with the 3-3 'Crystanbul' draw - knowing victory would end their long wait for Premier League glory.

 

MD35: Sheffield United v Chelsea

Beyond Liverpool's imperious march to the title, the story of the 2019-20 Premier League season has been the Blades' magnificent campaign following promotion last term.

The top four is still a realistic possibility for Chris Wilder's side, particularly if they can win their game in hand against Aston Villa and close the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea to two points, but they face a fight to qualify for the Europa League regardless.

They still have some tough fixtures left on the schedule, with Wolves, Everton and Tottenham their other three home games, but this contest against Frank Lampard's Blues will have a big say in their Europa League, or Champions League, chances.

 

MD35: Tottenham v Arsenal

Champions League regulars in recent seasons, there is a distinct possibility that neither Tottenham nor north London rivals Arsenal are even in Europe's second-tier competition next term.

Both are currently outside the top seven but within three points of Wolves and the Blades, who currently occupy the final two Europa League spots – presuming City's European ban stands.

This derby therefore has extra significance. The possibility of no European football in 2020-21 could also prompt Kane and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang to seek pastures new when the transfer window reopens...

 

MD36: West Ham v Watford

The destination of the title may be a foregone conclusion but the battle to avoid the drop is far less clear.

Even Norwich City, six points adrift, will believe they can survive given they must still face West Ham, Brighton and Hove Albion and Watford.

Only goal difference currently separates West Ham and Watford from the bottom three and they meet in a pivotal contest towards the back end of the season.

 

MD38: West Ham v Aston Villa

The Hammers are no stranger to final-day drama - their draw with United in 1995 handed the title to Blackburn Rovers, while Carlos Tevez's winner at Old Trafford in 2007 helped ensure they stayed up.

David Moyes' men may need more heroics if the fight to avoid relegation goes to the wire.

Villa will begin the resumption in 19th place, two points behind West Ham, but with a game in hand. All eyes could be on London Stadium on the final day.

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