PL Sunday preview: Can Leicester keep their nerve? Arsenal vs. Sunderland
Leicester City’s first of four judgment days, in which they’ll either secure of let slip away the 2015-16 Premier League title, is upon us. But first, a Sunday clash with both top-four and relegation implications…
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Sunderland vs. Arsenal — 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra
There are no three points more financially valuable to two clubs this weekend than the three on the line between relegation battlers Sunderland and UEFA Champions League chasers Arsenal. With four games to go, Sunderland are a point from exiting the relegation zone, while Arsenal have a four-point lead on Manchester United in the race for fourth — otherwise known as the Arsene Wenger trophy.
When these sides first met this season, back in December, it was the Gunners who enjoyed a 3-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium. Just over a month later, it was the Gunners with another 3-1 home victory over the Black Cats in the FA Cup third round. Arsenal are unbeaten in their last six PL games (three wins), while Sunderland have won just once during that time (four draws).
INJURIES: Sunderland — Emmanuel Eboue (suspension) | Arsenal — OUT: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Santi Cazorla (achilles), Carl Jenkinson (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Jack Wilsere (leg)
Leicester City vs. Swansea City — 11:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra
For the first time all season, Claudio Ranieri has acknowledged Leicester’s PL title chances and ambitions. Is it a sign that the pressure is finally getting to the Italian “tinkerman” and his players, or an inevitable byproduct of the four remaining games on the fixture list? It’s without a doubt the latter, but perhaps a bit of the former, as well.
The big story this week has been Jamie Vardy’s status, and whether or not his suspension will ultimately cost Leicester the title. It shouldn’t matter too terribly much against lowly Swansea, though, should it? Now on 40 points, 10 clear of the relegation zone, what do the Swans have left to play for … other than the “greatest spoilers of all time” crown? If Swansea can pull it off, Tottenham Hotspur will be frothing at the mouth ahead of their Monday kickoff versus West Bromwich Albion.
INJURIES: Leicester — OUT: Jamie Vardy (suspension) | Swansea — None