Part two of the ten things to look out for in the final weeks of the 2012/13 Premier League season concludes with points six through ten. After the international break the league returns this Saturday for what promises to be an action packed weekend – stay tuned folks:
6. Can Aston Villa finally pull it together and save themselves?
It has been a long season for Aston Villa. They have conceded the second highest number of goals in the league, gone out of both cup competitions with embarrassing ease to lower league opposition and still have the potential to become one of the biggest clubs to be relegated from the league since it was formed in 1992. Whether they can hold it together to survive remains to be seen. Recently they have started to show some form but with nine games to go there is still a lot of football to be played.
7. Will Manchester Utd manage to hang onto their lead?
This time last year Utd were eight points clear and winning the league was thought to be a done deal. They then lost to Wigan, threw away a two-goal lead to draw with Everton and then lost to Manchester City. Suddenly their lead was gone and they lost out on the title by goal difference. It would be unlikely the same could happen again, but with games coming in quick succession, the hangover from the loss to Real Madrid draining them mentally and physically, plus the loss of form of Robin Van Persie, as a Manchester Utd fan I hope they can hang on.
8. Is it possible for Everton to finish in the top four?
Everton are always so near, and yet so far. They deserve so much more, they play some great football, have an amazing manager but lack of funds always prevents them to getting where they should be. If Tottenham lose their way (as they have done the past two seasons), Chelsea self destruct, and Arsenal fail to decide if winning a football match is actually a good thing to do, there is a chance for Everton to finish in the top four and claim a place in the Champions League.
9. Wigan, will it all end in tears?
Once again Wigan find themselves hovering above the relegation zone. For the past two seasons they have managed to find some form in the run-in and pull themselves to safety. This season they have to do it all over again, and all the while being distracted by their place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. If all goes well, they will survive relegation and book a place in the cup final at Wembley. If it all goes wrong, they will be playing championship football next season alongside the team – Millwall – who has the potential to knock them out of the cup and claim a place in the final. Wigan’s season really does have the potential to be all or nothing.
10. Who will go out with a grand finale?
At the end of the season the Premier League will say goodbye to two of its longest serving members – Michael Owen and Jamie Carragher. Both players began their careers with Liverpool in 1996, and while Owen has played for many clubs, Carragher has remained a loyal servant to the Reds for his entire career. Owen deserves one last hurrah by scoring a goal for his current team Stoke City, while Carragher deserves to go out in glory as one of the Premier Leagues most consistent defenders. They have both been a joy to watch.