The big game in the Premiership this weekend sees title-chasing Arsenal face relegation-threatened Bolton.
The Gunners need to win if they want to keep up the pressure on leadersManchester United, even though Arsene Wenger’s men do have a game in hand.
Bolton are four points clear of the relegation zoneand despite last week’s 1-0 win over fellow strugglers West Ham, are still desperate for points.
When the side met earlier in the season, Arsenal won 2-1 at Highbury thanks to a late goal from Kanu. Bolton however are on a very good run at the moment, winning won four of their last six games and conceding only one goal in the process.
The match will be defender Sol Campbell’s last game of the season after his appeal to have a four game ban overturned, failed.
Arsenal beat Middlesbrough away last week and will need to keep their form up for the final push. Wenger is boosted by the news that three key players at the back should be fit to play
“Martin Keown was in the squad at Middlesbrough and should be alright, Ashley Cole should be OK too, he’ll have a final test tomorrow morning,” said Wenger.
“David Seaman is in a better condition and looks to be OK as well but I’ll make a decision tomorrow.”
Patrick Viera is still unfit and is targeting the Leeds game on May 4 for a comeback.
Bolton striker Per Frandsen is confident his side can get some kind of result from the game.
“It will be difficult but we are confident of playing well at home,” he says.
“We have won our last three games here and we always seem to play well against the top teams.”
While Arsenal travel to Lancashire, two other London clubs Chelsea and Fulham face each other in a West London derby.
Ironically, the game at Stamford Bridge will be the only game Fulham play in their own London borough all season. Fans are also planning to march to Craven Cottage after the game in protest at leaving the ground.
In the league, Chelsea are on a good run, they have won fiveof their last six and their strikers have started to hit form.
They overtook Newcastle for third place on Monday and will wantto maintain that position. Chelsea also have a fit squad to choose from and need just one point to overhaul last years points total of 64.
Fulham on the other hand are not yet safe from the relegation zone. They do have a cushion of six points to West Ham though after their morale boosting win against Newcastle last Saturday.
Fulham will be without strike pair Louis Saha and Steve Marlet. They also have Djetou out injured.
The game is massive for the players and fans alike, as Sylvain Legwinski points out.
“But we are really looking forward to it. It’s a big derby and we badly want to get a result against Chelsea,” he says.
“There is usually a lot of passion in a game like this, and the fact that we both need to get the result, although for different reasons, will add to the drama of thegame.”
The other side in the title run in Manchester United travel to White Hart Lane to play Spurs.
United will have Gary Neville and Paul Scholes back from suspension and it will be interesting to see if David Beckham is recalled.
Spurs will have Jamie Redknapp back after four months out and defender Dean Richards believes he knows how to play to beat United.
“But I think the best way to defend against Manchester United it go out and attack them,” he points out.
“That’s what we did here last season and, to some extent, at Old Trafford this season. I thought we contained them quite well up there, hit them onthe break and only lost out to a penalty.”
Fourth-placed Newcastle travel to the Stadium of Light to play Sunderland in the north east derby. Newcastle need to win to retain their final Champions League spot, especially as rivals for the place, Liverpool, play relegated West Brom on Saturday.
Defender Olivier Bernard said: “We have had a bad run in the last few games, but we have to forget that now and everyone must focus on Sunderland.”
“Games against the local rivals are always special, and this one is no different even though Sunderland are already down.”
Elsewhere in the division, Trevor Brooking has his first game in charge of West Ham away to Manchester City on Sunday. Middlesbrough travel toBirmingham, Charlton play Southampton, Aston Villa go to Everton and Leeds play Blackburn.