Man U host Chelsea on EPL's Super Sunday
LONDON, AP - The race is on to see which comes first in the English Premier League this season: Chelsea clinching the title or Sunderland getting relegated.
It could be a close, with seven games left.
Chelsea have a seven-point lead heading into their trip to Manchester United on Sunday, while last-place Sunderland are 10 points from safety going into a home match against West Ham tomorrow.
Chelsea need five more wins to guarantee the title, and the match at United is the toughest of the leaders' remaining games. Apart from a match at Everton on April 30, there seems to be few realistic opportunities for Chelsea to slip up.
Helping Chelsea this weekend is the fact that United are playing in between games in the Europa League quarterfinals, meaning manager Jose Mourinho could rest key players.
Second-place Tottenham host Bournemouth tomorrow.
Sunderland are synonymous with producing late-season charges to safety but it looks unlikely this year. The club has gone more than 11 hours without scoring in the league: Not a great record for a team that likely needs to win six of its remaining matches to escape.
In Spain, Barcelona, after a week of struggles, host a Real Sociedad side they have only beaten twice in their last six league games.
Coming off consecutive losses — at Malaga in the Spanish league and at Juventus in the Champions League — Barcelona need a win at the Camp Nou tomorrow to try to stay close to league leaders Real Madrid, who are three points ahead with a game in hand.
Madrid, unbeaten in eight league games and further buoyed by a 2-1 win at Bayern Munich in the Champions League, will play at Sporting Gijon, who have won only one of their last nine matches and are in the relegation zone.
The Milan derby should generate heightened interest in China, especially after tomorrow's kickoff was moved to 12:30 p.m. local time — perfect for prime time Chinese television audiences seven hours ahead.
Inter Milan are owned by Chinese group Suning, while the delayed sale of AC Milan to a group of Chinese investors was completed yesterday. The league optimistically says the match could reach up to 566 million households in the Asia-Pacific region and be the most-watched match in Italian football.
The city rivals are battling it out for a place in Europe.
Inter, who lost at Crotone last weekend, have picked up only one point in its last three matches and dropped to seventh, two points behind AC Milan and the last qualifying spot for the Europa League.
Milan could rise above Atalanta, who visit second-place Roma, while Juventus, with a seven-point lead over Roma, travel to last-place Pescara. All 10 matches are being played tomorrow because of Easter.
In Germany, with six games remaining, the Bundesliga's relegation scrap is becoming tenser.
Wolfsburg, the 2009 champions, face a crunch game tomorrow at home against next-to-last Ingolstadt, who are on a three-game winning run and would move above the Volkswagen-backed club with another.
In the relegation playoff place, Augsburg, enduring a six-game winless run, face a tough game at home against Cologne. Mainz, who have lost five in a row, host Hertha Berlin. Only goal difference separates Augsburg and Mainz.
On Sunday, there's the northern derby between Werder Bremen and Hamburger SV. Both were deep in relegation trouble and a loss to either would drag them back in. Hamburg is only four points clear of Augsburg.
At the top of the standings, Bayern Munich need only three wins to wrap up their fifth consecutive title. Bayern visit relegation-threatened Bayer Leverkusen tomorrow, with the priority now overturning a 2-1 first leg loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday to reach the Champions League semi-finals.
6:30 a.m: Tottenham vs Bournemouth
9 a.m: Crystal Palace vs Leicester
9 a.m: Everton vs Burnley
9 a.m: Stoke City vs Hull City
9 a.m: Sunderland vs West Ham
9 a.m: Watford vs Swansea
11:30 a.m: Southampton vs Manchester City
7:30 a.m: West Brom vs Liverpool
10 a.m: Manchester United vs Chelsea
2 p.m: Middlesbrough vs Arsenal