Barclays Premier League
Arsenal v Norwich, 12:45
For the Gunners this may not look the most important or challenging of fixtures, but with Spurs and Newcastle giving it one last push for the Champions League spots Arsenal still need to secure points, and the putting away of sides like Norwich is something the team could do better. Paul Lambert will bring his Canaries squad to the Emirates tired, battered and bruised from a long year, but he’ll be as proud as a new dad of the way they’ve acquitted themselves in their first year in the Premiership.
Arsenal will be without Theo Walcott, who is still struggling with the hamstring injury that caused him to miss the draw with Stoke. Per Mertesecker, Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere have been ruled out for the season. Norwich left-back Adam Drury is doubtful due to a groin injury. Leading scorer Grant Holt is likely to start after coming on off the bench last week as manager Paul Lambert sought to give him a rest. Victor Chandler have a fairly measly 7/1 on a 2-0 home win, but I’d fancy the Gunners to get three points.
Chelsea v Liverpool, 17:15
This is clearly a big game for Liverpool, and the amount of pressure Kenny Dalglish is putting on it seems as though it may backfire, although players like Suarez and Gerrard could equally thrive in such circumstances. For Chelsea, though, and a few of their number in particular, this is an equally massive occasion regardless of the game they will play in Munich a fortnight or so hence.
John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and a few others are suspended for the big game in Germany, and that is what will make this such a huge event for them. Going into an international summer the likes of Terry will also want to stake a claim with Roy Hodgson to being indispensable to the squad, whatever baggage they may bring with them, and what issues they face in court.
In terms of selection, Roberto di Matteo must choose between Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres as his main striker, and has Gary Cahill and David Luiz out with hamstring injuries. Long-term midfield absentees Lucas Leiva and Charlie Adam are Liverpool’s only injury absentees, with Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard are set to return after missing Tuesday’s loss to Fulham.
It’s always tough to call finals, but the 7/1 with SkyBet that Chelsea will win by a couple of goals doesn’t look bad. There are so many variables on show here, with Torres v Liverpool and Suarez playing Terry that you really have to pick your favourite narrative and follow that thread to its end.