Premier League Preview: Attentions turn to the relegation fight – Can Rafa save Newcastle?

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This weekend sees the Premier League reach its penultimate round of fixtures, and we round-up what is on offer in the coming days.

The 2015/16 season is now almost at an end, as another unpredictable, exciting Premier League campaign reaches its climax.

Liverpool host Watford on Sunday afternoon, and despite the game being something of a dead rubber, Jurgen Klopp will want his side to build on Thursday’s superb 3-0 win against Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final second-leg.

The Reds’ clash with the Hornets is one of 10 top-flight matches to look forward to in the coming days, as the summer fast approaches.

Can Rafa continue to work his magic?

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 1, 2012: A general view of St James' Park before the Premiership match between Newcastle United and Liverpool. (Pic by Vegard Grott/Propaganda)

With Leicester having wrapped up the title on Monday night, following Tottenham‘s dramatic 2-2 draw with Chelsea, attentions now turn to the relegation scrap.

Newcastle find themselves one point clear of the drop, having played a game more than Sunderland and Norwich, and last weekend’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace was absolutely vital.

The Magpies visit relegated Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon, and it represents a wonderful chance for them to earn three more valuable points.

Rafa Benitez is now on the verge of guiding Newcastle to safety, which seemed fairly unthinkable when he took charge back in March.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 30, 2015: Sunderland's manager Sam Allardyce laughs as Liverpool fans sing 'Fat Sam, he's got a big Fat Head' during the Premier League match at the Stadium of Light. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sunderland will be terrified at the thought of their local rivals staying up instead of them, and they must beat Chelsea at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats do have that aforementioned game in hand on Newcastle, but psychologically, further dropped points this weekend would be an almighty blow.

Norwich are still in with a chance of survival too, and they welcome Man United to Carrow Road on Saturday lunchtime.

Louis van Gaal’s side are still in contention for a top-four finish, and realistically, only a win will keep their chances alive. It is a huge game for both sides.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 18, 2015: Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger during the Premier League match against Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Man City and Arsenal do battle on Sunday afternoon, with the former’s insipid Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid in midweek leaving them with only a top-four finish to play for.

The Gunners will still believe they can catch second-place Spurs, who host Southampton prior to the City-Arsenal clash on Sunday.

West Ham are at home to nothing-to-play-for Swansea, with Slaven Bilic’s men keen to stay in the top-six, while champions Leicester will be given a huge reception when they host Everton.

The remaining fixtures see Bournemouth face West Brom at Dean Court, and Palace at home to Stoke. Neither are remotely important, in truth.

Full Fixtures & TV Info

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Friday, January 22, 2016: Norwich City's manager Alex Neil before the Premiership match against Liverpool at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Norwich vs. Man United – Saturday 12:45pm, BT Sport 1

Aston Villa vs. Newcastle – Saturday 3pm

Bournemouth vs. West Brom – Saturday 3pm

Crystal Palace vs. Stoke – Saturday 3pm

Sunderland vs. Chelsea – Saturday 3pm

West Ham vs. Swansea – Saturday 3pm

Leicester vs. Everton – Saturday 5:30pm, Sky Sports 1

Tottenham vs. Southampton – Sunday 1:30pm, Sky Sports 1

Liverpool vs. Watford – Sunday 4pm

Man City vs. Arsenal – Sunday 4pm, Sky Sports 1

Fantasy Football Tips

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 28, 2016: Liverpool's Lucas Leiva in action against Manchester City's Sergio Aguero during the Football League Cup Final match at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

City feel like a team very much at the end of an era, with Pep Guardiola soon to replace Manuel Pellegrini as manager, and some senior players likely to move on as well.

Sergio Aguero is still very much a player in his prime, however, and he may well prove to be the difference against Arsenal on Sunday. People will leave him out of their team because he is struggling form, but don’t do the same thing.

Leicester will have been celebrating their incredible title triumph all week, and frankly, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the players turned up to face Everton a little jaded and lacking intensity.

Because of that, and also because of Robert Huth’s three-match suspension, Romelu Lukaku could have a field day at the King Power Stadium.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 28, 2015: Southampton's Shane Long in action against Manchester City during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Spurs have battled so hard to stay in touch with Leicester at the top, but the way in which they imploded against Chelsea on Monday will have left plenty of mental scars.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men may not be at the races this weekend, and an in-form Shane Long could take advantage of it for Southampton.

Villa have almost become an embarrassment in recent weeks, and they are likely to put up little fight against Newcastle this weekend.

Benitez’s teams are always well-drilled, so Paul Dummett has a good chance of helping his side keep a clean-sheet at Villa Park. He is cheap too, so get him in your fantasy football team.

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