London: While Manchester United and title rivals Manchester City resume their slugfest for Premier League silverware, Aston Villa and Newcastle United meet on Tuesday in a relegation dogfight that neither would have expected to be embroiled in.
Once Premier League heav--yweights, Arsenal and Liverpool are struggling to even secure the minimum achievement of qualifying for the Champions League ahead of their meeting at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
Both teams have been left behind in recent years because of the continued excellence of United and the rise to prominence of City and Chelsea.
That trio is fighting for the title once again this season, le-aving fourth pl-ace — and the final Champio-ns League spot — as the best Arsenal and Liverpool can realistically hope for with 15 matches remaining.
After routine FA Cups wins, the Manchester clubs resume their title fight with games against teams that are battling agai-nst relegation.
City have a chance to pile the pressure on United and briefly cut the-ir advantage to two points by beating Quee-ns Park Range-rs on Tuesday.
City will be without captain Vincent Kompany, who hurt his right calf in the 1-0 win at Stoke in the FA Cup on Saturday and could be sidelined for two weeks.
Newcastle also had high expectations after an unexpected fifth place last season.
But the northeast club, hindered by injuries to key players like Hatem Ben Arfa, have str-uggled. Top scorer Demba Ba’s departure for Chelsea earlier this month has also left a shortage of firepower, with the onus now on Papiss Cisse to consistently deliver. (Agencies)