LONDON (AP) - Chelsea’s loss at Aston Villa last weekend has thrown the Premier League title wide open. Jose Mourinho’s team recovered with a 2-0 win over Galatasaray to reach the Champions League quarterfinals but the Blues’ cushion at the top of the Premier League could be reduced to one point if they lose at home to bitter rival Arsenal on Saturday. The game at Stamford Bridge will mark Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th match in charge of Arsenal.
Second-place Liverpool travels to Cardiff looking for a sixth consecutive win while Manchester City - six points behind Chelsea but with three matches in hand, hosts last-place Fulham.
Here are five things to know ahead of this weekend’s Premier League matches:
NO GIFT FOR ARSENE
Earlier this season, Wenger was branded a “specialist in failure” by Mourinho and all eyes will be on the two managers when their sides clash at lunchtime on Saturday. Wenger, who has been in charge at Arsenal since 1996, has not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup. Mourinho led the Blues to their first two English league titles since 1955 during his first stint at Chelsea before returning to the west London club last June.
The two managers have a long history of confrontational relationships and it is unlikely that Mourinho will take part to the celebrations surrounding Wenger’s 1,000th match in charge. Asked if he will give the Frenchman a present, Mourinho said he has not planned anything special.
“Because the best present is to have 1,000 matches in the same club,” Mourinho said. “If Chelsea gives me the chance to arrive to 1,000 matches, I’ll be the happiest man there is in the world.”
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SOLACE
If both Arsenal and Manchester City win their games on Saturday afternoon, defending champion Manchester United will be trailing 15 points adrift of the top four by the time they face West Ham in London in the evening. But the 3-0 win over Olympiakos that booked the Red Devils a spot in the Champions League quarterfinals has lifted the gloom surrounding Old Trafford and manager David Moyes hopes the win can be a turning point in his dismal first season in charge.
“I don’t want to come out here and say this is the moment but at the same time, I really hope it is. We know it is a work in progress and it is going to take time to get things the way we want it,” Moyes said.
The only blight on Wednesday night was Robin van Persie’s knee injury, but Moyes hopes the Netherlands striker will be fit on Saturday despite being carried off the pitch on a stretcher following his hat trick.
“I don’t think Robin’s too bad,” Moyes said. “He’s got a knock just behind his knee. We’ll know more in the morning - we’ll assess it - but he had a knock in the back of his knee. We hope it’s not too bad.”