Premier League preview

Ferguson: Grand Slam Sunday

Heavyweights meet on Grand Slam Sunday

The Premier League heavyweights will be out to land knockout blows in the title race on an enthralling Grand Slam Sunday.

First into the ring are title holders Manchester United, who must be on their guard against a Liverpool side who are valiantly refusing to throw in the towel.

Defeat at Old Trafford would leave Rafa Benitez's men 14 points adrift and out for the count, but a victory should re-invigorate their challenge over the final rounds.

Attention will then switch to Stamford Bridge with fierce ambitions from both the blue and red corners to claim the Premier League crown.

Arsenal have been knocked onto the ropes in recent weeks with four successive draws seeing them slip from five points clear to three points adrift.

Chelsea could have moved level on points with the Gunners on Wednesday, only for Robbie Keane's late blow in the thrilling 4-4 draw at White Hart Lane to keep them on the back foot.

But before Sunday's main event, there is an intriguing undercard on Saturday with everything to play for at the other end of the table.

There are six-pointers at St James' Park and the Madejski Stadium as Newcastle tackle Fulham and Reading play host to Birmingham.

Kevin Keegan remains without a win in his eight league games at the helm, and the Magpies' last victory came at Fulham way back on 15th December.

The Cottagers have a miserable away record and have not won on the road since September 2006, when they triumphed 2-1 at the home of the Magpies.

Birmingham have only lost one of their last six, but four draws in that period leaves them one point adrift of Saturday's opponents Reading and only two above the drop zone.

Bolton have slipped into the bottom three on the back of a shocking run of five successive defeats and must halt that slide when they welcome Uefa Cup hopefuls Manchester City to the Reebok Stadium.

Struggling Sunderland have been hopeless away from the Stadium of Light this season, with just three points from a possible 45 and must address that situation as they make the trip to Aston Villa, another side with lingering European hopes.

Wigan are up to 12th and now six points away from the bottom three, but know they cannot afford to relax ahead of a testing Lancashire derby with Blackburn at Ewood Park.

Middlesbrough are another side still glancing nervously over their shoulder, but a home win over doomed Derby would be a welcome tonic for Gareth Southgate after impressive away draws at Aston Villa and Arsenal.

Everton, who suffered a shock defeat at Fulham last time out, can move back level on points with Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the race for fourth place with victory at home against West Ham.

Portsmouth's best chance of European football next season would appear to be through the FA Cup, but they are only six adrift of David Moyes' men ahead of their trip to White Hart Lane to tackle Carling Cup winners Tottenham, live on Sky Sports 1.

Click below for individual match previews

Tottenham v Portsmouth

Spurs have won five of their last six Premier League encounters with Portsmouth. Harry Redknapp's men have lost all four of their Premier League games at White Hart Lane but have scored in each one. Only Manchester United and Chelsea have won more away games than Portsmouth this season. Pompey are the only side with a 100 per cent record this season when they have opened the scoring.

Aston Villa v Sunderland

Villa have lost only one of their last 10 Premier League games against Sunderland. The six Premier League games between the sides at Villa Park have produced a meagre seven goals. The Black Cats have failed to score in their last four league games and there have been only three goals scored in total in those matches. Sunderland have also failed to score in their last five Premier League games away from home.

Blackburn v Wigan

In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, Roque Santa Cruz became the first player in 11 years to score a hat-trick but end up on the losing side. Rovers have never failed to score against Wigan in nine games against their Lancashire rivals. Wigan's victory earlier this season is their only win against Rovers. Mark Hughes' men have failed to score in five of their last 10 home league games and only scored once in three of the others.

Bolton v Man City

Manchester City have failed to score in their last two league trips to the Reebok Stadium and have won only three of their 14 Premier League away games this season. Bolton have lost their last five league games in a row. City have won just two of their last nine Premier League matches and only two of the last 13 on the road.

Middlesbrough v Derby

Middlesbrough have won their last four Premier League games against the Rams, the last two finishing 1-0. The only occasion in Premier League history when Middlesbrough have scored more than five goals in a game was their 6-1 demolition of Derby 11 years ago - Boro's biggest win in Premier League history. Derby have now gone 24 games without a Premier League victory, two short of Sunderland's all-time record of 26 games.

Newcastle v Fulham

Fulham have gone 31 away games without a win, a Premier League record. Despite that away-day gloom, the Cottagers have won two and drawn one of their last three Premier League trips to St James' Park. And Fulham's last away win in the Premier League came against Newcastle, back in September 2006. Newcastle's last Premier League win came against the Cottagers, under Sam Allardyce - a run of 13 matches without a victory. Fulham have only scored in three of their last eight games, but they won two and drew one of those.

Reading v Birmingham

This will be Birmingham's first league game at the Madejski Stadium - their last visit to Reading was at Elm Park. The Royals have lost nine and won two of their last 11 Premier League matches. James McFadden has scored four goals in his last four league starts. Birmingham have won none and lost five of their last seven Premier League away games.

Everton v West Ham

West Ham have failed to score in five of their last seven league visits to Goodison Park and the Hammers have also failed to find the net in nine of the last 14 home and away against the Merseysiders. Everton have only conceded one goal in their last four Premier League home games. Spurs are the only team to prevent the Toffees from scoring in the last 11 matches at Goodison Park and David Moyes' side have found the net 24 times in that run.
Manchester United v Liverpool

Liverpool have failed to score in six of Rafa Benitez's seven league encounters with Manchester United, and have lost six of the seven too. The Reds' only goal against United in the league under Benitez was an own goal. United have won nine and lost only one of the last 11 league meetings with Liverpool. The Reds last scored more than one goal away at Old Trafford in a league game in October 1995, when Robbie Fowler bagged a brace. Benitez has only one point from 10 games against the other members of the big four away from home.

Chelsea v Arsenal

The Gunners were the last team to beat Chelsea in the league back in December when they won 1-0 courtesy of a William Gallas goal. Arsenal were the last team to win a league game away at Chelsea, 78 games ago in February 2004. Chelsea have only won one of their last 11 home league games against the Gunners. Nicolas Anelka has six goals in eight appearances against former club Arsenal. Referee Mark Clattenburg has dismissed seven players this season - a joint-high among Premier League officials.