Premier League preview

United look to close in on Premier League crown

Ronaldo: Stunning season

Manchester United can take another step towards retaining the Premier League crown with victory at Blackburn on Saturday.

Victory over North West rivals Rovers at Ewood Park would see Sir Alex Ferguson's men regain their five-point lead over Chelsea, the only other team left in the title race, with just three games to go.

And with the Red Devils due to travel to Stamford Bridge next Saturday, live on Sky Sports 1, they know back-to-back victories will seem them confirmed as champions at the home of their bitter rivals.

Few could argue with United's title credentials as they have out-scored all their rivals, boast the meanest defence in the league and possess the game's outstanding talent in the shape of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The brilliant Portugal international has now netted an astonishing 38 goals this season and has found the net in each of his last seven games in all competitions.

Relegation battle

At the other end of the table, another weekend of nail-biting tension is on the cards for supporters of the teams battling to beat the drop.

Fulham welcome Liverpool to Craven Cottage on Saturday, with Rafa Benitez expected to rest key players ahead of next week's UEFA Champions League semi-final showdown with Chelsea.

Roy Hodgson's side must take full advantage of facing a weakened Reds side as they remain four points adrift of safety with games rapidly running out.

Bolton travel to Middlesbrough with spirits lifted by their home triumph over West Ham last time out, but will be without striker Kevin Davies through suspension.

Birmingham are hovering just outside the bottom three, but should need little motivation for this weekend as they face derby rivals Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Martin O'Neill's men remain in the hunt for a Uefa Cup place and the home fans would be more than happy to see Blues pushed closer to a Championship return.

Reading have also been sucked back into the relegation mix, and manager Steve Coppell must arrest a scoreless run of three matches which has brought in a solitary point.

Unfortunately for the Royals, they face one of the Premier League's most testing away days on Saturday, as they travel to Emirates Stadium to meet a wounded Arsenal side, live on Sky Sports 1.

Arsene Wenger's side will again finish the season without silverware, but have a proud home record to protect, with just one league defeat in two seasons at their new ground.

Wigan have climbed the table on the back of some impressive home form in recent weeks and could secure their top-flight status if they defeat Tottenham at the JJB Stadium.

Juande Ramos will have been unimpressed with the inconsistency displayed by his Spurs side in the wake of their Carling Cup triumph in February, with just two victories in seven league matches since they overcame Chelsea at Wembley.

Tyne-Wear showdown

Super Sunday on Sky Sports 1 kicks off with what promises to be a passionate and heated affair as Sunderland travel to St James' Park to meet Newcastle, with both teams having won three of their last four matches.

And the second live match of the afternoon sees FA Cup finalists Portsmouth make the trip to Eastlands to tackle Manchester City.

Former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson has seen his future at the club thrown into doubt this week with owner Thaksin Shinawatra admitting his unhappiness at how City have faded since Christmas.

The weekend's remaining fixture sees Derby travel to West Ham knowing that there are few new depths for them to reach.

Already relegated and on course to finish the season with the lowest ever points tally in Premier League history, the Rams were spanked 6-0 at home by Aston Villa last week with goalkeeper Roy Carroll enduring an afternoon of utter misery.

Click on the links for individual match previews and stats

Arsenal v Reading

Only three teams (Derby 2, Bolton 4 and West Ham 4) have picked up fewer points since the start of March than Arsenal (7). Reading have conceded nine goals in their three Premier League matches against the Gunners and have never won a competitive fixture against Arsenal.

Fulham v Liverpool

Fulham have won in their last two home matches in the Premier League against Liverpool and the Reds have failed to score in each of their last two visits to Fulham in the top-flight. But Liverpool have won five of their last seven matches against the Cottagers in the Premier League.

Middlesbrough v Bolton

Middlesbrough's next win at the Riverside will be their 100th home victory in Premier League history and they have found the net nine times in their last two home matches against Bolton in the top-flight. Bolton have only scored eight goals in their last 13 league games since Nicolas Anelka left for Chelsea and it is 310 minutes since Bolton last scored away from home.

West Ham v Derby

Derby have never managed to defeat West Ham in the Premier League at Upton Park and have only scored one goal in their last five Premier League matches against the Hammers. West Ham have kept only two clean sheets in the last 19 games and none in the last eight and have only scored four goals in their last eight matches.

Wigan v Tottenham

Wigan have never beaten Tottenham in the Premier League in five attempts and Spurs have hit 10 goals in their last three meetings with the Latics in the top-flight. Wigan are unbeaten in their last five home games having kept a clean sheet in each one, while Spurs have won only two of their last 17 Premier League away games.

Blackburn v Manchester United

Manchester United have only won in one of their last seven Premier League matches against Blackburn at Ewood Park. Rovers have lost their last three meetings with United in the Premier League and have only won one game against the teams in the top half of the table this season.

Aston Villa v Birmingham

Aston Villa have managed to win their last three top-flight matches against rivals Birmingham. Before this run, City were unbeaten in their previous six against Villa in the top flight and Blues have never failed to find the net at Villa Park in the Premier League. Birmingham have gone 15 games without a clean sheet - the longest current run in the top division.

Newcastle v Sunderland

Newcastle are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League matches against rivals Sunderland - winning five. The Black Cats have not kept a clean sheet against Newcastle in the Premier League in each of their 13 meetings. Sunderland have only ever won three away games in a row once in Premier League history, and that run contained a 2-1 victory over the Magpies at St James' Park.

Manchester City v Portsmouth

Manchester City have only won three of their last 13 Premier League games - all by a 2-1 scoreline - and have only kept two clean sheets in that spell. Jermain Defoe has scored seven goals in eight games since his move to Portsmouth. Pompey have kept four clean sheets in their last five games and now have 15 this season. Only Chelsea (19) and Manchester United (20) have kept more.