Leicester City’s lead has survived to meet the start of this season’s closing ten-game sequence, and Game Week 29 represents a huge opportunity for the Foxes.
A trip to mid-table Watford provides a fair opportunity for Leicester to augment the most improbable of championship leads in Premier League history – but doing so effectively will rely on the North London derby ending in a draw.
Two more fixtures catch the eye this week, potentially determining the surviving teams of 2015/16, with Swansea hosting Norwich and Bournemouth making the long journey to Newcastle.
1. Lukas Fabianski – vs Norwich (H)
After two bruising fixtures in North London, with mixed emotions, the relegation-threatened Swans face an entirely different type of challenge, hosting a Norwich City side that has suffered from a lack of consistency throughout the season.
A tense and closely fought affair is to be expected, but Swansea’s superior defensive record should prove to be the decisive factor.
2/3. Jose Fonte & Dusan Tadic – vs Sunderland (H)
With Sam Allardyce at the Wearside helm, a repeat of the Black Cat’s 8-0 thrashing (which occurred in last season’s corresponding fixture) is highly unlikely, but this is nothing short of a formality for Ronald Koeman’s highly professional outfit.
Dusan Tadic is, statistically, the most direct source of Southampton’s productivity from midfield, and he will cause an array of problems for Sunderland throughout the match.
4. Riyad Mahrez – vs Watford (A)
The midfield maestro has been a major fixture in every fantasy squad this season, exceeding expectations week after week. Vicarage Road has proven to be a difficult trip for many teams this season and, as a result, Mahrez may not be the usual shoe-in amongst rival managers.
However, Watford’s push for a European place is now lacking in fuel, as a long first season back in the top flight takes its toll on Quique Flores’ men.
5. Yaya Toure – vs Aston Villa (H)
Much has been made of City’s own failure to produce the type of consistent run needed to win a title, but Toure alone remains a consistent performer. Meanwhile Villa’s beleaguered band of ‘players’ have only pride for which to play, such is the midlands club’s deficit from safety.
The team from the second city could find itself on the receiving end of a grotesque scoreline at the Etihad Stadium, and Toure (along with the stratospherically priced Sergio Aguero) is a must-have for GW29, as the Ivorian will undoubtedly be heavily involved in the process of Villa’s destruction.
6. Emmanuel Emenike – Everton (A)
Emenike remains something of an unknown quantity, but Everton have a strong record for charity against newcomers to the turbulence of the Premier League.
Although the club, along with its supporters, is reflecting on the possibility of a complete takeover by Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri, no amount of money can expunge the six home defeats to which Roberto Martinez’ side has fallen this season.
Though Everton are highly competent on the road, just one home win in four months is a stark reminder of the progress that has yet to be made by the blues as the club prepares for a brave new era at board level.
Emenike is the wild card of GW 29, and he may even be deployed as an ‘impact sub’, should the Hammers find themselves trailing in the latter stages of Saturday’s game.