Entering the Premier League season’s home straight, the final set of midweek fixtures can be seen in two different lights.
Having the extra game crammed into the fixture schedule can either help accelerate the momentum for a side looking to make a sprint finish, or it can compound the woes of those teams out of form and struggling to pick up points.
Here are three teams that fall in to those two categories and a look at how the midweek matches will affect them:
Are Palace about to be sucked into the relegation scrap?
After losing to West Brom last time out, the Eagles have gone 10 Premier League games without a win.
Usually that wouldn’t be a worry as the side settle into the safety of the table’s midriff, but dropping points to Bournemouth, Swansea, Aston Villa and the Baggies means Alan Pardew’s men are in real danger of slipping into relegation trouble.
Sunderland are the Selhurst Park club’s midweek opponents and a defeat – rated at 6/4 by Ladbrokes – would leave the Londoners within tantalising reach of the bottom sides.
Chelsea’s European charge to gain pace
The Blues are the only top-flight side not to have lost in the last six games. In fact, they’ve not lost any league assignment during Guus Hiddink’s second interim stint, which leaves them just five points adrift of Manchester United in sixth place.
With Norwich, winless in seven league outings, the next target for the Blues, it seems a certainty that the Stamford Bridge club’s steamrollering pursuit of a European place continues. They are 1/4 in the draw no bet market.
The week where Leicester cut loose from the field
The Foxes’ last-gasp win over the Canaries last time out was the kind of grind-it-out victory that league wins are built on.
A home game against West Brom followed by a trip to Watford presents the best chance that Claudio Ranieri’s men have had to stride away from the chasing pack all season.
In the same time frame, Tottenham must play West Ham and Arsenal, the Gunners warm up for the north London derby against Swansea and Man City face Liverpool and Aston Villa.
Each rival has at least one tough task while the Foxes can collect maximum points and place one hand on the Premier League trophy.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.