Weekend Wanderings: Manchester United look to get back on form

Another weekend has arrived with seemingly endless of crucial fixtures.

With top four spaces and promotion at stake, as well as the possibility of an appearance in a Champions League final, there are some pivotal games taking place.

Alasdair Hooper looks at the matches you should be keeping an eye on in this edition of Weekend Wanderings.

1. Will Tottenham take a huge step towards a top-four spot?

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Europe aside, it’s been an up and down time for Tottenham in the last couple of months, seeing their Champions League participation next year come under threat.

Spurs may be in the last four of Europe’s elite competition but their midweek win over Brighton in the league was ever so crucial.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side could do with securing a top-four spot as soon as possible but this Saturday there is every chance a rival could throw a spanner in the works.

West Ham make the trip to Tottenham’s new stadium for the first time and they have a habit of putting in a performance against Spurs.

The rivalry between both sets of fans is certainly there, meaning there is sure to be a fiery atmosphere.

But at the heart of it both teams are desperate for the points – for Tottenham it’s about the top four, for West Ham there is still a chance of sealing a top-half finish.

2. Will Manchester United turn around their torrid form against a top-four rival.

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Despite Chelsea’s problems this season, the Blues are looking the most likely to seal that final top-four spot between them, Manchester United and Arsenal.

This Sunday we see a crucial game in the race for Champions League football as Manchester United, fresh from a 4-0 loss to Everton and 2-0 defeat to rivals City, host Maurizio Sarri’s side at Old Trafford.

Both teams have their flaws but right now, on recent form, it looks very much like Chelsea’s game to lose.

The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer honeymoon has well and truly ended, and United are in need of a spark from somewhere.

Will this be the turning point for United or will Chelsea stake a solid claim for Champions League qualification?

3. Will Aston Villa extend their club-record winning streak?

Aston Villa are simply flying right now and, on Monday night, their victory over Millwall set a club-record winning streak of 10 victories in a row.

With their place in the play-offs seemingly guaranteed no team will want to face them at this moment in time.

But the team who face that prospect on Sunday are a side who have hit a bump in the road at the wrong time.

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Leeds United, seemingly heading towards automatic promotion under Marcelo Bielsa at various points this season, go into their game against Villa at Elland Road off the back of two defeats.

Those defeats, and Sheffield United’s back-to-back wins, have seen the Blades leapfrog them into the final automatic spot.

With just two games left of the Championship season this is a massive fixture for Leeds but, similarly, Dean Smith’s Villa will want to keep the winning feeling going ahead of the play-offs.

Momentum is a big thing in football after all.

4. Will Chelsea defy the odds to qualify for the Champions League final?

Last weekend Chelsea faced European giants Lyon in the first leg of the Women’s Champions League semi-final.

This Sunday the second leg takes place and it is very much all still to play for.

The Blues may have lost to the reigning European champions but Erin Cuthbert grabbed a crucial away goal in the 72nd minute.

With the tie now moving to Kingsmeadow, Emma Hayes’ side will have to dig deep in order to get a result.

But, if they do, a result is well within their reach.

5. Will Dortmund seal a huge win in the Revierderby?

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Dortmund continue to languish a point behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga title race – that 5-0 defeat on April 6 came at exactly the wrong moment.

However, if Bayern are to slip up at some point then Borussia Dortmund can’t afford any more mistakes if they are to end their wait for a league title.

But this Saturday Signal Iduna Park plays host to one of Germany’s best fixtures, the Revierderby between Dortmund and Schalke.

Last year’s runners-up Schalke may be a shadow of what they were this time last year but derby’s have a strange habit of raising everyone’s game.

Similarly the Gelsenkirchen side would likely relish the chance to spoil their rival’s chances of league glory.

Three points here are a must for Dortmund’s young team but they will also have to keep their fingers crossed that Bayern mess up one more time in the run in.

Follow Alasdair on Twitter at @adjhooper1992

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