Previewing a pivotal Prem weekend
Sunday's pair of Premier League matches could go a long way toward determining the Premier League champion, as Manchester United hosts relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers while Manchester City visits Arsenal. Here are five notes to set the stage for Sunday's big games:
• With seven games remaining, Manchester United leads Manchester City by five points, City's largest deficit of the season. In the Premier League era, no team has won the title after trailing by more than two points with seven games left.
• ESPN's Soccer Power Index currently projects United as a 90.2 percent favorite to win the league. That number would jump to 96.8 percent with a United win and a City loss on Sunday. However, United's odds could also dwindle to 63.3 percent if Queens Park Rangers pulls an upset and City triumphs at the Emirates.
• Manchester United is unbeaten in 10 straight league games versus QPR, last losing on New Year's Day of 1992. That win at Old Trafford marks the only game QPR has ever won at Manchester United in 27 meetings across all competitions.
• After defeating Arsenal 1-0 in December, Manchester City seeks its first season sweep of the Gunners since the 1975-76 season. City hasn't won a league game at Arsenal since that season, going winless in 26 straight matches.
• With seven wins in its last eight games, Arsenal is now a 90.0 percent favorite to secure a top-four finish and a Champions League berth, which earns the Gunners about $40 million (assuming they reach the group stage). Arsenal has qualified for the Champions League in 14 straight seasons, a run that trails only Manchester United (16) and Real Madrid (15) among active streaks.