Soccer lovers, particularly followers of the English Premier League, are in for a treat this weekend when they will be entertained to two mouth-watering fixtures.
The two fixtures involve four teams in the top echelon of the table with each side having a point to prove against their rivals, particularly in view of their recent respective performances.
Top on the billing is the clash between Liverpool and Arsenal, two teams that are still savouring their last week's sweet wins (Liverpool over Cardiff City in the finals of the Carling Cup at Wembley and Arsenal over Spurs in a league tie at The Emirates).
If Cardiff City's performance on Sunday against Liverpool is to be considered as good measure of their pedigree, the Reds will this weekend have hard time to prove that they deserved to win the cup.
The minnows matched the Reds boot to boot in all departments. Proof of this was manifestly the two-all score line at the end of regular time. Had Cardiff City been a little more composed during the deciding penalty shout-outs, they certainly would have carried the day. This is to be weighed against the one-goal difference that separated the two teams at the end of the spot kicks.
Captain Steven Gerrard's penalty miss was just a stark reminder (to many Africans that watched the game) of what happened in the just ended Afcon tournament when Ghana missed a crucial penalty in regular time in their semi-final match against under-dogs Zambia.
A repeat treat (penalty miss) was again on offer in regular time of the finals when Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba ballooned over the bar from the spot with Zambia's keeper Kennedy Mweene at his mercy. This was a penalty, had it been converted, would probably have seen the Ivorians lift the trophy.
Liverpool must therefore put up better performance than what they displayed at Wembley last Sunday if they have to come out with maximum points against the Gunners who are still wallowing in the euphoria of their 5-2 drubbing of Spurs.
Liverpool must be reminded that the Gunners will not be too willing to relinquish their fourth position in the table. The Gunners are expected to put up another spirited performance to help them forget their recent poor form that has put them on an unenviable path of another trophy-less season.
Given the odds the two teams (Liverpool and Arsenal) face as they take to the turf, an equal day would be a fair settlement. However, Arsenal may not have forgotten the 0-2 loss they recorded when the Reds visited The Emirates on August 21. This is the only chance remaining in the season for the Gunners to execute revenge.
Manchester United will be travelling to White Hart Lane with the odds in their favour (in their last three league meetings) against Spurs.
When Spurs last visited Old Trafford on August 21, they were given a 3-0 hiding by the home side. This time around, Spurs are expected to be a little more prepared to stop the Red Devils from collecting more maximum points from them.
Spurs will not want Arsenal, who humiliated them with the 5-2 drubbing and are seven points behind, to close in on them. Team mentor Harry Redknapp and his charges will certainly want to quickly put behind last week's humiliating loss by chalking a convincing win against the visitors, thereby boost their morale and consolidate their position (three) in the table.
Alex Ferguson must be well aware that this is a crunch encounter that he must win at all cost just to ensure that his team does not slip further from the two points that still separate his side from leaders Manchester City.
Ferguson needs all the three points to keep City's Roberto Mancini disappearing from sight with his side around the corner, especially that City face easy prey in bottom-of-the-table Bolton Wanderers this weekend. City are expected (unless they act a little carelessly) to collect maximum points from the encounter.
Chelsea Must pray that Arsenal, who they tie on points and are just below them in the table, slip against Liverpool for the Blues to leap back to the fourth position which they relinquished to the Gunners three weeks ago.
Unfortunately, Chelsea have proved to be bad travelers lately having collected just two points from their last three outings. Their trip to The Hawthorns against West Brom could prove to be another nightmare for team mentor Andre Villas-Boas and his boss Roman Abramovich.
The Blues cannot afford anything less than maximum points if they hope to topple Arsenal from position four.