With 11 Premier League matches remaining and no FA Cup fixtures to look forward to, Fulham and Liverpool will now focus on scrapping for Europa League qualification, starting with their respective weekend trips to Stoke City and Wigan Athletic.
A little higher up the table, champions Manchester City have a monumental task on their hands trying to catch league leaders Manchester United and could potentially find themselves 15 points behind their neighbours heading into their trip to Aston Villa on Monday evening.
All three sides take to the road this weekend and will view their fixtures as eminently winnable.
While each team are perhaps best considered for single bets or to boost the odds of an otherwise short-priced weekend accumulator, new customers to bwin.com who back this treble with their free £20 bet would see an impressive return of £158.92 should the trio all secure maximum points.
Read on to find out why they look well placed to deliver the goods.
Fulham to beat Sunderland @ 21/10
If you were to look at the set of Premier League fixtures taking place over the weekend, a Fulham win in this encounter may not necessarily stand out, but if you take into account the form of their hosts, there’s reason to back Martin Jol’s men.
The Black Cats are without a win in four and will be nervously looking over their shoulder as they sit just five points above the relegation places in what has been a disappointing season for Martin O’Neill’s side after spending big in the summer.
They head into this encounter on the back of three successive defeats, the last coming in a 2-1 reverse away at West Brom on Saturday, and they’ve failed to score in their last two matches at the Stadium of Light, where they have picked up just four wins.
Fulham’s 1-0 success at home to Stoke at the weekend saw them move up to 11th and they have only lost one of their last four Premier League outings – a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to free-scoring Manchester United at the beginning of February.
The Cottagers tasted their first defeat against the Black Cats in seven matches earlier in the campaign as they went down 3-1 at Craven Cottage, albeit with the scores at 0-0 when Brede Hangeland was given his marching orders on the half-hour mark.
Prior to that, the London club had picked up three wins and three draws from their previous six meetings with the Wearsiders and look a great price at 21/10 to heap further misery upon their hosts with all three points in the north-east on Saturday.
Liverpool to beat Wigan @ 39/50
It’s been a mixed start to Brendan Rodgers’ Anfield career. The Reds have often played some attractive football, but they are out of Europe, were dispatched by Oldham in the FA Cup and currently occupy ninth place in the Premier League table with 11 matches remaining.
Next up for Liverpool, who beat Swansea City 5-0 at home in their last league outing the weekend before last, is a trip to Wigan Athletic, who sit just outside the bottom three on goal difference after seeing off fellow strugglers Reading 3-0 on their travels on Saturday.
The Reds comfortably dispatched their hosts by the same scoreline when they met earlier in the season courtesy of a Jose Enrique opener and a brace from Luis Suarez, who has been in fine goalscoring form for the club this term with 18 league goals.
That leaves the Uruguayan just one strike behind the league’s top scorer, Robin van Persie, and he’ll be confident of adding to his tally against a defence that has conceded 51 goals – only Aston Villa have let in more than Roberto Martinez’s men.
The Latics have recorded just four clean sheets this season, all coming away from home, while just one of their six wins this season have come against a top half side, that being Tottenham in November, who have since been in devastating league form.
It certainly won’t be an easy task for the Reds, but if they can put in the same kind of performance they showed on their last two trips away from home, which both ended 2-2 at Arsenal and Man City, they should have enough quality to leave the DW Stadium with maximum points.
Manchester City to beat Aston Villa @ 11/25
While the league title appears to be heading back to the red side of Manchester – United are currently 12 points clear at the top – City boss Roberto Mancini will be urging his side not to surrender their title without a fight from now to the end of the season.
Having gone down 3-1 in a shock defeat to Southampton, the Blues have come back with successive victories, the first a 4-0 win at home to Leeds United in the FA Cup, before a confidence-boosting 2-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium against Chelsea on Sunday.
On Monday evening, City take on Aston Villa, who currently occupy the final relegation place and were seen off 5-0 when the sides met in November, when a David Silva strike was followed by a couple of braces from Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez.
Only bottom club QPR have scored fewer than the 26 goals Paul Lambert’s young Villa charges have managed to notch this term in their 27 league matches, which doesn’t make for good reading considering they are coming up against the league’s tightest defence.
Mancini’s men have conceded just 24 goals in the league this term, recording 12 clean sheets along the way, and are certainly not lacking in attack either, as they average just under two goals a game and have failed to find the net in only four matches this season.
With influential midfielder Yaya Toure back pulling the strings in the middle of the park following his return from the Africa Cup of Nations, City should be on course for a third successive victory against Villa, having also secured a 1-0 win here last season.