This scenario is simple: Manchester City only need a point at home to West Ham to win the Premier League – unless they draw and Liverpool beat Newcastle at home by 13 goals, which unless Brendan Rodgers has been secretly cultivating a cloning programme to bring back Robbie Fowler, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish at their peak seems extremely unlikely.
If, however, Manchester City somehow contrive to lose to West Ham - and remember, they have won 16 of 18 at the Etihad this season – then Liverpool will claim their first league title since 1990 with any home win over Newcastle.
Eurosport’s view: Stick a fork in it, the title race is done. It is surely unthinkable that Manchester City will do anything other than win on Sunday, particularly given they notched up their 100th goal on Wednesday night when hammering Aston Villa 4-0 at home. With Edin Dzeko having scored five goals in his last three, and Yaya Toure becoming only the second midfielder to reach 20 goals in Premier League history, they have the firepower to sweep West Ham aside.
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THIRD PLACEChelsea and Arsenal. Only it isn’t really a battle at all. Chelsea, who visit Cardiff on the final day, are three points ahead of Arsenal and have a goal difference of +43. Arsenal, who visit Norwich, have a goal difference of only +25, meaning they need a swing of 18 goals.
Eurosport’s view: Well, if Arsenal manage to stick 15 past Norwich and Chels… no. Not a chance. They will be in the Champions League play-off for the sixth time in eight seasons.
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Arsenal have the final Champions League slot secured as they are seven points ahead of Everton. Job done, and time to rest up against Norwich ahead of the FA Cup final.
Eurosport’s view: It’s as good as a trophy. Sort of.
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The team which finishes in fifth place in the Premier League will enter the Europa League at the play-off stage. That will be Everton. The Toffees, who visit Hull on the final day, are currently three points ahead of sixth-placed Tottenham, and Spurs need an impossible 19-goal swing as they aim to beat Aston Villa and for Everton to lose. There’s more chance of Tim Sherwood getting the job on a permanent basis.
As Manchester City won the League Cup, the team which finishes in sixth place in the table now enters the Europa League at the third qualifying round – that’s the round prior to the play-offs. And strangely enough, in a season when City have seemingly taken the title back from their cross-town rivals, their Wembley triumph has actually aided Manchester United, who start Sunday three points behind Spurs in seventh.
If Ryan Giggs can lead United to a win away at Southampton – and that is no foregone conclusion given Mauricio Pochettino’s well-drilled side have lost only five of their 18 home games this season – then they will take the second Europa League spot if Spurs lose to Aston Villa, as United’s goal difference is +21 compared to +1 for Tottenham.
Eurosport’s view: Do United even want to qualify for the Europa League? For a club of their stature it’s a borderline meaningless and overly arduous competition to be involved in. Look at how an absence of European football has aided Liverpool’s unexpected title challenge this season. Spurs will likely beat Villa in any case, but if they lose, United should probably consider settling for a draw at Southampton.
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Fulham and Cardiff’s defeats last weekend – coupled with Sunderland’s win against West Brom last night which completed one of the greatest great escapes - robbed us of some genuine final-day drama as Felix Magath and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sides have already been condemned to the Championship.
Norwich, in 18th, are almost certain to follow as they go into their home game against Arsenal three points behind West Brom, who host Stoke. Norwich need to beat the Gunners and for West Brom to be hammered by Stoke, with a swing of 17 goals taking place.
Eurosport’s view: It’s mathematically possible, just as it’s mathematically possible for the Monster Raving Loony Party to win a parliamentary majority at the next election.
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- Aston Villa
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