Without doubt it has been a tumultuous season in the Premier League for lots of different reasons and while we saw Liverpool collect the trophy after their 5-3 victory over Chelsea at Anfield on Wednesday night, there are still plenty of issues still to be decided as we head towards the final game of the season, all of which take place on Sunday with a 4pm kick off time.
While Champions Liverpool and relegated Norwich City may not have anything tangible to play for, there is still plenty to be decided at both ends of the table. This includes who will finish in the remaining Champions League places, who will claim the Europa League places (both of which could be influenced by the outcome of both the FA Cup Final and the European competitions which restart in August) and of course, which teams will join Norwich City in being relegated to the Championship next season.
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With every team in the Premier League now having played 37 of their 38 games, we have a clear understanding of what issues will be decided at the weekend and they are outlined below.
Premier League Final Matchday
Let us first make clear what issues are already resolved in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s final games for the teams.
Premier League Champions – Liverpool
Qualified for the Champions League next season: Liverpool and Manchester City (Manchester City will also finish second in the Premier League)
Relegated from the Premier League – Norwich City
Will not qualify for a European Qualification Spot or be Relegated – Sheffield United, Burnley, Arsenal, Everton, Southampton, Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, Brighton, West Ham.
That means of the 20 teams in the division, eight still have plenty to play for on the final round of fixtures which we have outlined below.
Premier League Final Day Fixtures
All games kick off at 4pm on Sunday 26th July. The key games are highlighted in bold.
- Arsenal v Watford
- Burnley v Brighton
- Chelsea v Wolves
- Crystal Palace v Tottenham
- Everton v Bournemouth
- Leicester City v Manchester United
- Manchester City v Norwich City
- Newcastle United v Liverpool
- Southampton v Sheffield United
- West Ham v Aston Villa
Let’s now take a look at the key issues still to be resolved, the teams and matches involved plus how other competition performances, such as the outcome of the FA Cup Final and performances in the Champions League or Europa League (both of which restart in August) will potentially affect these outcomes.
Champions League Qualifiers
With Liverpool and Manchester City already confirmed as qualified for the tournament next season, it is a race between three teams for the final two places in this competition next season as Manchester United’s draw at home to West Ham means that Wolves can no longer claim a place in this competition from their finishing position.
Currently, Manchester United are third on goal difference ahead of Chelsea, both of whom have 63 points. Leicester are in fifth and outside the Champions League places at the moment and have 62 points, but a goal difference equal to that of Manchester united (+28) which is far superior to Chelsea’s (+13).
The key games affecting this battle is the Chelsea v Wolves clash and the Leicester v Manchester United clash at the King Power Stadium and outlined below is what each team needs to do to qualify for the Champions League next season.
- Chelsea need just a point or more to be sure of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
- If Chelsea lose and Manchester United and Leicester draw, then Chelsea would finish fifth in the table and miss out. If Chelsea lose and Manchester United win, Chelsea would qualify, but if Chelsea lose and Leicester win, Chelsea would miss out this way too,
- The winner of the Leicester v Man Utd clash will qualify for the Champions League.
- If Manchester United lose, they must hope Chelsea lose to qualify. If United earn a draw, they will qualify, In the event of a draw, Leicester would need Chelsea to lose in order to qualify.
- If Leicester lose, they will finish 5th and miss out on qualification regardless of the Chelsea result.
It is worth noting that Manchester United, Chelsea and Wolves could theoretically still qualify for the Champions League next season by winning either the Europa League (Man Utd & Wolves) or Champions League (Chelsea). In which case they would qualify for the tournament if they missed out in the Premier League.
Europa League Qualifiers
The team that finishes 5th in the Premier League may miss out on the Champions League but they will play in the Europa League with at least one additional position in the table (6th) guaranteed in the competition due to Manchester City winning the League Cup. So the three teams above competing for the Champions League qualification plus Wolves and Tottenham are also embroiled in the battle for Europa League qualification too.
In the battle for sixth, Wolves face a tricky trip to Chelsea while Tottenham face Crystal Palace away. A Wolves will win confirm them in 6th, but a draw or defeat coupled with a win for Tottenham will see Spurs finish sixth. If Wolves lose and Tottenham draw, both teams finish on 59 points but Tottenham’s goal difference will be better so they would claim the sixth-place spot and a Europa League place.
The final Europa League place will be decided by the outcome of the FA Cup Final. If Chelsea win the tournament, then the team finishing 7th in the Premier League will take that Europa League spot. However, if Arsenal win the cup, then they would take the final Europa League spot next season as they will finish outside the top seven for certain.
With Norwich already down it is a straight two teams from three to join them in the Championship next season. Aston Villa are just above safety thanks to a -26 goal difference to Watford’s -27 with both teams on 34 points. Bournemouth have 31 points, but also have a -27 goal difference too.
Watford face Arsenal away on the final day, while Bournemouth are away to Everton and Aston Villa also face a road trip to West Ham.
The possible permutations here are very complex as goal difference and even goals scored, as well as points, could play a key role in deciding who goes down.
- Bournemouth must win and hope that both Aston Villa and Watford lose if they are to stay up.
- Aston Villa must win by at least the same number of goals as Watford, or more, to ensure they will stay up.
- Watford must win and if Aston Villa also win, Watford must win by two more goals than Aston Villa in order to stay up due to Watford having scored fewer goals than Villa as if they finish level on points and goal difference, Watford would still be relegated.
- A draw would keep either Aston Villa or Watford up, but only if the other team loses.
- If all three teams lose, Bournemouth would go down and depending on the scorelines either Aston Villa or Watford would join them on goal difference or goals scored.
As you can see, it is a hugely complex final round of games and it should be a cracker to enjoy, so tune in from 4pm UK Time on Sunday to see how the action unfolds.