The most exciting football seasons usually come down to the last day, don’t they? Arguably the most memorable ever moment in the history of the Premier League came with that goal from Sergio Agueroooo! in the dying seconds of the last game of the 2011/12 season to decide the title. And let’s not forget the various unlikely last day relegation escapes down the years – West Brom’s against-the-odds survival back in 2005 comes to mind.
This season, however? Well, it seems that not a huge amount will be determined with the final hour and a half of football. That’s not to say that it’s been a dull season, far from it. It’s just lacking that real fireworks finish. Manchester City had the title in the bag some time ago and we’ve already waved goodbye to two of the three that are heading down. That said, a few things are still to be ironed out. So this weekend’s action isn’t all for nothing, y’know.
Let’s explore all those final day permutations in full, shall we?
Before we get down to what can happen and how it can all go down, it’s worth getting to grips with what the final games look like. So here they are:
Burnley vs. AFC Bournemouth
Crystal Palace vs. West Bromwich Albion
Huddersfield Town vs. Arsenal
Liverpool vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Manchester United vs. Watford
Newcastle United vs. Chelsea
Southampton vs. Manchester City
Swansea City vs. Stoke City
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Leicester City
West Ham United vs. Everton
So we already know that City will finish top. Win and they’ll hit the hallowed 100 point mark. Whatever happens, Manchester United will finish in second place. Third place will be nabbed either by Spurs or Liverpool. Spurs sit pretty in third currently and have a two point advantage over the Reds. But if Klopp’s men can better the result of the North Londoners, they’ll get third. Either way, both should seal Champions League spots.
Chelsea look destined for a fifth place finish, barring a rather unlikely set of results that sees Liverpool lose at home to Brighton while Chelsea beat Newcastle. Liverpool need just a point to guarantee Champions League’s football next year. Of course, should Chelsea defy the odds, Liverpool could still qualify by beating Real Madrid in this year’s CL final…
The Europa League & Top 10
Arsenal and Burnley have already confirmed their places in next year’s Europa League, finishing sixth and seventh respectively. So well done, them. Or rather – well done Burnley. And Meh to Arsenal.
As for a top half finish, eighth and ninth will be Everton and Leicester City. While Newcastle United, Bournemouth, Watford, Crystal Palace and Brighton duke it out for tenth. We’d run through what needs to happen for each to grab tenth spot, but its complicated. And, let’s be honest, no one really cares all that much anyway, do they?
West Brom looked dead and buried under Alan Pardew. His spell as WBA boss will surely go down as one of the league’s most disastrous tenures ever, with his pig-headed mismanagement cost the club dearly this year. But under caretaker boss Darren Moore, the Midlanders were reinvigorated, picking up excellent results such as draws with United and Liverpool and wins against Newcastle and Spurs. But try as he might, Moore couldn’t pull off a true miracle and West Brom were relegated. On the same day the big man won Manager of the Month too.
Also sliding out of the division without so much as a whimper are the abject Stoke City. Despite a few big names and a change of management, the Potters averaged less than a point per game. Who will join them in The Championship, though…?
Well, it looks – in all probability – to be Swansea City. The Swans will have fancied a last day battle but Wednesday night changed all that. A 14/1 Huddersfield team put in a battling performance against a weirdly Hazard-less Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and picked up a surprise point (thanks in large part to a superhuman save at one point by Town’s inspired German ‘keeper, Jonas Lössl).
Swansea sit in 18th and are a full three points worse off that the team above them, Southampton. The good news for the Welsh club? They take on the already-relegated Stoke at home. And Mark Hughes’ men have to face the might of Man City. The bad news? The goal difference swing is pretty huge. Swansea need to see a ten goal swing. Effectively, only a result like a 5-0 drubbing of Stoke and City walloping the Saints with the same scoreline will do. So, Swansea are pretty much down.
To ensure there’s no underhandedness, all of the final ten fixtures have to be played at the exact same time. That time, like it normally is, being 3pm. Except it’s Sunday, not Saturday. To soak up all the final day atmosphere and really revel in the drama, why not get yourself down to your nearest Rileys? We will, of course, be showing all the action – live – on our big screens. So head on in!