Cheers, tears and beers – what’s a Premier League final day without all three? Without the drama of 10 months of football unfolding in 90 minutes? Without the great escapes and the AGUEROOOOOs? Game week 38 will decide just one key position; while we can already wave goodbye to Huddersfield, Fulham and Cardiff with Tottenham and Chelsea somehow (and almost unwillingly) securing their spots in next year’s Champions League, only the small matter of the Premier League title remains.
Manchester City and Liverpool have been neck-and-neck at the top of the table all season and now we’re approaching the conclusion of one of the most thrilling title races in years. City travel down south to face Brighton as they look to retain the trophy they won last year and Liverpool welcome Wolves to Anfield in their final bid for their first.
The situation (as it stands):
1st – Manchester City, 95 Points, Goal Difference +69
2nd – Liverpool, 94 Points, Goal Difference +65
The leaders need only to match Liverpool’s result while the latter will be relying on Brighton to snatch some unlikely points. The seagulls are now safe from relegation following Cardiff’s fatal defeat to Crystal Palace last week and have little to play for – much to Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp’s dismay. They face a Wolves side too with nothing to play for and a guaranteed 7th place finish, but neither opponent will be a walk-over with both eager to leave their own marks on the final outcome.
One set of results could yet prolong the conclusion, as improbable as it is. If City were to be battered 4-0 down by the sea and Liverpool and Wolves were to play out a 4-4 draw, then there we would have ourselves the first ever Premier League play-off. It would be contested at a neutral venue and in all quite a fitting photo-finish to the tightest of races.
When: Sunday 12th May 2019, 3pm
Traditionally, all games are played at the same time to remove any psychological advantages, although players will be updated of score-lines elsewhere if not by their managers, by the reaction and possible tension in the crowd as match-goers wire up their headsets to listen to live radio commentaries.
It’s fair to say whoever scores first would place an unbearable amount of pressure on the other. The tension was prominent last weekend as City scraped past Leicester with Vincent Kompany’s unstoppable effort grabbing them the points late on, with Liverpool’s midweek Champions League hero Divock Origi heading home to steal a 3-2 win against an impressive Newcastle side.
The last time the title was decided on the final day a similar situation arose in 2012. City took a one point lead once again, instead over Manchester United, as they looked to dethrone the Red Devils and closed in on their first ever Premier League triumph. They hosted a relegation-battling QPR and were infamously 2-1 down with moments to go before Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero turned it around and took the title from the hands of their rivals, who had beaten Sunderland 1-0.
So, as we’ve (almost) seen it all before, we know anything can happen. While it may not the most inclusive of final days, the drama is not to be missed. Come and see who will be crowned champions at your nearest Rileys.