Relegation and European Qualification Goes Down to the Wire.
It’s on for young and old in the final matches of the English Premier League.
Although the title has been decided, with Manchester United out of reach of the following pack. In theory Chelsea could still finish second. Man City have already guaranteed themselves European Champions League Football next season, as they can finish no lower than third.
The real battle is for the third and fourth places and the prize of Champions League Football that goes with that. It could go to any two of Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham.
Man Utd made it easier for Chelsea with a with a rare loss at home on Sunday, giving Chelsea all three points.
Chelsea host Tottenham tonight in a match which could decide who plays European Football next season. If Tottenham lose or draw then Arsenal only need to win their remaining two fixtures to finish above them.
If Tottenham manage to beat Chelsea then everything rides on the results of everyone’s last two games. But Tottenham need to win more points than Chelsea or Arsenal with their much poorer goal difference record.
At the bottom of the table things are even more complicated.
QPR and Reading already face relegation but the final team for the drop could theoretically be any one of the sides currently sitting from 12th to 18th.
Wigan are of course most likely to go down, currently sitting 18th after losing to Swansea yesterday. But North East giants Newcastle are far from safe, with only a three point cushion and they are on the same goal difference as Wigan.
Newcastle started the season really well but fell away. They have some excellent players, but not really enough of them to compete with the big boys. Of course losing Demba Ba to Chelsea in January cannot have helped matters.
After tonight’s vital match at Stamford Bridge the games to look out for at the weekend will be:-
Chelsea away to Aston Villa could prove slippery for the current European Champions
Tottenham away to Stoke, they are always a tough side to beat.
QPR v Newcastle, a must win for the Toon.
Arsenal host Wigan on Tuesday and Wigan have perennially escaped relegation in recent years.
The FA Cup Final has been neatly tucked away at 5:15PM on Saturday so as not to disturb the league action too much, at least that’s what I think the plan is.
By Max Power