The most popular football league in the world is finishing up its 26th season on Sunday, May 13. There is no huge talk about a photo finish as Manchester City has already been crowned champions convincingly. Two relegation spots are confirmed and it might take a huge miracle from Swansea to change their fate on the final day. As for places in the European competition, an indirect battle between Chelsea and Liverpool is the only talking point. Here’s a brief preview of the matches and their impact for the final game week of this incredible season of top-flight English football.
Liverpool vs Brighton: Liverpool has all but qualified for the Champions League football next season. Sitting currently at 4th position with a 2 point lead over Chelsea, Liverpool needs a positive result to ensure their safe passage. A win or a draw might do it but losing against Brighton might cost them dearly if Chelsea manages to win at Newcastle which isn’t impossible. Brighton, 14th, has no stakes to play for rather than ending the season on a great note. Liverpool on the other hand, will love to qualify here than resting on a season-making performance against the mighty Real Madrid in the UCL finals. Expect Klopp to field his full-strength lineup here.
Newcastle vs Chelsea: Chelsea’s task is a bit more complicated than Liverpool’s as their champions league fate does not entirely rest in their hands. Even if they pull off a victory at the St. James’ Park, they would have to hope for Liverpool to lose their match. Chelsea can attribute their present dilemma to their last result drawing 1-1 at home against Huddersfield. Newcastle under Rafa Benitez is a credible team and will do everything to make their last game a pleasing experience for the home fans.
Swansea vs Stoke: Another match with some huge stakes involved is the final survival fight of Swansea against Stoke. Swansea would have to win and hope for Southampton to lose against Man. City which are both possible. The hard part is overcoming the negative goal difference between them which is -9. In the all-important clash during midweek, Southampton prevailed at Swansea’s home and now the overturning of fortunes could be the biggest miracle of the season. Stoke – already relegated – would try not to be the bottom of the league though that depends on West Brom’s match also.
Southampton vs Man. City: Southampton did ride the relegation fight in their favour with the win against Swansea in their last match. However, they should be wary of the Man City attack because it can be a goalfest from the English Champions if left unattended. This combined with a Swansea win over Stoke by a big goal margin could land them at the wrong end of the miracle. Man. City has credibly won the league earlier itself in amazing fashion but they still want to win their last match for one standalone reason – 100 points! Man. City has a chance to become the first team in the Premier League to score 100 odd points in a single season. A perfect season already accomplished by ground-breaking records will reach a new dimension if this happens for the blue half of Manchester. Staying at 97 points, Guardiola’s men will leave no stones unturned in order to achieve this.
Other matches: There are 6 other matches for the concluding gameweek with less or zero stakes involved.
Burnley and Sean Dyche had the season of their lives ensured to finish seventh and thereby a Europa League spot for next season. They will try and continue to do the same for the last match against Bournemouth. Bournemouth, sitting at the 12th position will be happy to finish in the mid-table for the season.
Huddersfield vs Arsenal is only focused on one point and it’s a huge one – Arsene Wenger. Wenger is standing down after the season and will be playing his final match as an Arsenal manager. A commanding win for Mr Wenger would be the perfect farewell gift his home club can give him.
Manchester United and Tottenham are going up respectively against Watford and Leicester in home games. Both have qualified for the Champions league football & this will be chances for them to impress their vast fan audience one final time before the season ends. For Man Utd, an FA Cup final against Chelsea is on 21st and Mourinho might field an eleven keeping that in mind.
Crystal Palace vs West Brom and West Ham vs Everton are the two most uneventful matches of the final gameweek. West Brom is already relegated despite a last month fightback and Crystal Palace & West Ham are stuck in midtable hell. Everton’s biggest talking point is Wayne Rooney’s possibly final match in the EPL before leaving for the MLS. Positioned second in the all-time scoring chart of the league behind Alan Shearer, Rooney deserves a fantastic send-off and nothing less than a goal from him will settle that dream ending.
The stakes are not many but being Premier League, get ready for an awesome finale to this truly amazing season of league football.