Liverpool’s win over Burnley and Tottenham’s defeat to Aston Villa has set up a dramatic final day finish in the Premier League with all European places still up for grabs.
Just one point separates Chelsea in third place and Leicester City in fifth as another three-way battle for the final two Champions League places is set to go down to the wire.
The Europa League and the Europa Conference League spots are also yet to be confirmed with even ninth-placed Arsenal in with a chance of acquiring European football this season.
Manchester City were confirmed champions over a week ago and the relegation places are also settled but the drama for the European spots is set to be the main attraction for final weekend of games.
Here’s how the table stands ahead of matchweek 38.
Premier League table
|1||Manchester City (C)||37||83||78||32||+46|
|19||West Brom (R)||37||26||34||73||-39|
|20||Sheffield United (R)||37||20||19||63||-44|
Matchweek 38 Fixtures
Arsenal vs Brighton
Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Fulham vs Newcastle
Leeds vs West Brom
Leicester vs Tottenham
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
Manchester City vs Everton
Sheffield United vs Burnley
West Ham vs Southampton
Wolves vs Manchester United
Who needs what in race for European spots?
Seven teams will battle it out for five European spots across three competitions. Chelsea, Liverpool and Leicester are in contention for a place in next season’s Champions League. Each of these three teams will make it to Europa League in case they fail to land the Champions League spot.
With one Europa League place certain to go to one of Chelsea, Liverpool or Leicester, West Ham are leading the race for the second one with Tottenham also in the race.
The Europa Conference League spot that Spurs hold currently could go to either Everton or Arsenal.
Here’s a club-by-club scenario ahead of the final weekend.
Chelsea (P:37, Pts:67, GD: +23)
MW38 fixture: Aston Villa (A)
Thomas Tuchel’s team are in the driving seat as far as Champions League qualification is concerned and a win over Villa on Sunday will guarantee a place in next season’s competition. A draw or defeat however could leave them vulnerable as both Leicester City and Liverpool can then leapfrog them in the table with a win.
However, if Leicester City fail to win against Tottenham on the final day, Chelsea will qualify for the Champions League with a defeat by a two-goal margin or less at Villa Park.
The Blues can also make it to next season’s Champions League by winning this season’s competition. They face Manchester City in the final at Porto on May 29.
Liverpool (P:37, Pts:66, GD: +24)
MW38 fixture: Crystal Palace (H)
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds pretty much have their fate in their own hands heading into the final weekend. A win over Crystal Palace will guarantee Champions League football at Anfield next season unless Leicester City win their game by a big enough margin to overturn a four-goal difference in the GD of the two teams, a situation quite unlikely given the Foxes face Spurs.
But if Liverpool fail to win, Leicester City can leapfrog them into the top four with a better result. The Reds will also qualify irrespective of their result on the final day if Leicester lose to Tottenham and their goal difference remains higher than the Foxes.
Leicester City (P:37, Pts:66, GD: +20)
MW38 fixture: Tottenham (H)
The Foxes will have to depend on results elsewhere to qualify for next season’s Champions League unless they are able to beat Tottenham by a big enough margin to close the goal-difference gap on Liverpool.
A draw might also be enough to secure Champions League qualification if Liverpool lose at Anfield against Palace. But a defeat will mean Leicester play in the Europa League next season.
The Foxes can also catch Chelsea but they will need to win their game for that to happen and hope the Blues drop points against Aston Villa.
West Ham (P:37, Pts:62, GD: +12)
MW38 fixture: Southampton (H)
The Hammers cannot qualify for next season’s Champions League but are in pole position to qualify for the Europa League. A point at home to Southampton will be enough to secure that. David Moyes’ men will even qualify for Europe’s second-tier competition if Tottenham fail to beat Leicester on Sunday.
A Spurs win and a defeat for the Hammers will send them to the Europa Conference League.
Tottenham Hotspur (P:37, Pts:59, GD: +21)
MW38 fixture: Southampton (H)
Spurs are up against it to secure a Europa League place next season and they need West Ham to lose to have any chance of making it back in Europe’s second-tier club competition. They will also need to beat Leicester City in their own backyard to catch West Ham.
Their place in the Europa Conference League too is far from secured. Even a draw at Leicester would mean Everton or Arsenal could catch them with wins in their respective games.
If they lose, Everton would qualify with a draw at Manchester City but Arsenal would still need to win their game as Tottenham have a superior goal difference.
Everton (P:37, Pts:59, GD: +4)
MW38 fixture: Manchester City (A)
Everton have no chance of qualifying for the Europa League next season thanks to their poor goal difference. They can however qualify for the Conference League if they beat Manchester City at the Etihad and Tottenham fail to win at Leicester.
A draw could also be enough for the Toffees if Spurs lose at Leicester and Arsenal fail to beat Brighton. A defeat would mean Carlo Ancelotti’s men would have to do without European football next season. Everton would miss out on the Conference League despite winning at Manchester City if Spurs beat Leicester at the King Power stadium.
Arsenal (P:37, Pts:58, GD: +14)
MW38 fixture: Brighton (H)
The Gunners can still qualify for the Europa Conference League if they beat Brighton at home on Sunday and Tottenham and Everton both fail to win their respective matches. The scenario isn’t very unlikely considering Spurs and the Toffees both face tough away trips.
However, failure to win at home to Brighton would mean they will miss out on European football for the first time in 26 years.
Leeds United can still go level on points with Tottenham but their poor goal difference means it will be impossible for them to finish in the European places despite an impressive first season back in the top flight for Marcelo Bielsa’s men.
With so many scenarios possible in the race for the Champions League, Europa League and the Europa Conference League places, drama is guaranteed on the final day. The implications of missing out on these places may not be felt so much in the stands but it would be quite severe in the board room as the people running the football clubs strive hard to balance the financial books.
Respond to this article with a post
Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.