It has been an unbelievable season in the Premier League with twists and turns seemingly every week. So it is not a surprise that as we enter the final weekend of games, that the title, Champions League places and the relegation battle are all up for grabs.
The two Manchester clubs are level on points but City’s goal difference is eight superior to United’s, so effectively Sir Alex Ferguson’s side must better City’s result. Put simply, if City win at the Etihad, they win the title which is what I expect them to do.
Champions League Battle
Technically two places in next years Champions League competition are up for grabs, although that could become one, if Chelsea beat Bayern Munich to win the Champions League next weekend.
Leaving that aside for the moment, there are three team vying for the two Champions League places:
- Arsenal 67 points
- Tottenham 66 points
- Newcastle 65 points
Arsenal, who travel to West Brom control their own destiny. Win at the Hawthorns and they will clinch third place and the final automatic qualification spot for the Champions League.
However, if Arsenal draw against the Baggies, they will be overtaken and pushed into fourth place if Tottenham beat Fulham, meaning the Gunners would have to enter the qualifying round for the Champions League and Spurs would go straight through.
If Arsenal lose at West Brom, then they can be overtaken by both Spurs, who will only need a draw if Arsenal lose by two or more goals, and Alan Pardew’s Newcastle, who would need to beat Everton.
A win at home to Fulham guarantees Tottenham at least fourth place, while a draw would also be enough if Newcastle fail to win at Everton.
For Newcastle to make the Champions League they must beat Everton and hope that either Arsenal lose or Tottenham fail to win at home to Fulham. If all three of those outcomes occur, then Newcastle will finish in third place.
Pretty confusing, but basically if Arsenal win at West Brom, and Spurs beat Fulham at home, games that both sides should win, then they will be playing in the Champions League next season. And that is what I expect to happen.
Europa League Battle
The team that finishes fifth will go into the Europa League. So whoever out of Arsenal, Spurs or Newcastle does not qualify for the Champions League final will play in the Europa League next season.
One team out of Aston Villa, QPR or Bolton will be joining Wolves and Blackburn Rovers in the Championship next season.
- Aston Villa 38 points
- QPR 37 points
- Bolton 35 points
However given their goal difference is currently 17 superior to Bolton’s, it would take a miracle for Aston Villa to be relegated, so we can effectively discount them immediately. so that essentially leaves the relegation battle between Bolton and QPR.
As mentioned earlier, QPR travel to the Ethiad to face a Manchester City who need a win in order to win the title. I cannot see City blowing the title at home on the final day which means a loss for QPR.
That leaves Bolton away to Stoke City. Bolton must win against Stoke City if they are to stay up. Can Bolton, who have really disappointed all season, go the Britannia Stadium, which is a difficult place to win in the best of times and win? I don’t think so, and I expect QPR to stay up despite losing at City on Sunday.