The Premier League will end on Sunday, just 14 days short of a full calendar year after it started.
In one of the craziest seasons ever, the final day will have plenty of drama as three teams compete for the final two Champions League places, while three teams also compete to avoid the final two relegation places on what will be a hectic final day.
At the top of the table, it is well documented that Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester City are involved in a triangle in which all three sides can still make Europe’s elite competition for next season. Added drama in that one comes from the fact that United and Leicester play each other on the final day.
But down at the bottom of the table, it’s just as exciting. Bournemouth, Aston Villa and managerless Watford will all go into the final round of games knowing that a win could well save them.
Bournemouth’s situation is a bit tougher. Eddie Howe’s side need 3 points and then must hope that both Villa and Watford lose if they’re to stay up. They’ll travel to Goodison Park to take on an Everton side just going through the motions, since they can’t finish any higher than their current 11th place and can’t go lower than 12th.
Watford have a task on their hands too. After sacking manager Nigel Pearson with just two games to go, they took on Man City and were hammered 4-0 bringing their goal difference into the same world as the teams they’re battling with. They now must travel to London to take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, knowing they must better Aston Villa’s result on the day. Arsenal, much like Everton, don’t have much to play for knowing they can only finish between 8th and 10th depending on results elsewhere too.
Aston Villa are the side in the best position going into the final day. Their win over Arsenal midweek saw them rise out of the relegation zone for the first time since February. They’ll take on a West Ham side in good form, but also now completely safe from relegation. Depending on Brighton’s result, the Hammers’ league position won’t change other than swapping with the Seagulls.
The likelihood is that all three sides will lose their games and nothing changes. Villa are in the best form of the three sides but their game against West Ham won’t be easy. We all know the final day never passes without some kind of drama so I expect that at some point all three teams will likely find themselves out of the relegation zone but I do think with it being in Villa’s hands they of course have the advantage. Watford’s game with Arsenal is a tough ask to get anything from, but with the Gunners having an FA Cup final the following weekend and nothing to play for it’s possible that Mikel Arteta rests some of his big guns to ensure their availability.
I think Everton will prove too good for Bournemouth and likely win on the day, which would see the Terriers down in 19th place. That then leaves the other two to battle their way out and I think Villa nick it without even needing to win. Jack Grealish is likely to leave this summer and will want to leave a mark by helping his hometown side stay in the Premier League and I think they’ll be able to get a draw against an unmotivated West Ham. That would need that Watford must win at the Emirates, but they will just have too much quality for a Hornets side that will be anxious and panicky knowing they need a win.
A final day where most things are still up for grabs is rare so it will be memorable. But who for and why is the question.