In a Premier League season that seemed like everything was sewn up nice and early, the football Gods made sure there was still some kind of action to pay attention to on the final day.
Manchester City are champions, Manchester United are runners-up and Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United are going down to the Championship. Everything else however, including the final two top four places, Europa League places and Europa Conference League places are still up for grabs.
With the middle of the table so tight and congested, lets simplify all the possibilities of the final day of the season for you.
Champions League places
Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Leicester vs Tottenham
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
Three teams will battle it out for the final two spots to compete in Europe’s elite competition next season, with Chelsea, Leicester and Liverpool all still in the race.
As it stands, if all three teams were to win their games then Chelsea would finish in third place while Liverpool would pip the Foxes on goal difference, unless Leicester won by five goals more than what Jurgen Klopp’s Reds could muster up.
With the points difference so tight, if any of the teams were to slip up on the day and the other two were to win, then the team that messed up would miss out on Champions League football.
There is of course a wildcard option, that if Chelsea were to finish fifth in the league but then win the Champions League final against Manchester City on May 29th, they would then qualify for the competition as holders and England would have five representatives in next year’s tournament.
EUROPA LEAGUE & EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE PLACES
West Ham vs Southampton
Leicester vs Tottenham
Manchester City vs Everton
Arsenal vs Brighton
This is where it gets a bit complicated, so bear with us.
The Europa League places will go to the teams that finish in fifth and sixth place in the Premier League, since Leicester were successful in winning the FA Cup and are guaranteed to finish inside the top five.
That means one of West Ham, Everton or Tottenham will join one of Chelsea, Liverpool or Leicester in UEFA’s secondary competition. David Moyes’ Hammers are the favourites to finish in sixth place, with a three point head-start over their rivals before the games kick off. They’ve also got the most favourable fixture, with a home tie in front of their fans against a Southampton side with nothing to play for.
Should they fall to a defeat though, Everton and Spurs can match their points tally with a win. That means it would come down to goal difference, which would earn the north London side the position in the table. However if Spurs were unable to beat Leicester and Everton could get a win over the champions Man City, they would take the spot.
There is also a new competition for UEFA though, the Europa Conference League which the team who finishes in seventh place will qualify for. That allows Arsenal to sneak into the conversation for a European place on the final day with a win over Brighton at The Emirates Stadium.
Should the Gunners win and both Spurs and Everton fail to, Mikel Arteta’s side would leapfrog both teams in the table and claim European football for next year – extending their run to 26 consecutive years in UEFA competition.
It’s sure to be an exciting final day of the season after originally looking like it would be a bit of a dead rubber weekend in England. But now it matches up with the rest of Europe with plenty of happenings on to settle at the top end of the division.