View from the terraces

Premier League goes to the wire: the ‘most exciting’ final day ever?

A look at the title, top four and relegation permutations ahead of Sunday’s fixtures 

Thirty-seven games played, one remaining. The 2021-2022 Premier League season is going to the wire with the title, European qualification and relegation to be decided on the final day. 

At the top of the league defending champions Manchester City go into the last round of matches one point ahead of Liverpool. Chelsea are guaranteed a top four place and Tottenham and Arsenal can still qualify for the Uefa Champions League. There’s also the Europa League and Europa Conference League spots to be decided.

At the bottom of the table Norwich City and Watford are already relegated and they will be joined in the drop zone by either Leeds United or Burnley. 

It’s all set up to be one of the “most exciting ever final days”, said Sam Street in The Sun. Expect an afternoon “full of twists and turns”.

Final day fixtures 

The final day of the Premier League season is on Sunday 22 May. All matches will kick off at 4pm (BST). 

  • Arsenal vs. Everton 
  • Brentford vs. Leeds United 
  • Brighton & Hove Albion vs. West Ham United 
  • Burnley vs. Newcastle United 
  • Chelsea vs. Watford 
  • Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United 
  • Leicester City vs. Southampton 
  • Liverpool vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (Sky Sports Premier League)
  • Manchester City vs. Aston Villa (Sky Sports Main Event)
  • Norwich City vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Man City and Liverpool played out a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium on 10 April

Just one point separates the title contenders

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Title race

There’s “nothing better” than a title race that goes down to the wire, said Joe Sargent on PlanetFootball. And this year is the ninth time that the championship will be decided on the final day. Man City (90 points) are in the driving seat and will retain their crown with a victory over Aston Villa at the Etihad. If Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool (89 points) are to finish top then they must win against Wolves at Anfield and “hope Steven Gerrard’s Villa can stop Pep Guardiola’s winning machine from grabbing victory”. It’s set to be a “fascinating day” and it “should be cherished, as it doesn’t happen every year”.

With City “in the box-seat” the “genuine” Premier League trophy will be at the Etihad on Sunday, said Sam Wallace in The Daily Telegraph. However, there will be an “identical presentation team and replica” at Anfield in case Klopp’s side come from behind to win.

After more than 20 years, BBC football pundit Mark Lawrenson has made his last set of Premier League predictions. He has backed City to be champions with a 3-0 win against Villa. We know “how good this City team is”, he said, and “I fully expect them to go on and clinch the title”.

Top of the Premier League table

premierleague.com

European qualification 

Chelsea have all but secured third place after a 1-1 draw with Leicester City on Thursday. With one game to go, against already-relegated Watford at Stamford Bridge, the Blues (71 points) are three clear of Tottenham (68 points) and have a superior goal difference of +18. 

The final Champions League spot is between the rival clubs from north London. Because of their superior goal difference, Tottenham will secure a spot in the Champions League with a draw at Norwich. However, if Spurs were to lose at Carrow Road, Arsenal (66 points) would qualify with victory over Everton at the Emirates. 

Spurs and Arsenal are vying for the final Champions League spot, but one of them will finish fifth and qualify for the Uefa Europa League. It’s between Manchester United (58 points) and West Ham (56 points) for qualification to the Europa League and Europa Conference League. If West Ham don’t beat Brighton & Hove Albion, then Man Utd will be assured of finishing sixth. 

Bottom of the Premier League table

premierleague.com

Relegation 

It was a “dramatic night down the bottom” on Thursday, said Adam Bate on Sky Sports. Everton secured Premier League safety with a 3-2 victory against Crystal Palace while Burnley moved out of the drop zone after a 1-1 draw at Villa. Going into the final day it will be between Leeds and Burnley to join Norwich and Watford in the Championship next season. 

Both clubs have 35 points after 37 games, but because of their far superior goal difference, Burnley know they will survive if they match Leeds’s result on Sunday, said Jake Osgathorpe on Sporting Life. Leeds travel to Brentford while Burnley host Newcastle United. 

The bookmakers’s odds are “ominous” for Leeds, said Charlie Bennett on LeedsLive. Bet365 make the Whites 2/5 to be playing Championship football next season. Burnley are favourites to stay up at 6/4.

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