Everything Will Be Decided on Sunday in the English Premier League
It’s the always entertaining, heart-breaking, never-dull week 38, the final week, of the English Premiership season. This week decides four things – league champions, the four teams that will represent England in next year’s Champions League, the three teams that will be relegated down a division, and the one spot reserved for the Europa League. All games will be played Sunday, May 13, at 10:00 am EST.
The race to become league champions has been a two-horse race between Manchester City and Manchester United for many weeks. Both teams have 86 points, but Manchester City hold the tie-breaker with their 8 goal lead on differential. Therefore, Manchester City will be crowned if they claim victory at home against Queens Park Rangers, while Manchester United visit Sunderland to play for whatever hope they can muster. Basically, they need a City loss with a draw or victory of their own.
For the relegation stage, Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers are automatically being sent down, while the third spot has yet to be decided. One of either Queens Park Rangers or Bolton will leave the dance. QPR has a two-point lead on the table and a commanding lead in goal differential. With a win or draw, or a Bolton draw or loss, the Rangers would be safe and sleep soundly, while Bolton would be relegated. However, QPR play Manchester City in a must-win situation, while Bolton have a much easier task as they travel to Stoke City.
And then there is the battle for the Champions League spots, which is a bit messy to say the least. Currently, there are three teams chasing two spots – Arsenal, Tottenham, and Newcastle, with one point separating 3rd – 4th, and 4th – 5th.
Arsenal, who are in third position, have fate in their hand, and can seal their trip to CL 2013 with a win at West Brom. They can also advance if either Newcastle or Spurs fail to win. Tottenham can wrap-up a trip to the Champions League with a win or a Newcastle tie or draw, or Arsenal loss. Newcastle, however, need some help by way of an Arsenal or Tottenham loss, combined with a win of their own. Confused yet? Yeah, no kidding! Newcastle and Tottenham have stiffer competition in Everton and Fulham, though the Baggies are no pushovers at home vs. the Gunners.
Now, just so I can confuse you further, there is one more team that has a shot at Champions League action – Chelsea. Chelsea play in the 2012 Champions League final versus Bayern Munich thanks to an unbelievable dark horse win versus Barcelona. If they win, they will automatically secure the fourth CL spot for 2013 despite not being in good form at the club level. In the event Chelsea wins, only one of Arsenal, Tottenham or Newcastle would join them and the two teams from Manchester in representing the EPL. Whichever team manages a fifth place spot will grab the Europa spot.
There you have it. The season comes down to Sunday, and the greatest two hours of the season.
…and that is the last word.