Premier League final: title, Europe, relegation at stake

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For the first time in Premier League history, the title, qualification for the Champions League and lower-tier European competitions, and a relegation spot will all be decided on the final day of the season.

Here’s a look at what’s at stake ahead of Sunday:

It’s simple: Manchester City will retain the title – their sixth in 11 years – by beating Aston Villa at home. City lead second-placed Liverpool by one point and need only match the result of Jurgen Klopp’s side, who are also at home to Wolverhampton. Villa are lower in the table (14th from eighth) but in better form than Wolves, who are winless in their last six games and were beaten 5-1 by City last week. Then there is the Steven Gerrard factor. Gerrard, the Villa manager, is a big fan of Liverpool and his childhood who never won the league title in his 17 years at Anfield. Could Gerrard – whose Villa squad include ex-Liverpool players Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings – be doing his former club a favour? The city has history on its side: no team at the top of the standings before the last round of the season has ever failed to clinch the title. If Liverpool win the league, it would complete the domestic treble and offer the chance of securing an unprecedented treble in the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFICATION

The fourth and final qualifying spot for next season’s Champions League will go to fierce north London rivals Tottenham or Arsenal. Tottenham are heavy favorites as they are fourth – two points ahead of Arsenal – and have one of the easiest fixtures possible, an away game at last-placed Norwich, who have already been relegated. Arsenal are at home against Everton, who has secured its prominent status Thursday with a match to spare. If Tottenham and Arsenal finish level on points, Tottenham are very likely to be fourth as they have a 15 higher goal difference than Arsenal. Tottenham were most recently in the Champions League in the 2019-20 season, while Arsenal have been out of the competition for the past five seasons.

OTHER EUROPEAN COMPETITIONS

Manchester United and West Ham are guaranteed to be in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League. Sunday will decide which competition each team will participate in. The Europa League is the bigger of the two – it comes with the extra prize of the winner qualifying for the lucrative Champions League – and sixth-placed United sit in the final qualifying spot ahead of an away game against Crystal Palace. West Ham are two points behind seventh place, earning a Conference League place and ending the season at Brighton.

Burnley and Leeds are level on points in their bid to avoid joining already-relegated Norwich and Watford to return to the Championship. Crucially, Burnley have a 20-plus goal difference over Leeds, so realistically know a home win against Newcastle will ensure survival, which seemed unlikely before long-serving manager Sean Dyche was sacked. last month and replaced by Under-23 coach Mike Jackson. . Leeds, who fell into the relegation zone after Burnley’s draw at Aston Villa on Thursday, also changed managers this season by bringing in Jesse Marsch for Marcelo Bielsa. The USA coach takes Leeds to Brentford on the final day. Brentford have won five of their last seven games and are aiming for a top 10. Leeds are in their second season in the Premier League, having not been in the top flight since 2004. Burnley were last in the Second Division in 2015-16 .

Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah leads with 22 goals but is unsure of playing against Wolverhampton after suffering a muscle injury in the FA Cup final last weekend. Klopp has said he won’t take any risks on Salah’s fitness with the Champions League final yet to come. Tottenham striker Son Heung-min appears to be the only player who can realistically overhaul Salah and heads into the game against Norwich one goal behind. Salah won the Golden Boot award in the 2017-18 season and finished first in the charts the following season. Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo is on 18 goals for the season, four behind Salah, then comes Tottenham striker Harry Kane on 16.

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