Premier League: All still to play for, but will anything change?

John Roycroft looks at the issues still to be resolved on the final day of the Premier Season, not least, who wins the champion's crown? 
Premier League: All still to play for, but will anything change?

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson celebrates victory with  Konstantinos Tsimikas as manager Jurgen Klopp looks on, after the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire

THAT we go into the final day of the Premier League season with just one point separating Manchester City and Liverpool is amazing, yet somehow feels utterly predictable, as we have become accustomed to watching these two wonderful sides barely blink, not to mind make a mistake over the previous 37 games.

Tomorrow afternoon, we have the privilege of witnessing a league going all the way to the end with questions hanging over who gets relegated, who takes the last Champions League place and, best of all, who wins the title?

With the one home game each remaining for the top two, the title destination lies in the hands of the defending champions and all Pep Guardiola's men have to do is beat Aston Villa at Eastlands to retain their title once again.

This may seem like a narrow margin and it is, but if you had offered Guardiola, at the start of the season, the scenario that his side needed to win the final game of the season to ensure the title stays at City, well, I'm sure the Catalan would have taken your arm along with the opportunity.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola applauds the fans at the end of the Premier League match at London Stadium against West Ham. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola applauds the fans at the end of the Premier League match at London Stadium against West Ham. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

For Liverpool, that they can do nothing more than do their best for a win against Wolves and hope for a favour from Villa rings rather familiar with recent seasons. It is astounding that Liverpool may run out on another 90+ point season without claiming the ultimate crown. Which speaks volumes of City's quality.

This Liverpool side has been relentless, refusing to give up when they were 12 points behind City at Christmas and refusing again to give up the ghost when a goal down against Southampton on Tuesday. This, despite fielding a second-string side, and it being perfectly acceptable for them to throw in the towel after the exertions of the FA Cup final the previous Saturday.

As fans, we hope for and often read magical things into the mundane, like Riyad Mahrez's penalty miss against West Ham keeping the title run alive and allowing the opportunity for Stevie G to ride to the rescue of his former beloved club.

But realistically, Liverpool fans cannot read any more into fate than the boring and statistically more likely scenario of a comfortable City win against Villa.

Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game against Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire.
Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game against Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire.

North London tiff

The race for the last Champions League place in fourth has been made so tense simply by it becoming a dice between North London's big rivals of Spurs and Arsenal. Ahead of last Thursday week's derby between the sides, it looked like the Gunners had all the momentum, carrying a four-point, and game in hand advantage into the game. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta seemed to be the visionary leader set to bring the famous gun club back to the hallowed land of top European competition. The subsequent humiliating 3-0 victory by the Cockerels seemed to hit the Arsenal right in the ammunition store and the subsequent implosion in confidence saw them then go down to a humiliating 2-0 defeat to Newcastle at James' Park on Monday night. The derby result turned it around for Antonio Conte's Tottenham, who now lead Arsenal by two points ahead of the final games tomorrow.

Both are facing bottom-of-the-table teams. Arsenal's task was made immediately a lot easier when the side they host on Sunday, Everton, made a thrilling and inspired comeback from the dead on Thursday night against Crystal Palace to save their Premier League status at a frenzied Goodison Park. That result, will probably favourably impact Everton's approach to tomorrow's game against the Gunners.

Meanwhile, Tottenham play at already relegated Norwich. The Canaries' only motivation may be to leave the Premier League with a big scalp, but they are probably already planning their next season in the Championship.

Simply put, Arsenal’s hope of Champions League qualification is by winning and hoping Tottenham lose. And Spurs, with a +15 edge in goal difference, won’t realistically be overtaken in the event of a points tie.

Leeds United's Jack Harrison reacts after the Premier League draw against Brighton at Elland Road. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.
Leeds United's Jack Harrison reacts after the Premier League draw against Brighton at Elland Road. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

The drop

Returning to the topic of fighting for your life.

Watford and Norwich City have already been relegated to be replaced by Fulham and Bournemouth when we return for the winter, World Cup adjusted, Premier League 2022-23 season on August 6.

The final relegation place is between Leeds and Burnley and it comes as a surprise that these two would be in this position when you look at their recent seasons' form.

Both sides are on 35 points, but Burnley have a far superior goal difference and the advantage of a final home game against Newcastle to save their bacon. Meanwhile, Leeds face, the surprise outfit of the season, Brentford in London. Both their opponents are sides eager to show they are a coming side for the future. But I think Leeds' task is the harder one away soI give Burnley the nod. A result that would be devastating against a huge club like Leeds who only returned to the top flight a couple of seasons ago.

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