All scenarios explained ahead of final day of the premier league.
After 370 games, seven managerial sackings – including three at Watford – and countless VAR rows, a prolonged Premier League season is coming to an end with plenty still to be resolved tomorrow at both ends of the table with the Golden Boot still up for grabs.
Manchester United and Leicester face each other in a shootout for a place in the Champions League next season with Chelsea also hoping to secure their place in the top four.
Wolves and Tottenham are vying for one place in the Europa League.
And at the bottom, it could not be closer with one goal separating Aston Villa just outside the relegation zone from Watford in the bottom three, while Bournemouth also have a chance of beating the drop.
Only teams that finish inside the top four are guaranteed a place in the Champions League.
Leicester City fell out of the top four for the first time since September in midweek after a run of three wins in 13 games.
However, United’s and Chelsea’s failures to win on Wednesday means the door is still open for Brendan Rodgers’s men to salvage all the good work they did early in the season with victory on home soil on Sunday.
Manchester United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League tomorrow will cost the club £70million.
Chelsea face a similar fate as they risk losing £50m if they fail to finish in the top four this season.
How Leicester can qualify? 5TH (62points, +28goals)
Fixture: Manchester United (H)
For the Foxes to be assured of a place in the Champions League next season, they need to beat Manchester United at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
A defeat would end their chances but if they draw the game on Sunday, they will need Wolves to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to ensure qualification for the Champions League. To ensure a third-place finish, the Foxes would need to win and hope Chelsea fail to win their game.
Leicester’s task will be made harder by injuries to James Maddison, Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira, but have had a full week to prepare in stark contrast to United’s packed schedule.
United have overturned an eight-point deficit to Leicester since the restart, but Rodgers is hoping it is the Red Devils who fold under the pressure.
“We would love to be able to do that but when you are a club like Manchester United, or one of those super clubs, there is a need to be in the Champions League for many reasons,” said Rodgers.
How Manchester United can qualify? 3RD (63points, +28goals)
Fixture: Leicester City (A)
Manchester United need just a draw to ensure qualification for next season’s Champions League, while a win over Leicester in the final game will secure a third-place finish for the Red Devils.
A draw will mean United would need to hope Chelsea don’t win their game against Wolves to finish third.
A loss would mean Europa League football at Old Trafford next season unless Chelsea lose to Wolves, a result that will see United qualify despite coming losing at Leicester.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have looked jaded in the past week in losing 3-1 to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals and being held 1-1 at home by West Ham.
Even if United finish outside the top four, they can gain entry into next season’s Champions League by winning the Europa League this season. The Red Devils are favourites to reach the quarter-finals of the competition after winning the first leg against LASK by a score of 5-0.
How can Chelsea qualify? 4TH (63points, +13goals)
Fixture: Wolves (H)
Chelsea just need a point at home to Wolves to seal Champions League football next season, but should Frank Lampard’s men lose, then a draw between Leicester and United would see the latter two finish in the top four.
However, the Blues could still qualify for the Champions League if they lose and Manchester United beat Leicester at the King Power Stadium. However, a Leicester win and a Chelsea loss would spell the end of the London side’s Champions League hopes as United would then remain ahead on goal difference.
In order to finish third, Chelsea have to win and hope Manchester United don’t against Leicester. Any other result for the Blues would kill their chances of becoming the best of the rest after the top two.
EUROPA LEAGUE RACE
Only team that finishes in 6th position is guaranteed Europa League spot
Whoever misses out on the Champions League between United, Chelsea and Leicester will be guaranteed fifth and a place in the Europa League next season. Wolves and Tottenham will fight for the sixth place that will ensure participation in next season’s Europa League.
Wolves are looking to go one better than their fine first campaign back in the top-flight last season by finishing in the top six and have the potential to upset Chelsea’s push for the Champions League at Stamford Bridge.
How can Wolves qualify? 6TH (59points, +13goals)
Fixture: Chelsea (A)
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men must win to ensure qualification for the Europa League. Any slip up – a draw or a loss – would give Spurs the chance to move into sixth if they beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Tottenham would also qualify with a draw if Wolves lose to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. But a draw against the Blues would mean Spurs would need to beat Palace to sneak into the sixth place. If both Wolves and Spurs lose, Santo’s side would make the Europa League.
Wolves can make it to Europa League even if they finish seventh if Chelsea beat Arsenal in the FA Cup final on August 1 at Wembley.
How can Tottenham qualify? 7TH (58points, +14goals)
Fixture: Crystal Palace (A)
Jose Mourinho’s side have won their last three and will be confident ahead of a trip to Crystal Palace, who have lost their last seven games.
A seventh win could still be good enough for European football next season, if Wolves fail to win at Stamford Bridge. If Wolves lose, Mourinho’s side would need just a point to finish sixth. A defeat for Spurs would mean they finish seventh.
However, Spurs could still enter the Europa League if they finish seventh if Chelsea beat Arsenal in the FA Cup final and deny the Gunners a continental spot that will then go to the team in the seventh position in the league.
Having done the Blues a favour by beating Leicester in their previous game, Mourinho is now hoping that Chelsea return the favour either this week or next week.
Only team that finishes in 17th position will remain in the Premier League
At the bottom, two of Bournemouth, Watford and Villa will join already relegated Norwich in the Championship next season.
Villa have the upper hand with a three-point lead on Bournemouth and a marginally better goal difference than Watford, but it could get really messy down at the bottom with goal difference coming into the picture.
How can Aston Villa survive? 17TH (34points, -26goals)
Fixture: West Ham United (A)
Dean Smith’s men have momentum after a 1-0 win over Arsenal on Tuesday and travel to a West Ham side now sure of their place in the Premier League next season.
A win will guarantee safety for Villa if Watford fail to win at Arsenal. If Watford win at the Emirates, Villa would have to either match or better Watford’s winning margin against West Ham. Draw for both teams would see Villa remain in the Premier League next season.
“Results went our way in the week and we’re above the dotted line at the moment,” said Smith.
“The most important thing is to be above that dotted line on Sunday and we know we have to win to guarantee that.”
A defeat for Villa would leave them in danger of going down but they could be bailed out by results elsewhere if Bournemouth fail to beat Everton or Watford lose by a margin that’s not better than that Villa’s by two clear goals. A one-goal goal difference swing in favour of Watford would put the two teams’ level on goal difference but Villa would survive on virtue of more goals scored.
How Watford can survive? 18TH (34points, -27goals)
Fixture: Arsenal (A)
Watford’s sacking of Nigel Pearson with just two games of the season remaining did the Hornets little good in a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City on Wednesday and they travel to Arsenal needing to better Villa’s result.
The Hornets will survive if they better Villa’s result but in case both teams win or lose, Watford will have to make sure there is a two-goal swing in their favour as far as the goal difference is concerned to stay in the top flight.
How can Bournemouth survive? 19TH (31points, -27goals)
For Bournemouth the situation is clear. They must win to harbour any hopes of survival and hope both Villa and Watford lose their respective games. A point for either side would end Bournemouth’s Premier League stint even if they beat Everton at Goodison Park.
“The next game is the biggest game of all our careers,” said Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.
BATTLE FOR THE GOLDEN BOOT
Leicester City star Jamie Vardy is in pole position going into the final day of the season.
The 33-year-old has scored 23 goals as he attempts to fire them into the Champions League for the second time but a fixture with Manchester United will make it tough for him to add to his tally.
The ex-England man has got a two-goal cushion ahead of Southampton striker Danny Ings.
Saints’ strike sensation has hit 21 in a truly impressive campaign and with Sheffield United up next, he’s got every chance of catching Vardy.
Another goal king contender is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and as his Arsenal side take on relegation threatened Watford you can see the opportunity for a hat-trick.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is four goals off Vardy on 19 but, like Aubameyang, has a tasty clash to look forward to. The Reds may still be in their celebration mood but they have to face Newcastle on Sunday.
And even Raheem Sterling, also on 19, might fancy his chances against already relegated Norwich City to get his first Golden Boot award.
Fixtures on final day;
Kick-off at 15:00GMT
Arsenal vs Watford
Burnley v Brighton
Chelsea v Wolves
Crystal Palace v Tottenham
Everton v Bournemouth
Leicester v Manchester Utd
Manchester City v Norwich
Newcastle v Liverpool
Southampton v Sheffield Utd
West Ham v Aston Villa
By Kwabena Asante Marfo, KobbyKyeiSportsNews