Three seasons ago, a similar scenario with the same teams presented itself on the last day to determine the winners of the world’s most followed club competition – the English Premier League. As it was on Sunday 12th May 2019, so it is today, Sunday 22nd May 2022.
Manchester City, who didn’t win the title until Roberto Mancini replaced Mark Hughes in December 2009 and then delivered the coveted trophy in the 2012/13 season, have been on top of the table for weeks. But they are just one point above familiar foes, Liverpool going into the final matches this evening, in which City will be home to Aston Villa and Liverpool welcome Wolves to Anfield.
For their opponents, there’s no battle to fight; both are safe from the drop and there’s no continental qualification to pursue. The games are for to two front runners to win or bust.
On the last day of the 2018/19 season, a gulf has been established between the title contenders and the rest of the sides chasing top four. This time, Liverpool, in second place, have pushed Nos 3 and 4 – Chelsea and Tottenham – 18 and 21 points behind respectively.
Despite having twice won the UEFA Champions League in its present name, and also in the final of this season’s edition, Liverpool have only laid their hands on the English Premier League once – two years ago.
England will present four teams in the Champions League next season. Even if Liverpool overcome Real Madrid in Saturday’s final at Saint-Denis, there’ll be no extra spot for EPL. Three of the Champions League teams are already known. In the most unlikely scenario, Chelsea will finish in fourth place. Currently at No 3, Chelsea have three points and 18-goal advantage over Spurs.
Both sides will face teams already relegated sides – Chelsea at Stamford Bridge against Watford, and Spurs at Carrow Road to take on Norwich.
Spurs themselves have to worry about their eternal rivals in North London, Arsenal. Positioned to end the season in fourth place or even go further up, and end their Champions League absence since 2017, the Gunners imploded in recent weeks. Losing to Newcastle on Monday appeared to have ended it all for Mikel Arteta’s squad.
There are however only two points separating Arsenal at fifth with Tottenham. Attention will the focused on the matches at the Emirates Stadium (Arsenal v Everton) and that at Carrow Road.
Everton may be a bit relaxed having fought gamely to rescue their season on Thursday, cancelling a two-goal deficit and beating Crystal Palace to ensure safety. Fatigue may also play the Toffees at a disadvantage. But Spurs only need to win to make any calculations of Arsenal’s Champions League revival a hopeless hope.
Manchester United have a season to forget. The most successful team in the EPL with 13 titles, the Red Devil end the season in sixth and must win away to Crystal Palace to be registered for the UEFA Europa League.
West Ham are knocking on the door of that second-tier European club competition. If the Hammers beat Brighton at East Sussex, and United fail to overcome Palace, it will be West Ham in the Europa League next season, while United will drop to the Conference League.
Either Burnley or Leeds will not feature in the topflight next season. Both sides are on the same points (35) but Burnley have superior goal difference. Burnley host Newcastle, while Leeds travel to Middlesex to chase points against Brendford.
All 10 games kickoff at 4 pm.
The matches: Manchester City v Aston Villa, Liverpool v Wolves, Chelsea v Watford, Norwich City v Tottenham, Arsenal v Everton, Crystal Palace v Manchester United, Brighton v West Ham, Burnley v Newcastle, Brentford v Leeds United, Leicester City v Southampton