Three teams are playing to avoid two relegation spots in what promises to be a nerve-wracking end to the Premier League season on Sunday.
Manchester City sealed the title last weekend, while Newcastle United’s draw at home to Leicester City last Monday, and Manchester United’s 4-0 thumping of Chelsea on Thursday night confirmed their places in next season’s Champions League, while Brighton also ensured they will finish sixth.
A home win for Aston Villa against Brighton on Sunday would see Unai Emery’s men cap a magnificent second half to the season by confirming their place in the UEFA Conference League, but apart from that, the drama is centered around the relegation zone.
The way things stand, if Everton win their home game against Bournemouth, then Leeds United and Leicester City will be relegated to the Championship.
However, it is not that easy, given that Everton have not won at home since March 11 and have already lost twice to Bournemouth this season. Coach Sean Dyche will be without striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and is unlikely to have any full-backs available against a team that won’t have forgotten that it was defeat to Everton that saw them relegated two years ago.
If Everton fail to win, then Leicester City will have a chance of survival if they beat West Ham United.
West Ham travel to Leicester with other things on their mind as they prepare for next week’s Conference League final, and the chance of European glory will probably mean David Moyes fields a much-changed side at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester drew 0-0 with a five-man defense at Newcastle on Monday, but the need for a win means Dean Smith is likely to recall Harvey Barnes and James Maddison to his starting 11.
Leeds United need to beat Tottenham – who still have a chance of finishing seventh – at home and hope that Leicester and Everton lose. Leeds could still stay up if Everton draw with Bournemouth, but their inferior goal difference means they would need to win by three goals, which seems unlikely without injured strikers Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo Moreno.
The only other game that could have relevance is Brentford’s home tie against Manchester City, as a win could see Brentford leapfrog Tottenham and Aston Villa into seventh and earn them an unlikely place in Europe.
Elsewhere, Manchester United prepare for the FA Cup final at home to Fulham, while Arsenal can expect a good send-off after their excellent season when they entertain Wolves.
Chelsea’s disastrous campaign ends at Stamford Bridge at home to Newcastle, and perhaps Chelsea owner Todd Boehly can take note from Newcastle, whose fans will be in party mode, on how to invest wisely in new signings.
Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest have nothing to play for, while Southampton say goodbye to the Premier League after 11 years with a home game against Liverpool. ■