What’s on the line on the Premier League’s final day in increasingly ludicrous order

Steven Chicken
Ange Postecoglou and Mauricio Pochettino
Could Mauricio Pochettino's Chelsea cost Tottenham a Europa League place on the final day?

Let’s be honest, there’s probably not a huge amount of drama left in the Premier League this Sunday. Chances are the table as it is now is going to be the table as it is come the final whistle, except for shuffling around meaninglessly in mid-table, and who cares about that?

But…there is still a lot of potential for drama and thus hilarity, if a handful of teams completely fall flat on their faces in spectacular fashion. And who doesn’t love a bit of slapstick?

The Premier League title race

The title will be guaranteed to go to Manchester City if they beat West Ham United, or if they draw while Arsenal fail to beat Everton.

An Arsenal victory coupled with City failing to win would earn the Gunners their first Premier League title since 2004. 

There is no situation in which City could win the title on goal difference: Arsenal hold a one-goal advantage going into the final day and would thus be guaranteed to hold the upper hand if they win and City draw.

There’s little in the way of #banter here, in truth. It’s very serious business all around. But it would be enjoyable to see Manchester United fans finally have to accept David Moyes into their hearts, wouldn’t it?

READ NEXTManchester United outside top five, Arsenal dominate ranking of ways to win title from worst to best

 

The race for European places

The Champions League qualification spots are already wrapped up: Liverpool will finish third, and Aston Villa will be fourth, regardless of what happens on the final day. Spoilsports.

Below that, it’s almost clear but not entirely, and sadly the stupidest outcomes are kind of mutually exclusive of one another.

Fifth place earns a guaranteed Europa League place, and it should probably belong to Tottenham, but if they lose to Sheffield United then frankly they deserve to cede that spot to Chelsea, who would then overtake them if they beat Bournemouth. That’s the only pair of results that would make it happen, and gets the coveted Football365 “yes that would be very funny” seal of approval.

On the other hand, if Chelsea lose at home to Bournemouth, it opens the door for Mauricio Pochettino’s side to be beaten into sixth place by Newcastle, who are three points behind but with a far superior goal difference. Eddie Howe’s side will be away to Brentford.

Chelsea could thus either get one over on their manager’s former club, or could have one pulled over them by Newcastle by losing to their manager’s former club. Is that very confusing sentence worth taking the time to parse? Absolutely not.

Manchester United can’t catch Chelsea unless they succeed in pulling off a 16-goal swing in goal difference, which is stupid and you’re stupid for even thinking about it. But if they go to Brighton and better Newcastle’s result on the final day, then Erik ten Hag’s side would finish seventh.

Why does any of that matter? Because if Manchester City beat their cross-city rivals in the FA Cup at Wembley on May 25, then the sixth-placed team would get a Europa League place and the team in seventh would enter the Conference League.

If United pull off an upset at Wembley, though, then sixth place would only be enough for the Conference League and seventh might as well be 17th as far as European qualification is concerned.

So: the stupidest possible scenario would be for Tottenham to slip behind Chelsea to finish sixth, then United beat City in the cup final to make sure Spurs only get a Conference League place despite having been no lower than fifth since the third game of the season. Chelsea would meanwhile be in the Europa League, despite having not been no higher than ninth until May. And then seventh gets nobody nothing, as well it shouldn’t.

MORE ON THE FINAL DAY FROM F365
👉 How Premier League teams qualify for Champions League and Europa competitions for 24/25
👉 Premier League prize money: How much should each team expect to be paid this season?

 

The relegation battle

Two of the three relegation spots have already been filled by Burnley and Sheffield United, while Luton Town are almost certain to join them.

The only way they could escape would be to overturn a 12-goal swing in goal difference with Nottingham Forest, which would be so much craic Phil Mitchell would immediately suffer a relapse.

Signing off with a 6-0 victory at home to Fulham while Forest lost by the same scoreline away to Vincent Kompany’s already-doomed Clarets would do the trick thanks to Luton holding the upper hand on goals scored.

That means Luton need to summon up a bit of the spirit of 2017/18, when they opened their League Two season with an 8-2 win over Yeovil Town and went on to beat Stevenage 7-1 and Cambridge United 7-0 later in the season. That remains the last time they scored at least six goals in a league game.

James Collins, Luke Berry and Danny Hylton all scored hat-tricks across those three games, so our recommendation would be to get Collins and Hylton back wearing 3D-printed masks disguising them as current players and give them one last chance to repeat the feat.

Forest lost 5-0 away to Fulham in December, with their last six-goal defeat coming away to Manchester City in August 2022, so they have actually done it in the Premier League before. Is there any chance Vincent Kompany could borrow some players from his former club and that same 3D printer? And if so why hasn’t he done it before, the idiot?

Ideal drama situation: Forest slump to a disastrous six-goal deficit within the hour, while Luton are held to just a five-goal lead until the final minute, at which point Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu’s winner earns him a place on the opening titles of Match of the Day for the next five years.

 

The Cross-Yorkshire Trying Not To Be The Third-Worst Premier League Team Ever Cup

Ludicrous more in how low the stakes really are here, rather than out of it being unlikely to happen, because chances are it will come to pass.

New League One entrants Huddersfield Town haven’t had a lot to hold onto this season, take it from me. But they can claw back some…well, not pride. Not bragging rights, either. Some…tiniest trivia ever? Yes, that.

That’s because Huddersfield finished on a wretched 16 points in 2018/19, a feat worsed (if ‘bettered’ can be a word so can ‘worsed’, shut up) only by Derby County 2007/08 (11 points) and Sunderland 2005/06 (15 points).

But if Sheffield United lose to Tottenham on Sunday, the Blades will officially be the third-worst Premier League side of all time, supplanting the Terriers in the list of shame on goal difference