Four Big Questions Heading Into the Final Premier League Matchweek
This has been an especially dramatic season
At its best, the final matchweek of the Premier League can be one of the most thrilling events in sports, with different games impacting the destinies of teams all over England. It’s not always like this — last season, Manchester City clinched a Premier League title with nearly two weeks remaining in the season. But this year, three massive questions remain unanswered with one game remaining.
Beginning on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. Eastern time, 10 games will take place simultaneously. Once all have concluded, we’ll have answers to the following questions:
Who’s winning the league?
This is the big one. A glance at the league table right now shows Manchester City hanging on to a one-point lead over Liverpool. If Manchester City wins at home over Aston Villa, they’ll win the league again — and, with Erling Haaland set to join the team next season, they’re likely to be favorites to do so again in the 2022-23 season.
Liverpool have also had an exceptional season, though, with wins in the domestic EFL and FA Cups and the UEFA Champions League title still to play for. If Liverpool can beat Wolves on Sunday and Man City loses or draws, they’ll have won a treble — and be on their way towards an unprecedented quadruple.
Who’s getting the last Champions League spot?
Three of the Premier League’s four spots in the Champions League next season are set, with Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea slated for the highest level of European competition. Heading into Sunday’s games, North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are vying for the last available spot.
Currently, Spurs have a two-point lead and a substantial edge in goal differential over Arsenal. If Spurs can win or draw at Norwich City, they’ll be in the Champions League next season. If they don’t and Arenal wins at home against Everton, the Champions League spot will be theirs, with Tottenham playing in the Europa League next season instead.
Given the long-running rivalry between the two clubs (and one for which, as a Spurs supporter, I am in no way objective), this one’s a nailbiter among nailbiters.
Who’s getting relegated?
Just as there is with the last Champions League spot, there’s one spot at the bottom of the table that remains up for grabs. Unfortunately, its occupant will have a much less rewarding fate next season. Norwich City and Watford have both sealed their fates already and will play in the second division next season. As of now, Burnley and Leeds United are both level on points going into the last matchweek, with Burnley’s superior goal differential keeping them above Leeds.
Still, if Leeds can emerge from their match against Brentford with more points than Burnley does from theirs against Newcastle, they’ll remain in the top division, with Burnley dropping down.
Both teams have had dramatic seasons, each culminating in the dismissal of a fan-favorite coach — in the case of Burnley, longtime coach Sean Dyche, and in the case of Leeds, the mercurial soccer genius Marcelo Bielsa, who was replaced by American Jesse Marsch. And both Leeds and Burnley just raised questions about the financial dealings of Everton — who are just above them in the table — with the Premier League. It’s currently unclear what (if any) impact this will have.
Who gets the Golden Boot?
Currently, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is leading the Premier League in goals with 22. Tottenham’s Son Heung-min is right behind him, however, with 21 goals scored for the season. In third and fourth, respectively, are Cristiano Ronaldo and Son’s teammate Harry Kane.
The race between Salah and Son to be the league’s top goal scorer has gotten increasingly competitive over the course of the season, with Son visibly upset in a recent game after being subbed off early. That Salah’s future at Liverpool remains somewhat unclear adds a bit more complexity to the matter.
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