The last day of the Barclay’s Premier League is finally here! Manchester United created history last Saturday, winning their 11th title since the institution of the Premier League. They also equalled Liverpool’s long standing record of winning 18 league titles!
But with the title all wrapped up, and the Europa League as well as Cup spots finalised, you’d think that there’s not much left in the league, eh? Well, if you do, then I’m sorry to say that you’re badly mistaken!
For some teams, winning is a far of dream…survival is a more immediate concern. Dubbed as ?Survival Sunday’, this Sunday promises a special treat for football fans with the relegation battle reaching its crescendo.
This week, we have a special treat for you! We’ll explore all the permutations and combinations possible at the bottom of the table, and see how the turn of events might bring smiles on the faces of some, and lead to heartbreak for others.
Here’s a look at the bottom 5 teams before their last league matches:
Sunderland?????????? – 36
Hull City?????????????? – 35
Newcastle United???? – 34
Middlesbrough??? ???? – 32
West Bromwich Albion – 31
As things stand right now, West Brom are already relegated. Practically speaking, so are Middlesbrough…but technically they still have an outside chance. So basically it’s a battle between three teams: Sunderland, Hull and Newcastle. Two survive, one goes down. It’s a real pity that none of them are playing each other…such a tie would’ve been off the hook! Anyway, here’s a lowdown on these teams’ fixtures, and possible results and consequences:
Sunderland vs Chelsea
If Sunderland win, they survive. Though, unfortunately for them, a victory is highly unlikely against a strong Chelsea side.
If they lose, then it’s all open. But both Hull and Newcastle will need victories to overhaul them (on account of goal difference and points). If either drops points, they’re through anyway.
If they get a draw against the mighty Blues, a very interesting situation arises. If Hull and Newcastle both win, Newcastle survive on account of a superior goal difference! That would be a highly unlikely, yet enticing outcome!
Hull City vs Manchester United
The result of such a match would’ve been beyond a doubt on another day, but not on this particular Sunday! Hull will give almost anything to survive in top flight English football. Also, Manchester United are likely to field a second string squad to protect their stars for the Champions league final against Barcelona.
A Hull victory wouldn’t be a very surprising outcome, in which case they’ll survive.
If they get a draw, and Newcastle don’t win, they still survive. But if Newcastle do win, then they’re out, even though they might be level on points with Sunderland (Goal Difference).
If they lose, the only way they stay is if Newcastle don’t get even a single point at Aston Villa.
Aston Villa vs Newcastle United
For Newcastle, the equation is pretty simple. Only a victory gives them a strong chance at survival (they’ll live if either Sunderland or Hull drop points).
They’ll be praying that Hull loose to Manchester United, in which case a draw will be sufficient for the Magpies.
A defeat sends them straight out…nothing can save them in that case.
West Ham United vs Middlesbrough
Most likely Middlesbrough are out. The only scenario in which they can survive is that both Newcastle and Hull loose, and they improve their goal difference by at least 5 in the 90 minutes they have. Seems like a very tall order.
So there you have it folks. Now you know exactly how things stand, and how good the chances of all four teams are. Pick your sides!!
Here’s how I see things:
Frankly speaking, you can’t really say anything on ?Survival Sunday’. Even the most unlikely of results are possible…But personally, I don’t see Hull beating Manchester United, and I don’t think a Newcastle victory at Aston Villa is improbable. The implication being that for me, Sunderland and Newcastle will survive the battle, while Hull go down along with Middlesbrough and West Brom.
Here’s a list of the remaining matches, which really don’t serve any purpose as everything has already been decided. So no predictions this time!
Arsenal vs Stoke City
Blackburn Rovers vs West Bromwich Albion
Fulham vs Everton
Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City vs Bolton Wanderers
Wigan vs Portsmouth
A few words of advice for dedicated fantasy league players. I’d say don’t bet on the matches of the relegation threatened teams… unless, of course, you have that daredevil hidden within you.
Liverpool’s Sami Hyypia is likely to give a strong farewell performance at Anfield, and the run of form Steven Gerrard has been in makes him a safe pick. Nicholas Anelka will look to move ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the golden boot, so he’s likely to put up a spirited performance as well (Ronaldo is unlikely to play, considering the upcoming Champions League final). Please note that Newcastle’s Michael Owen is doubtful due to injury, as are Luke and Ashley Young for Villa. Borough flanker Stewart Downing is also out.
The surprises are not over dear readers! As it is the last day of the league, all the matches will be held on Sunday, 24th May, at 4 PM. As we have already seen, the fates of all the clubs involved lie more in the hands of the other teams than in their own…so their fates will be more intertwined than you can imagine! Whatever the outcome, ?Survival Sunday’ will surely be a day to remember…for all the teams involved as well as the fans!
Your comments and views are welcome. Also, we welcome your ideas and suggestions…what would you like to read now that the Premier League enters the off season?? Enjoy your football, and Happy Fantasy!