THE END of season race to be crowned English Premier League Champions has been a fairly tame affair this year, once Spurs ran out of steam in pursuit of their West London rivals.
The real drama has occurred in the fight for a coveted, money spinning, Champions League spot and with one game left to play, there could be a final twist in the tale of the race for Europe.
Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal all face a possible play-off to determine qualification for next season’s Champions League.
The three clubs, occupying third to fifth place in the Premier League, are separated by three points going into Sunday’s final round of games.
But their goal difference and goals scored are similar enough to raise the realistic prospect of two teams finishing joint third or fourth with identical records – necessitating a one-off play-off match.
This is the how the teams stand going into Sunday, showing goals scored, goals against, goal difference, points accrued and final day opponents.
GS GA GD Points Final game
3rd Man City 75 39 +36 75 Watford (a)
4th Liverpool 75 42 +33 73 Middlesbrough (h)
5th Arsenal 74 43 +31 72 Everton (h)
Premier League rules state:
“If at the end of the season either the league champions or the clubs to be relegated or the question of qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because two or more clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored, the clubs concerned shall play off one or more deciding league matches on neutral grounds, the format, venue and timing of which shall be determined by the board.”
With so many permutations on scores, it’s impossible to predict whether the play off scenario will actually occur, but the very real prospect will keep the fans of all three teams on the edge of their seats on Sunday afternoon.