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Premier League Final Day Promises Blockbuster Conclusion

The Premier League title, Europa League football, Conference League football and (just about) relegation are all still to play for with just a single round of Premier League fixtures left in the 2023/2024 season.


Tottenham's defeat to Manchester City on Tuesday night settled the issue of Champions League football, with Aston Villa qualifying for the first time since they were defending European champions in 1982.


But just about everything else is still to play for in England's top flight.


Manchester City and Arsenal will take their season-long tussle for the title right down to the last round of fixtures, Tottenham will look to hold off a rejuvenated Chelsea for Europa League football and both Newcastle and Manchester United will join the London rivals in battling it out for the final European place.


We start however at the bottom.




Relegation


For two of the three clubs promoted to the Premier League last season, the dream is already over, at least for now. Whilst Burnley put up a good fight through April and May, their poor early-season form means they join Sheffield United in the Championship next season.


It looks as though play-off winners Luton Town will be joining them too, but the Hatters do technically have a chance of leap-frogging Nottingham Forest if they can summon a small miracle. Well actually quite a large miracle.


Rob Edwards' side are three points behind Nuno's, with 12 goals between them as well. This means that Luton would have to thrash Fulham, while Forest would have to be pummelled themselves by relegated Burnley.


Obviously this would be quite the story, but huge goal swings on the final day of a season aren't unheard of, especially not if you delve into the EFL.



On the final day of the 2021/2022 League Two season, Bristol Rovers needed a seven goal swing to earn automatic promotion, and behind a five goal second half, the Pirates did just that.


So Luton have a glimmer of hope, but they will almost certainly be returning to the Championship next season after a wonderful journey in the Premier League, which included a draw with Liverpool and a victory over Champions League Newcastle.


The Title


By far the simplest equation on the final day is that of the title. For just the 10th time in the Premier League's 33 seasons, two sides are still in contention to win the league heading into the final day.


Arsenal's progress just two years after being a Europa League team is quite remarkable, especially with the difference in their defensive quality this season, but history favours Manchester City this weekend in just about every conceivable way.



City haven't lost a league game to West Ham, who they host on the final day, since the Hammers beat them 2 - 1 at the Etihad in September 2015. The only other West Ham win in this fixture since then was on penalties in the 2021/2022 Carabao Cup.


On top of that, City haven't lost a home game since Brentford beat them 2 - 1 in 2022 in the last game before the World Cup in Qatar.


That being said, Arsenal have won their last 12 final day Premier League games, two of which have come at home to Everton.


The Gunners have had a season to be proud of and will take their winning mentality from Old Trafford to their final game, hoping with everything they have that Manchester City slip up; a draw for City is enough for Arsenal to win the title but the Gunners cannot win the Premier League unless they beat Everton.



Europe


This is the complicated bit.


Aston Villa have already secured their spot in the Champions League alongside Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, but it remains to be seen which Premier League sides will take part in the Thursday night competitions.


In fact, we don't even know which places will carry spots in which competition. Manchester United's participation in the FA Cup Final alongside their precarious position in the Premier League table means the Red Devils could finish outside the European spots in the league but qualify for the Europa League through the domestic cup.


But their win over Newcastle on Wednesday does leave Erik Ten Hag's side in with a chance of finishing in the top seven.



If United win the FA Cup, they take the Europa League spot and sixth place in the Premier League, currently occupied by Chelsea, will be a Conference League spot. If favourites and defending champions Manchester City win the Wembley derby, sixth is a Europa League spot and seventh is a Conference League spot.


This means that Tottenham are guaranteed some kind of European football, but if they lose to Sheffield United and Chelsea beat Bournemouth, the Blues will overtake their London rivals to finish fifth, guaranteeing a Europa League spot regardless of the FA Cup winners.


A defeat for Chelsea however could have the opposite effect, as Newcastle would overtake them to finish sixth. Technically Manchester United could finish above Chelsea, but it would require a sixteen goal swing; there has never been a difference that large in Chelsea and Manchester United's results in a Premier League round.


For Manchester United to finish seventh they must get a better result at Brighton than Newcastle get at Brentford; the goal difference deficit of 26 is insurmountable.


Cruelly for Newcastle, seventh doesn't guarantee European football, as Manchester United could win the FA Cup; if United finish seventh, they do guarantee European football of some kind as they would either win the FA Cup or get the Conference League place if City do.


Realistically all four sides in European contention are heavy favourites in their respective fixtures and should win, but this Premier League season has shown us many, many times not to discount the unlikely.



Jurgen Klopp


In his first press conference as Liverpool manager, Klopp proclaimed himself "the normal one." How wrong he was.




After nine exciting, roller coaster seasons, Jurgen Klopp will leave Liverpool and the Premier League after Sunday's game against Wolves at Anfield.


The German has been a true Liverpool great, delivering their first Premier League title as well as two Carabao Cups, an FA Cup, a Community Shield, a Club World Cup and of course the 2019 Champions League.


Klopp has become synonymous with Liverpool, both as a football club and a city, developing a team capable of winning just about everything.


His final season may have been somewhat underwhelming, but as was the case with Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, the legacy outweighs the present.


Liverpool's game with Wolves matters very little in terms of the result but to Reds fans it will be the most significant, emotional day since Liverpool won the Premier League four years ago.




So the final day has just about as much to offer as it possibly could. History will be made in the title race, as either City will become the first team to win four consecutive Premier League titles or Arsenal will be the first to win having not started the final day at the top.


Three of Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United and Newcastle will compete in European competitions, but all four sides could end up in either the Europa League or the Conference League; one of Manchester United or Newcastle will miss out altogether.


At the bottom, Luton aren't done just yet, but would need a gigantic win over Fulham at Kenilworth Road coupled with a complete implosion from Nottingham Forest at Turf Moor.


And Jurgen Klopp will say goodbye to the Premier League. Liverpool have become exceptionally difficult to beat at Anfield in his tenure; even Pep Guardiola's Manchester City won just once there in the German's reign.


2023/2024 has been an astonishing season, with the goal record shattered and, up until April, a three-horse title race. Whatever happens on the final day, it's truly been a Premier League season for the ages.

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