With Leicester confirmed this year’s Premier League winner and Tottenham Hot Spurs and Arsenal placed second and third respectively, the two Manchester teams-City and United will be all out against their opponent in an attempt to grab the last Champions League spot. However, with contention for the top scorer still in the offing, Leicester’s trip to Stamford Bridge against former champion, Chelsea, would be more than a formality since Verdy would want to go for the top scorer award as an icing on the cake to the EPL title
Not many would have thought that Manchester City would wait till the last day in their quest for a Champions League ticket considering the quality of the team and the way the Citizens kick start league-carting away the first 15 points, but inconsistency and poor results on the roads robbed off the shine from the side. Therefore, the Manuel Pellegrini side are now condemned to win their last Premiership game to be sure of place in next the 2016/17 European elite competition.
Although the game is actually a no-bearing for Swansea City as they are at the 11th spot of the league table, 12 points safe off the relegation zone and 16 points below any berths of continental tournaments, they will still try to extend their two-game winning run to three as they face the mercurial Citizens in the season finale.
In their penultimate match, the Swans routed contending squad West Ham United, 4-1, at the Upton Park last Saturday.
Meanwhile, Manchester City settled to a 2-2 draw with fellow contender Arsenal FC at the Etihad Stadium last Sunday.
The tie was City’s third winless performance in their last four assignments as they dropped to fourth place in the league table, three points behind the Gunners. They lead cross-city rivals Manchester United by only two points in the overall standings, which means this finale match against Swansea is a crucial one for Pellegrini’s side.
Manchester United knew victory at Upton Park and at home to Bournemouth this weekend would secure a top-four place – but this loss means Manchester City are two points clear of them going into their final game at Swansea City. But West Ham, were not to be denied and two towering headers in the space of four minutes from Michail Antonio and Winston Reid gave them the victory they richly deserved.
Manchester United had their fate in their own hands knowing two victories – here and at home to Bournemouth on Sunday – would assure Champions League football next season.
It was typical of their misfiring season that they squandered this chance with a performance that was for the most part lifeless, only lifted above mediocrity by the brilliance of Martial.
United may have been affected by that late arrival and the delayed kick-off, but their first 45 minutes fell well short of what was needed given how high the stakes were. It was only down to West Ham’s generosity in front of goal that Louis Van Gaal’s side were only 1-0 down at the interval.
And when, against the run of play and thanks to Martial’s excellence, they found themselves ahead with 18 minutes left they were still not good enough to make it count. The hosts finally took their chances and scored twice in four minutes to once again reveal the flaws in this fragile Manchester United side.
While Arsenal could still find themselves dragged down to their customary fourth-place finish, it seems far more likely to be a battle between the red and blue halves of Manchester for the final Champions League qualification spot.
Arsenal are third in the league and12 points behind champions Leicester and need a draw from their last game to seal automatic qualification for the Champions League next season, and Jack
Wilshere said the players were disappointed that their title challenge crumbled but were confident of an improved display next term.
“I think of the games that didn’t go our way like Swansea at home. There are a lot of chances we create with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck, we just have to be a bit more clinical,” Wilshere told the club’s website.
“I think we are moving in the right direction. We put up a big challenge this year, and OK it didn’t work out… we put up more of a fight than previous years.”
Arsene Wenger’s men finish their league campaign against relegated Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
However, that “final” spot in fourth may yet give way to a fifth team entering the Champions League next season, however, as Liverpool will claim a spot in Europe’s top competition should they manage a victory over Sevilla in the Europa League final next week. Jurgen Klopp has a difficult decision ahead of the final match of the Premier League season, as the Reds could still earn a spot in next season’s Europa League campaign if results go their way in the final match, but following the 1-1 draw against Chelsea it seems more likely that West Ham United and Southampton will battle it out on Super Sunday while the Reds rest their big names in preparation for Wednesday’s final.
Meanwhile, relegated squad Newcastle United FC is scheduled to host second-running team Tottenham Hotspur FC in their season finale at the St. James’ Park on Sunday.
Newcastle is officially relegated to the Football League Championship next season as they are at the 18th spot of the league table and four points below the 17th-placed Sunderland with only one game left in their current campaign.
While a win over the Spurs in their finale will not make the Magpies stay in the English top flight next season, it will have some repercussions for Tottenham as the London squad could lose their runner-up position to Arsenal if that will happen.
Rafa Benitez’s side is coming off a disappointing 0-0 draw with cellar dwellers Aston Villa last Saturday at the Villa Park.
It was the third drawn match by the Magpies in their last four games which made them unable to escape the bottom three relegation zone. The tie with the Villans dropped them to the relegation area for good as the Black Cats defeated dethroned champions Chelsea FC in their own penultimate match to create a four-point gap in between them.
Meanwhile, the Spurs were defeated by surging team Southampton FC, 1-2, at White Hart Lane last Sunday to allow the Gunners to move within two points of their position. Spurs need to win this match against the Magpies if they want to finish the season as runners-up to Leicester City as their loss and an Arsenal win will deny them that distinction.