With the Premier League title and relegation already decided, there is only Champions League qualification to play for in the final weekend’s matches… or is there?
Here are ten reasons to pay attention to each of Sunday’s games.
ARSENAL V EVERTON
Arsenal’s midweek win over Sunderland kept them in the Champions League picture, meaning they can displace Liverpool or possibly Manchester City with a win. A draw could be enough if Liverpool lose by at least two goals at home to relegated Middlesbrough. Everton are set in the Europa League but Romelu Lukaku needs to respond to Tottenham’s Harry Kane moving two clear in the Golden Boot race.
BURNLEY V WEST HAM
Almost equally significant, the Turf Moor clash will determine who is the best team in claret and blue – Burnley, on 40 points, need a win to overtake the Hammers who have 42.
CHELSEA V SUNDERLAND
Victory for Chelsea would be a record 30th in a Premier League season, breaking their own mark from the first two years of Jose Mourinho’s initial reign as manager in 2004-05 and 2005-06. The record even encompasses the competition’s early years after rebranding, when the season comprised 42 games rather than 38.
Even if they lose, they will finish with more wins this season than opponents Sunderland have points.
HULL V TOTTENHAM
After scoring four against Leicester, Kane will be out to add to his 26 league goals and make it impossible for Lukaku to deny him top-scorer honours. If Hull can sign off with a win after being condemned to relegation, it would equal their highest Premier League points total of 37 set in 2013-14.
LECIESTER V BOURNEMOUTH
A massive game for both teams as they battle for the accolade of highest-placed English manager. Victory for Craig Shakespeare will give him the bragging rights over Eddie Howe as his side will finish 10th, one place ahead of the Cherries. It would also avoid Leicester becoming the first Premier League champions to finish the following season in the bottom half of the table.
LIVERPOOL V MIDDLESBROUGH
Actual footballing consequences riding on this one, with Liverpool needing a win to make sure of their Champions League place. Relegated Boro have the fewest wins and goals in the top flight this season, but have the chance to catch Sunderland on both fronts with the Black Cats just one ahead.
MANCHESTER UNITED V CRYSTAL PALACE
United will finish sixth and are entirely focused on the Europa League final, so what is at stake here is good old-fashioned cash – each place in the final table is worth a reported £1.9million in additional prize money and Palace can finish anywhere from 11th to, technically, 17th (although Swansea’s poor goal difference makes that unlikely).
The match, therefore, is worth a potential £11.4m to them – roughly what they paid for midfielder Luka Milivojevic.
SOUTHAMPTON V STOKE
After the European places, everybody wants to be best of the rest, right? Right? Fans of eighth-placed Saints will be nervously biting their nails to see if their side can hold off West Brom, Bournemouth and theoretically Leicester for the prestigious honour. Stoke, on the same points total as Palace, are therefore playing for approximately one Xherdan Shaqiri’s worth of transfer funds.
SWANSEA V WEST BROM
Howe and Shakespeare may top the English managers table, but West Brom’s Welsh boss Tony Pulis still occupies top spot as far as Britain is concerned and will need a result to hold on to that spot. Paul Clement, with survival assured, could still move above Burnley’s Sean Dyche in the standings as well.
WATFORD V MANCHESTER CITY
A point would rubber-stamp City’s Champions League spot and most likely direct passage to the group stage, although if Liverpool rack up the goals then a win may be required to keep hold of third place. Watford have lost five in a row – another would see Walter Mazzarri end his reign by matching Hull and Palace for the season’s worst losing run.
Provided by Press Association
The Premier League comes to a conclusion on Sunday with title and relegation issues already resolved.
However, the race for a top-four spot is going right to the finish line on what could be a dramatic afternoon.
Here are five five talking points as the 2016-17 Premier League season is consigned to history.
Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal are involved in a three-way fight for two Champions League places.
Third-placed City need only a point at Watford to book their place, and even if they lost they would only be denied by Liverpool beating Middlesbrough and an Arsenal victory over Everton producing a five-goal swing.
Wenger: "We've come through a difficult period & won a few games. I don't think in terms of top four... I think of us doing our job instead" pic.twitter.com/q9VFd2yzJO— Premier League (@premierleague) May 13, 2017
Liverpool also have their destiny in their own hands as three points will secure Champions League football for only the second time in eight years. Draw or lose, though, and Arsenal would be ready to pounce.
The Gunners are the outsiders to be dining at European football’s top table next season, but four consecutive win suggests Arsene Wenger’s side have not given up the chase just yet.
On the face of it, Chelsea’s motivation levels might have dipped after a fifth title in 12 years was confirmed by a 1-0 win at West Brom last weekend. It was a very unChelsea-like performance on Monday as Antonio Conte’s champions were guilty of some haphazard defending in beating Watford 4-3.
But Chelsea have every reason to finish the season in style at home to relegated Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. Another win would be their 30th of the campaign, a Premier League best in a 38-game campaign.
Chelsea currently hold the record of 29 set in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons under Jose Mourinho. The record would provide another feather in Conte’s cap, and raise yet more cheer before the Premier League trophy presentation at the end of the game.
Harry Kane’s four-goal salvo as Tottenham thrashed Leicester 6-1 on Thursday night put the England striker in pole position to win the Golden Boot for the second successive season.
Not bad for a player who has missed three months of the season through injury.
Kane goes into Spurs’ final game at Hull with 26 league goals to his name, two ahead of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku and three more than Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. The 23-year-old scored 25 last season and has become only the fifth player in the Premier League era to reach that mark in successive seasons.
Kane would be the first player since Robin van Persie in 2013 to win the Golden Boot in successive seasons.
TV pundit Alan Hansen famously once said that Manchester United would not win “anything with kids” and Jose Mourinho seems set to put that theory to the test against Crystal Palace. The United manager has Wednesday’s Europa League final against Ajax on his mind, with a place in next season’s Champions League at stake in Stockholm.
JM confirms Pereira, O'Hara, Mitchell, McTominay, Harrop, Willock, Gomes, Dearnley, Fosu-Mensah & Tuanzebe will all be involved in Sunday.— Man Utd Update (@MufcDevilUpdate) May 19, 2017
Having complained that the Palace fixture should have been brought forward to allow United extra preparation time for the final, Mourinho is set to hand youth its chance at Old Trafford.
Joel Pereira, Demetri Mitchell, Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe, Matty Willock, Josh Harrop and Zachary Dearnley are all in line to make the matchday party, and for many of them it could prove to be the biggest afternoon of their careers.
The final day of the season is always a time for fond farewells and the odd tear or two – and Sunday will be no exception.
John Terry will end his 22-year stay at Stamford Bridge by playing his 717th Chelsea game, lifting the Premier League trophy and making a farewell speech to the fans.
Conte describes Terry as a legend for Chelsea and compares his career with players like Totti, Maldini and Del Piero. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 19, 2017
We wait to see if Arsene Wenger and Wayne Rooney are saying goodbye to the league, even if they still have cup finals to come.
Watford’s Walter Mazzari is on his way and Hull, Middlesbrough and Sunderland are definitely bidding bon voyage for now, although Harry Maguire, Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe will probably end up staying somewhere.
And will Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, Riyad Mahrez, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Michael Keane be bowing out for their current clubs? A busy summer awaits.
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Judgement Day is nearly upon us. After a season of elation or frustration – depending on where you are in your respective leagues – Sunday brings the final day of the Premier League season.
Gameweek 38, the last round of the Fantasy Premier League is your chance to finish on a high whether you’re in a battle to finish top or languishing at the bottom.
This week’s column will help you out in your FPL endeavours. Here’s why you should captain Harry Kane while also taking note of three important factors.
But first, here’s a look at the tactical geniuses who make up the top five in our fans league this week.
WHO TO CAPTAIN
Kevin De Bruyne [10.5m] was our captain pick in Gameweek 37 and although he had a poor outing in the first fixture against Leciester City, he did come through with a goal and an assist against West Brom. He wound up with a cool 15 points after a three-point bonus as well.
This week, we’re backing four-goal hero Harry Kane [11.8m] for the captain’s armband. After a tidy seven points against Manchester United, he followed it up with four goals and an assist away to Leciester in a 6-1 trashing of last season’s champions.
In total, the striker racked up a massive 31 points. On the back of that, his captaincy seems rather like chasing that point haul again but you can’t ignore the fact that he’ll be desperate to add another goal or two against a relegated Hull City side to ensure he ends up with the Golden Boot.
The argument is Tottenham don’t have anything to play for but that didn’t stop them from hammering six past Leicester, did it?
THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER
There’s a few things you should know before you make your picks for the final Gameweek since some teams are more motivated than others. Meanwhile, the likes of Chelsea and United will be fielding weaker sides as they prepare for the FA Cup and Europa League finals respectively.
STEER CLEAR OF THE CHAMPIONS
As mentioned above, Antonio Conte is expected to rest his big stars on Sunday as Chelsea face Arsenal in the FA Cup final the following Saturday. With the Premier League wrapped up, bow and all, Conte has taken the opportunity to field a few squad players.
That’s why it’s best to steer clear of the expensive, big-hitters like Diego Costa [10.4m] or Eden Hazard [10.5m] as they’re unlikely to play 90 minutes, let alone start.
However, if you’re looking for more affordable options, the likes of Cesc Fabregas [6.9m], John Terry [5.2m] and Nathan Ake [3.8m] provide great value.
Cesc Fabregas has now been directly involved in 12 goals in his last 10 home league games.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 15, 2017
4 goals ⚽️
8 assists 🅰️
Always delivers. 📬 pic.twitter.com/xRfqvhYSks
THE FIGHT FOR THE TOP FOUR
The natural tendency is to favour players in teams that have plenty to fight for and with the final two Champions League spots yet to be decided between three sides, there are few great options to choose from.
Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal all have decent fixtures on the final day. Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus [9.0m] would be the front runners to grab a few points away to Watford.
Meanwhile, Liverpool play at home to bottom side Middlesbrough where Philippe Coutinho [8.6m] could pop up with one final breath-taking performance of the season.
Arsenal have to win their game at home to Everton if they’re going to have any chance of making the top four for a record equalling 20th consecutive season (Real Madrid 1997/98 to 2016/17). They’ll be banking on Alexis Sanchez [11.6m] to deliver the goods again.
Mesut Ozil has come into some form as well and is a cheaper alternative while Rob Holding [4.1m] has proved to be great value for money in defence.
Clean sheets have been a great source of points in the last few Gameweeks and in the final round, there are a few defenders who could serve you well. Joel Matip [5.3m] has been providing great returns with Liverpool keeping four clean sheets in their last five.
Terry at Chelsea is a good option too especially after his goal in his last outing. Southampton duo Maya Yoshida [4.5m] and Jack Stephens [4.2m] provide great value as well with three clean sheets in their last five.
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