IT’s going to be a nervy Sunday for Man Utd, Leicester, Chelsea, Wolves and Tottenham fans as there is the small matter of clinching European spots as the curtains come down to a memorable Premier League season.
Down at the bottom, Watford, Bournemouth and Aston Villa
also face a tense evening as they battle to avoid relegation to the Championship.
Watford look all but doomed as they head to the Emirates to tackle FA Cup finalists Arsenal, while Bournemouth look the side most likely to join the Hornets and Norwich in the Championship next term. If both these sides lose, then Aston Villa will be the team to benefit even if they lose away to West Ham.
Man Utd’s laboured 1-1 draw with David Moyes’s Hammers in midweek enabled them to leapfrog Leicester and Chelsea into third spot. But there is all to play for as a titanic battle looms tomorrow as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes his side to the King Power Stadium to play Brendan Rodgers Leicester in a winner-takes-all match.
Whichever side wins, Champions League football is guaranteed next season. As it stands, Leicester need all three points while the Red Devils can still clinch fourth spot, and with it a lucrative Champions League berth, with a draw.
Solskjaer’s side were expected to come out with all guns blazing after their lacklustre FA Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of Chelsea last Sunday, but instead, were well below par.
If not for Mason Greenwood’s brilliant equaliser, Man Utd would have been in trouble with the team’s most expensive player, Paul Pogba, coming under a lot of criticism for his silly handball which led to the penalty that gave Moyes side the lead.
The attacking trio of Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial were extremely subdued in a Man Utd performance that lacked energy and guile.
Solskjaer must be a worried man as his side have just won one of their past four matches while turning in increasingly ordinary displays.
Greenwood was the only bright spark in a Man Utd side that looked lost for ideas and uninspired.
According to BBC Sport, Greenwood has become the first player to score 10 Premier League goals in a season as a teenager since Romelu Lukaku in 2012-2013 (14), and the first English player to do so since Wayne Rooney in 2004-2005 (11).
Greenwood should once again start tomorrow and Man Utd fans will all be praying that he can add to his impressive tally of goals.
Martial has also shown plenty of improvement lately as the Frenchman has six goals and five assists in the last seven league games. Fernandes and Pogba need to step up their game and at the back, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof must be fully focused.
Rodgers’ side may well feel confident of a win if the Red Devils cannot lift themselves tomorrow and indeed the Foxes have the personnel to hurt their opponents.
In Jamie Vardy, Leicester have the league’s top scorer who will be eager to win the Golden Boot award, while Youri Tielemans, Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez can hurt any team on their day.
Leicester’s form have dipped since the restart. Having been outstanding before the lockdown when they were at one point the closest challengers to eventual champions Liverpool, Rodgers side have won only two of their last eight games. They were 15 points ahead of Solskjaer’s side at one point before Christmas.
So it all comes down to the crunch clash with Man Utd and with Chelsea firm favourites to come away with a result against Wolves, things do not look good for the Foxes as they could well have to make do with a Europa League spot instead of being in Europe’s premier competition.
Chelsea, who lost 5-3 to Liverpool on Wednesday, remain in fourth following Man Utd’s draw with West Ham and just like the Red Devils, Chelsea need a point in their final game against Wolves to secure a Champions League spot. The Blues wont have it easy against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side as Wolves will want to seal their spot in the Europa League.
Wolves must match Tottenham’s result with Crystal Palace to secure sixth place and guarantee a spot in the second round of Europa League qualifying for next season. That would become a group stage place if Chelsea win the FA Cup, with seventh taking the second round qualifying place in the Europa League. And Wolves can still qualify for next season’s Champions League by winning the Europa League — they drew 1-1 with Greek outfit Olympiakos in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
Everything points to a thrilling race for Champions League and Europa League football on the final day. Get set for an exciting end to the English Premier League.