Premier League: What's at stake on Sunday?
As we approach the final matchday of the 2021/22 Premier League season, several issues are still to be decided - including whether Manchester United or West Ham United qualify for the Europa League.
The questions of who will win the title, which team will gain the final Champions League place and who will be relegated with Watford and Norwich City will also finally be answered.
As we look ahead to the climax of our own season at Crystal Palace on Sunday 22 May, here's a guide to all the games with something significant riding on them.
EUROPA LEAGUE QUALIFICATION
Crystal Palace v Manchester United
Brighton & Hove Albion v West Ham United
The Reds travel to Selhurst Park on Sunday knowing that a win would secure sixth spot and entry into the 2022/23 Europa League. Ralf Rangnick’s side are currently two points ahead of West Ham, who travel to Brighton on the final day.
Victory for United would therefore guarantee a top-six finish, although we could also still achieve that with a draw as long as the Hammers don't win. If the Reds were held by Palace and West Ham won on the south coast, it would move David Moyes’ side on to the same number of points but they would leapfrog us due to their already superior goal difference, +11 compared to our +1.
The contest for a Europa League place really boils down to a simple equation of outcomes: we need to match or better West Ham’s result to seal a spot in next season’s competition.
Regardless of the way Sunday unfolds, both sides are guaranteed some European football next term, with seventh place qualifying for next season’s Europa Conference League.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFICATION
Arsenal v Everton
Norwich City v Tottenham Hotspur
The race for the top four also goes to the final day, with North London neighbours Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur battling it out for the remaining place in next season’s Champions League.
Following Arsenal's 2-0 loss to Newcastle United on Monday evening, Spurs are now in the driving seat with a two-point lead and a vastly better goal difference heading into Sunday’s season finale.
Antonio Conte's side will seal the deal if they avoid defeat to already-relegated Norwich City but should they lose to the Canaries, Mikel Arteta's side would still have to triumph against Everton - who could still be fighting for survival - to leapfrog their local rivals into fourth place.
PREMIER LEAGUE SURVIVAL
Arsenal v Everton
Brentford v Leeds United
Burnley v Newcastle United
Watford and Norwich have already been relegated to the Championship, but the identity of the third team to go down is yet to be decided. Leeds, Everton and Burnley all still have a chance of dropping out of the Premier League, with just two points separating the three sides. However, the latter two both have midweek matches to play ahead of Sunday's season finale.
Burnley travel to Aston Villa on Thursday night, knowing that a win or a draw would lift them out of the bottom three. The Clarets trail Leeds by just one point but have a far superior goal difference.
Frank Lampard’s Everton host Crystal Palace on Thursday night and can guarantee their Premier League safety with a win. Gaining three points against Patrick Viera’s side would extend the Blues’ gap over Leeds to four points, with just one match to play.
So it remains to be seen whether there will be a two-way or three-way fight to avoid the trapdoor on Sunday. If Everton are still embroiled in it, their trip to Champions League chasers Arsenal looks tough; meanwhile, Burnley host buoyant Newcastle and Leeds travel to the similarly in-form Brentford.
PREMIER LEAGUE TITLE
Manchester City v Aston Villa
Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Much as we might wish to ignore it, the Premier League champions will also be crowned on Sunday.
The battle between our two biggest rivals, Manchester City and Liverpool, will go to the final day if Jurgen Klopp’s side avoid defeat away to Southampton tonight. The gap at the top is currently four points ahead of this evening's game at St Mary’s, so a home victory there for Ralph Hasenhüttl's Saints would hand the title to City.
A draw would mean Klopp’s side need to win at home to Wolves on Sunday and hope Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa can beat City. The Merseysiders would also need to somehow overturn the seven-goal advantage that Pep Guardiola’s men have on goal difference.
However, if Liverpool beat Southampton, the final day would be a lot nervier for City. There would be a singular point between the teams going into Sunday’s fixtures, meaning that a win for Klopp and a draw for Guardiola would be enough to see the title end up at Anfield.