Premier League - Final day: What can happen

Sun, 13 May 11:26:00 2012

A number of key issues remain outstanding ahead of the final day of the Premier League season.

2012 Mark Hughes Bolton-QPR - 0

Here we provide an overview of what may happen as the campaign reaches a dramatic climax.

THE TITLE

The contenders: Manchester City (86 points), Manchester United (86).

The key matches: Manchester City v QPR; Sunderland v Manchester United

The scenario: The two Manchester clubs are level on points but City's goal difference is eight superior to United's, so effectively Sir Alex Ferguson's side must better City's result. Put simply, if City win at the Etihad, they win the title.

The prediction: City have dropped only two points at home all season and with their first league title since 1968 within touching distance, they are hugely unlikely to secure anything but a win against a QPR side led by former manager Mark Hughes. Expect both Manchester clubs to emerge triumphant on Sunday, but with those in sky blue taking the title.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE (one/two spots)

The contenders: Arsenal (67), Tottenham (66), Newcastle (65)

The key matches: Everton v Newcastle; Tottenham v Fulham; West Brom v Arsenal

The scenario: Arsenal's destiny is in their own hands and victory at West Brom will see them clinch third place and the final automatic qualification spot for the Champions League.

However, if Arsenal draw against the Baggies, they will be overtaken and pushed into fourth place if Tottenham beat Fulham, meaning the Gunners would have to enter the qualifying round for the Champions League and Spurs would go straight through.

If Arsenal lose at West Brom, then they can be overtaken by both Spurs, who will only need a draw if Arsenal lose by two or more goals, and Alan Pardew's Newcastle, who would need to beat Everton.

A win at home to Fulham guarantees Tottenham at least fourth place, while a draw would also be enough if Newcastle fail to win at Everton.

For Newcastle to make the Champions League they must beat Everton and hope that either Arsenal lose or Tottenham fail to win at home to Fulham. If all three of those outcomes occur, then Newcastle will finish in third place.

However, if Chelsea win the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, the team finishing fourth no longer qualifies for next season's competition. Instead, they will play in the Europa League, along with the club finishing fifth, as Chelsea's spot in the competition for winning the FA Cup is reallocated.

The prediction: Though they will probably contrive to make it close, Arsenal should have enough to beat a West Brom side for whom the season has already finished as a going concern. Spurs are also likely to defeat Fulham, meaning Newcastle could well be left disappointed. Bayern should win the Champions League as well, leaving the Premier League unaffected.

EUROPA LEAGUE (one/two spots)

The contenders: Arsenal (67), Tottenham (66), Newcastle (65)

The key matches: Everton v Newcastle; Tottenham v Fulham; West Brom v Arsenal

The scenario: The team that finishes fifth will go into the Europa League. However, if Chelsea win the Champions League final then the team in fourth will also have to make do with Europe's second cup competition.

The prediction: As stated above, Newcastle to finish in fifth.

RELEGATION (one spot)

The contenders: Aston Villa (38), QPR (37), Bolton (35)

The key matches: Norwich City v Aston Villa; Manchester City v Queens Park Rangers; Stoke City v Bolton Wanderers

The scenario: Given their goal difference is currently 17 superior to Bolton's, it would take a miracle for Aston Villa to be relegated, so we can effectively discount them immediately. The real interest lies in whether Bolton can overtake QPR to escape the drop.

Bolton must win against Stoke City to have any chance of staying up. If QPR then draw at Manchester City then Bolton require a hugely unlikely nine-goal swing to finish above Rangers on goal difference. Realistically, the only way Bolton will avoid the drop is if they win and QPR lose.

The prediction: QPR will almost certainly lose at Manchester City, but it would be no surprise to see Bolton end a troubling season with a draw or defeat that sends them down.

ALREADY RELEGATED: Blackburn Rovers, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Eurosport

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