Top 4 goes down to the wire on final day

May 23, 2021

We’ve come to the final round of matches and with champions and runners-up, along with the relegation spots, there won’t be the drama of previous seasons. Still, there’s that small matter of deciding the last two Champions League spots, where one of Chelsea, Leicester or Liverpool will lose out on a spot in the top four. Of course, should it be Chelsea, they’ve still got the chance to qualify, should they win the Champions League final next weekend.

If Chelsea and/or Liverpool at least match Leicester’s result, then they will finish above the Foxes in a Champions League spot. That would look to be the way to argue, but Leicester and Liverpool have home ground advantages for their last game, while Chelsea travel to Aston Villa.

A couple of things of interest heading into the three games that will finalise the Champions League spots:?

Chelsea have scored the least number of goals (57) in the top 7, but they’ve also conceded the second least goals in the League.

Both Leicester and Liverpool have scored 66 goals, a tally only beaten by the two Manchester clubs.

If the results pan out as the reverse fixtures did, this would be the scenario: Liverpool finish 3rd, Leicester 4th and Chelsea 5th.

Here are today’s final predictions (I’m expecting plenty of goals):

Arsenal 2 Brighton 0: The best the Gunners can finish is 7th, which is a moderate return for a club of their size. At least they can finish on a high and make it 5 winning games in a row. Will Percy Tau receive a run-on for what would be only his 4th appearance for Brighton this season?

Aston Villa 0 Chelsea 1: The reverse fixture ended 1-1 and a repeat that would be a disastrous result for Chelsea. But they’ve tightened up under Tuchel, although are still prone to the odd lapse and this game is no gimme. But I expect Chelsea to get over the line.

Fulham 2 Newcastle 2: 18th (and relegated) takes on 15th here. Without a crowd the hosts can’t even say farewell to their fans after a season largely behind closed doors. Newcastle have finished off the campaign quite well after being in danger of being sucked into the relegation battle.

Leeds 3 West Brom 2: This has the makings of the most entertaining match of the round. No club has leaked more goals (73) than the relegated West Brom, so don’t expect them to keep a clean sheet here. There were 5 goals in the reverse fixture too – all of them from Leeds.

Leicester 2 Tottenham 1: Tottenham’s heads seem to have dropped in their last game, perhaps understandably after Harry Kane signalled his intentions to leave the club. They’ll be in the Europa League next season but Leicester know that nothing but a win today will keep their top four (Champions League) hopes alive.

Liverpool 4 Crystal Palace 0: Liverpool hammered Crystal Palace 7-0 in their reverse fixture just before Christmas and know how important this final game is. They’ve come off 4 wins in a row and have scored 11 goals in those matches, which suggests they’ve found their scoring boots again after a dip in form. They should finish off strongly.

Man City 2 Everton 1: City have the luxury of already winning the title and having the Champions League final to concentrate on next week. That mindset showed in their last League game where they were beaten 3-2 by Brighton. They are the short-priced favourites here to win and should, but I won’t be including them in my multis at the odds.

Sheffield United 0 Burnley 1: Bottom plays 17th here and that will probably show on the pitch as well. Sean Dyche did his usual job of getting the best from his big, physical squad but you have to feel they’ll be in a similar situation next season. Still, they’re up against the worst team in the League here.

West Ham 2 Southampton 1: The Hammers lasted late into the season in Champions League contention but have done well considering resources and injuries. The Saints will have Danny Ings as their main goal threat again, but have largely been disappointing this season, that 9-0 beating by Man United being their nadir.

Wolves 1 Man United 3: Wolves have been one of the disappointments of the campaign and are another club without a manager after today. Man United have been linked with Harry Kane, and to be fair, a bunch of other top strikers as well and confidence in the dressingroom is high. They’ve won 11 of their 18 away games (winning 9 at home) and edged the reverse fixture 1-0 in December.

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