If you are looking for ninety minutes of an adrenaline rush, look no further than match week 38 of the English Premier League this Sunday. All the ten matches begin at 11:00 AM EST with a lot at stake.
The hottest ticket for grab is, of course, the championship title. The battle is between Manchester City and Liverpool. The two English giants are separated by only one point. In control of their fate and enjoying a substantial positive-six goal difference against their rivals, Manchester City will face Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa in Manchester, while the shadowing Liverpool will be hosting Wolves in Anfield.
Simply put, Manchester City must win to secure their title. Otherwise, the fate of this exciting title race will be determined by Liverpool's deliverance against Wolves. Liverpool should not have a difficult task on hand, but concentrating on two domestic cups and the UEFA Champions League final match against Real Madrid (not to mention maintaining pressure on Man City) has taken a toll on Klopp's squad. Injuries and fatigue may be the primary opponents of Liverpool players. Their difficult but critical win against Southampton proved that. In an unlikely scenario where City lose to Villa, Liverpool's draw won't even do any good to them unless City concedes more than six goals. However, it is predictable that both City and Liverpool will win their games, and Man City will, once again, win the title by a one-point advantage.
Next at stake is the fate of the relegation. Norwich City and Watford are already relegated, and the third team joining them in the lower division will be either Burnley or Leeds United. Equal on points but with a better goal difference, Burnley is in a safer position than Leeds to stay in the division for another year. Everton would also be fighting for a place in the Premier League next season had it not been for their come-back victory over Viera's Palace on Thursday.
Burnley will be hosting a recently rejuvenated Newcastle, who distanced themselves from the relegation zone following Eddie Howe's appointment as manager mid-season. Despite their predictable losses against Manchester City and Liverpool, Newcastle has enjoyed good results lately and is the favorite to win against Burnley. On the other hand, Leeds will have to face the newcomer Brentford, who has stunned the league.
Both Leeds and Burnley have difficult tasks. A draw for Burnley won't be sufficient if Leeds manages to beat Brentford against the odds. If Burnley wins their game, Leeds will almost certainly be relegated unless they score more than twenty goals. Both Leeds and Burnley will possibly lose their games, or optimistically Burnley may steal a point from Newcastle. Either way, Leeds will likely be the third team saying goodbye to EPL on Sunday.
Arsenal and Tottenham are battling for a position among the top four to secure their place in the Champions League next season. Chelsea's draw in Stamford Bridge against Leicester on Thursday put them three points ahead of Tottenham, but they have a much better goal difference which guarantees their third-place standing.
Arsenal, who recently suffered two devastating back-to-back defeats, will be hosting Everton, whereas Spurs will be traveling to Norwich. Spurs should have an easier job on paper. However, Norwich has been showing a fierce face which can cause trouble for Tottenham. Safe from relegation, Everton has to save face and should give this last game of the season everything they have got. With a two-point deficit against Spurs, pressure is mounting on Arsenal's young squad, who will have to find a way to crack Everton's Pickford.
Tottenham's recent form should guarantee a win for them and a spot in the Champions League next season. Arsenal can only replace Tottenham in fourth place if the Spurs lose to Norwich and they beat Everton. Both results seem unlikely. A win for Tottenham and a draw for Arsenal are more predictable, which means the Gunners will miss the Champions League again.
Manchester United and West Ham United are fighting for the sixth position and a spot in next year's Europa League. Both of them will be traveling. Manchester United will face Palace, while West Ham will be visiting Brighton. None of these are easy games. Although Manchester United seem to have an easier task, they have not been consistent all season long. With only a two-point advantage over West Ham and a much worse goal difference, they have to win to secure their position in sixth place. Brighton, who defeated Manchester United by a humiliating four-nill score, may prove a hard nut to crack for West Ham. They are also eyeing the eighth place if they beat West Ham, the Wolves lose against Liverpool, and Leicester can't win their game against Southampton.
These two games are perhaps the hardest to predict. Both Brighton and Palace have played well lately and will make life hard for Man United and West Ham. Neither of the visiting teams will enjoy easy wins. The best bet is that either a draw or loss for Manchester United combined with a tie for West Ham will keep Manchester United in the sixth position. Leicester's hard-fought win over Southampton, together with Wolves’ loss against Liverpool, will bring them to the eighth position.
Chelsea's face-off with Watford in London is the match that has nothing for grabs. Chelsea has secured their third place, and Watford is already relegated. This match can go either way. Chelsea may not push too hard. However, I predict they will come for a win, and they will get that.