After 36.5 matchweeks of the 2021-22 Premier League season, everything is still to play for, from the title race all the way down to the relegation battle.
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The title race is still on, the top-four race is still on, Europa League qualification is still up for grabs, as are two places in the top half (with six sides still in contention) and one spot in next season’s Premier League.
As we kick off the final week of the 2021-22 Premier League season, culminating in 10 games played simultaneously on Championship Sunday (Watch live, on NBC’s family of networks and online via Peacock Premium), let’s dive into the details of each and every race up and down the table…
Premier League title
What was originally thought to be a four-horse race quickly became a three-horse race, and by the frantic festive period was down to two: Manchester City and Liverpool.
The defending Premier League champions took the top spot for the first time all season back in matchweek 16 (Dec. 4), and they haven’t relinquished control since. At one point, their lead swelled to as many as 11 points (the Reds sat 3rd, behind Chelsea), and it looked like they might lift the trophy again before spring had even sprung. Then, they dropped a few points (nine, in two months’ time, from mid-January to late-March), and Liverpool began to play their games in hand.
They won’t. And they won’t. And they won’t until they were separated by just a point. They played one another dead even in a riveting 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium to start April. Now, six days before Championship Sunday, the gap is four, but Liverpool have a game in hand (they were busy winning the FA Cup last weekend) where they can trim it to one, away to Southampton on Tuesday.
Regardless of who comes out on top, we thank them both for an incredible season of brilliant football.
Premier League run-in: Title race
1st: Man City – 90 points (37 games) GD +72
2nd: Liverpool – 86 points (36 games) GD +65
Man City: Aston Villa (H)
Liverpool: Southampton (A- WATCH), Wolves (H)
Top four (UEFA Champions League)
Just as water always finds its level, Tottenham and Arsenal (or is it Arsenal and Tottenham?) always seem to find one another. A north London derby demolition job saw Spurs pull to within one point of the Gunners, before going two points above them with a hard-fought win over Burnley on the weekend.
All of the pressure is now squarely on Arsenal, who still control their own destiny and will finish (no worse than) 4th if they win their final two games. Not to over-simplify things, but it’s really that simple. If they draw one of them, however, Tottenham have a massive goal-differential advantage and would clinch Champions League qualification with a win over last-place Norwich on Championship Sunday.
Premier League run-in: Top four
3rd: Chelsea – 70 points (36 games) GD +42
4th: Tottenham Hotspur – 68 points (37 games) GD +24
5th: Arsenal – 66 points (36 games) GD +11
Top six (Europa League)
Having already missed out on the top four, one of Manchester United or West Ham will finish 6th and qualify for the Europa League, with the other falling one tier further down to the Europa Conference League. Whichever side of north London fails to snatch 4th will also head to the Europa League.
Premier League run-in: Top six
6th: Manchester United – 58 points (37 games) GD +1
7th: West Ham United – 56 points (37 games) GD +11
Manchester United: Crystal Palace (A)
West Ham: Brighton (A)
More Premier League news
Sure, finishing in the “top half” might not sound like an important achievement to Man City, Liverpool or Chelsea fans, but imagine you’ve supported Brentford your entire life, went to see them play in the fourth division as recently as 13 years ago, and now, the Bees are potentially one win away from finishing in the top 10 of the top league in
England the world in their first season in said league.
Oh, and the difference in Premier League prize money for finishing 9th (highest Brentford can achieve) and 14th (the lowest)? $14 million. It matters.
Premier League run-in: Top half
9th: Leicester City – 48 points (36 games) GD 0
10th: Brighton & Hove Albion – 48 points (37 games) GD -4
11th: Brentford – 46 points (37 games) GD -7
12th: Crystal Palace – 45 points (36 games) GD +4
13th: Aston Villa – 44 points (36 games) GD -1
14th: Newcastle United – 43 points (36 games) GD -21
Leicester: Chelsea (A- WATCH), Southampton (H)
Brighton: West Ham (H)
Brentford: Leeds (H)
Crystal Palace: Everton (A- WATCH), Manchester United (H)
Aston Villa: Burnley (H- WATCH), Manchester City (A)
Newcastle: Arsenal (H- WATCH), Burnley (A)
Norwich and Watford have already seen their places in the EFL Championship confirmed for next season (to be replaced by Fulham and Bournemouth, so far), but there’s still one more place in the bottom three to be decided.
Everton is the “too big to go down” club; Leeds only just got back to the Premier League last season when they looked long for the division; and Burnley have perhaps flirted with danger one too many times. Everton and Burnley can save themselves, while Leeds’ status in the top flight is still partially dependent upon what the other two do.
Premier League run-in: Relegation
16th: Everton – 36 points (36 games) GD -20
17th: Leeds United – 35 points (37 games) GD -38
18th: Burnley – 34 points (36 games) GD -18
19th: Watford – 26 points (37 games) GD -42 [Relegated]
20th: Norwich City – 22 points (37 games) GD -56 [Relegated]
What’s to play for in the Premier League in the final week? originally appeared on NBCSports.com