Premier League: With 36.6 matchweeks remaining in the 2021-22 EPL season, everything is still up for grabs, from the title fight to the relegation battle.
The title battle, the top-four race, Europa League qualification, two spots in the top half (with six teams still in contention), and one slot in next season’s Premier League are all still up for grabs.
Let’s dive into the intricacies of each and every race up and down the table, as we enter the last week of the 2021-22 Premier League season, which culminates in ten games played concurrently on Championship Sunday…
Premier League title
What began as a four-horse race quickly became a three-horse race, and by the frenetic holiday season, it had been reduced to just two: Manchester City and Liverpool.
The defending Premier League winners gained the lead for the first time in the season in matchweek 16 (Dec. 4) and haven’t looked back since. Their lead grew to 11 points at one stage (the Reds were in third place, behind Chelsea), and it looked like they might win the title before spring had even arrived.
Then, from mid-January to late-March, they dropped a few points (nine in two months), and Liverpool began to play their games in hand.
They won. And they triumphed. They won till there was only one point between them. In a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium to start April, they played each other dead even.
The deficit is now four points six days before Championship Sunday, but Liverpool has a game in hand (they were busy winning the FA Cup last weekend) where they can cut it to one point, away to Southampton on Tuesday.
We appreciate them both for an amazing season of brilliant football, regardless of who wins.
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), Wolves (H)
Top four (UEFA Champions League)
Tottenham and Arsenal (or is it Arsenal and Tottenham?) always seem to find one other, much like water does. Spurs came within one point of Arsenal after a demolition job in the north London derby, before pulling two points ahead with a hard-fought win over Burnley at the weekend.
All of the burden was now on Arsenal, who would have ended in fourth place if they had won their remaining two games. It was actually that straightforward, not to oversimplify things. Tottenham will seal Champions League qualifying with a win or draw at last-place Norwich on Championship Sunday, despite their loss to Newcastle on Monday.
As a result of Arsenal’s defeat, Chelsea clinched a top-four spot.
Premier League run-in: Top four
3rd: Chelsea – 70 points (36 games) GD +42 [Qualified]
4th: Tottenham Hotspur – 68 points (37 games) GD +24
5th: Arsenal – 66 points (37 games) GD +9
Chelsea: Leicester (H), Watford (H)
Tottenham: Norwich (A)
Top six (Europa League)
After missing out on the top four, one of Manchester United or West Ham will finish sixth and qualify for the Europa League, while the other will drop to the Europa Conference League. Whoever finishes fourth in north London will be relegated 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)
Sure, finishing in the “top half” may not seem significant 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 just 13 years ago, and now the Bees are potentially one win away from finishing in the top 10 of England’s top league in their first season.
Oh, and what’s the difference between finishing 9th (the highest Brentford can finish) and 14th (the lowest) in the Premier League? $14 million. It is significant.
Top half of the Premier League
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: Newcastle United 46 (37 games) GD -19
13th: Crystal Palace – 45 points (36 games) GD +4
14th: Aston Villa – 44 points (36 games) GD -1
Leicester: Chelsea (A), Southampton (H)
Brighton: West Ham (H)
Brentford: Leeds (H)
Crystal Palace: Everton (A), Manchester United (H)
Aston Villa: Burnley (H), Manchester City (A)
Newcastle: Arsenal (H ), Burnley (A)
Norwich and Watford have already been confirmed for next season’s EFL Championship (to be replaced by Fulham and Bournemouth, respectively), but there is still one spot in the bottom three to be decided.
Everton is the “too big to fail” club; Leeds barely returned to the Premier League last season after seeming out of place; and Burnley have flirted with danger one too many times. Everton and Burnley can save themselves, but Leeds’ survival in the Premier League is still dependant on the other two.
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]
Everton: Crystal Palace (H), Arsenal (A)
Leeds: Brentford (A)
Burnley: Aston Villa (A), Newcastle (H)