Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Final Week Drama in the English Premier League

Everyone talks about championship drama as being the most exciting part of sports...and usually it is. However, in this year's English Premier League, Manchester United has led the way for most of the season and clinched the title weeks ago. Most of the late-season drama of the 2012-13 EPL season instead has focused on two very close races - the final two spots in the Champions League and the final relegation spot. Here's where everything stands at the moment:

Champions League berths:
Clinched - Manchester United, Manchester City
Looking Good - Chelsea, Tottenham
Outside Looking In - Arsenal

Arsenal plays Wigan this afternoon in what should be a spirited affair, as the match means a lot to both teams. An Arsenal win gets them to 70 points and leapfrogs them ahead of Tottenham, meaning all Arsenal would need to do is win its final match against Newcastle to secure the fourth and final CL spot. Tottenham plays Sunderland on Sunday and needs to win along with having Arsenal drop one of these two matches. Chelsea would need to lose its final match by around 12-14 goals to have any fear of losing one of the CL berths, so they are in great shape.

My prediction: Arsenal beats Wigan and Newcastle; Tottenham beats Sunderland. Arsenal to Champions League while Tottenham gets a Europa League berth.

Relegation berths:
Clinched relegation - Queens Park Rangers, Reading
In Trouble - Wigan
Still May Be in Trouble - Sunderland, Aston Villa, Fulham, Southampton

Wigan must win its final two matches to avoid relegation - at Arsenal today and then home against Aston Villa on Sunday. If Wigan pulls off the upset today, its match against the Villains on Sunday will be huge, as a Wigan win there would put Villa in jeopardy of falling back. The other squads on the list would need Wigan to win both and a lot of other things to happen in order for their place in the top division to be jeopardized.

My prediction: Wigan drops a close one at Arsenal and is relegated.

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