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  • 17 May 2024

Premier League Permutations: Title Race, European Qualification, and the Battle for Survival

The Premier League has reached its final day, and there are still critical matters to be resolved. The most captivating storyline is the title race, with Manchester City and Arsenal both in contention. Additionally, the battle for European qualification involves several teams, while the relegation fight could see Luton Town trying to leapfrog Nottingham Forest to stay up.

Another dramatic Premier League season concludes this weekend, but significant issues remain undecided. The title's destination will either be back at the Etihad Stadium for Manchester City's fourth consecutive triumph or making a historic return to the Emirates Stadium if Arsenal clinches their first title since 2004. The race for UEFA Champions League spots was settled midweek when Tottenham Hotspur failed to beat Manchester City, falling 2-0 to Erling Haaland’s brace. That result secured Aston Villa's spot at Europe's top table, marking their first Champions League appearance since 1982-83, back when it was known as the European Cup.

Liverpool's place in the top four was confirmed weeks ago. They sit comfortably in third, with Jurgen Klopp set to bid farewell to Anfield against Wolves on Sunday.

All final-day matches will kick off at 16:00 BST on Sunday, May 19.

TITLE RACE: WHAT DO MAN CITY AND ARSENAL NEED TO WIN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?

Manchester City, currently two points clear at the top, need only to match or better Arsenal's result to secure the title. Pep Guardiola’s side hosts West Ham United at the Etihad, and a win guarantees them a fourth straight title, setting a new record in English football.

A draw could suffice for City if Arsenal is held by Everton at the Emirates. Arsenal, managed by Mikel Arteta, needs a win and for City to drop points against West Ham to claim their first title in 21 years. Arsenal’s superior goal difference means that a City draw combined with an Arsenal win would see the Gunners lift the trophy on goal difference.

THE RACE FOR EUROPE: WHO IS STILL IN CONTENTION? WHAT DO THEY NEED?

The top four has been decided, with Aston Villa’s qualification for the Champions League confirmed after Spurs' loss to Man City. However, the race for UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League spots remains open.

Tottenham's inconsistent end to the season means they aren't guaranteed fifth place, especially with Chelsea hitting form at the right moment with four consecutive wins. Manchester United's hopes for European football hinge on either their league position or beating Manchester City in the FA Cup final next week.

Erik ten Hag’s side gained crucial points against Newcastle United on Wednesday, moving level with Eddie Howe's seventh-placed team, though Newcastle holds a significant goal difference advantage. Consequently, Spurs need just a point to secure fifth place and automatic qualification for the Europa League.

THE BATTLE FOR SURVIVAl: WHO IS GOING DOWN?

Burnley and Sheffield United have already had their swift returns to the Championship confirmed in previous weeks, and it seems likely that Luton Town will be joining them in relegation.

Rob Edwards' side is almost certain to go down due to their vastly inferior goal difference compared to Nottingham Forest, who sit 17th, just outside the drop zone. The Hatters are three points behind Nuno Espirito Santo's side and would need an improbable set of results to stay up. They would need Forest to lose heavily at Burnley while winning big themselves at home against Fulham.

Luton's goal difference stands at -31, while Forest's is -19. Even a draw for Forest at Turf Moor would be enough to ensure their survival for another season.

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