KICK OFF AT THE SAME TIME; A NAIL BITING SEASON FINALE; A REVIEW OF ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE MATCHDAY38
BY MUHAMMED BASHIR
Perhaps the reason we love watching English football is because the dramas are never endless, no wonder it has the largest TV audience in Europe and generates the highest revenue across TV broadcast deals. With the 19\20 coming to a close we take a look at what the weekend has in stock as we stay glued to our TV set on Sunday noon.
According to UEFA coefficient, the English top flight league have been given 7 spots for teams to represent them in Europe. Europe elite competitions is what the big boys will always settle for, and can only accommodate the top four teams. In this case the top two sides have been confirmed. With runaway champion Liverpool and challenger Manchester City having secured their spots long before now. There’s all to play for, for the reminder of the two spots with the team currently in third facing 5th position and 4th position entertaining 6th placed wolves.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Leicester City and Wolves in sixth positions all stand a chance of grabbing the reminder of the two spots if results go their way. They’re separated by single margins and goal difference. A point is certainly enough for both Manchester united and Chelsea to qualify for Europe elite’s competition after the former broke her engagement with 5th position at the penultimate game of the season earning a draw at home to 15th placed Westham United
The second tier of European football, the Europa league, which has been described by Franck beckenbauer as the ‘’league of losers’’. The remaining three spots are allocated for this competition, however there are delays and uncertainties regarding this, because Arsenal in tenth still have a chance of sneaking in to the competition provided they win their traditional trophy; The Emirates Fa cup on the 31st of July.
With Man city having won the second domestic cup back in February this has opened the door for whoever finishes the season in sixth to book their automatic ticket, a position currently occupied by Wolves who themselves are just two points ahead of seventh placed Spurs. Mourinho’s men will know that all they need is a win away to crystal palace as anything short of three points will leave them hapless and possibly without a European competition to look forward to for the first time in many years.
Manchester united in 3rd, Chelsea in 4th, Leicester in 5th, wolves in 6th all can slip down to Europa league positions by the time the referee blows the final whistle on Sunday noon, should results go against them. more worrying for wolves is that they could even slip further down should Spurs grab a win at palace and Chelsea carting away all three points from Stamford Bridge in their encounter.
WHO FINISHES IN TOP HALF AND WHERE
Sheffield, Burnley and Arsenal completes the top half. They have all guarantee their places in top half of the table, Arsenal sits on 53 point in 10th their lowest in as many years, they are not guaranteed an European spot even if they managed a win at vicarage road against relegation threatened Watford.
Everton are four points adrift in eleventh same with Southampton on 49points apiece in 12th. Place. However, a win for Arsenal against Watford will move them above Burnley and Sheffield to eighth 2 points adrift of their fierce north London neighbors Tottenham hotspurs in seventh.
Ninth placed Burnley are at home to 16th placed Brighton, a win for them moves them into eight ahead of Sheffield, provided Sheffield lose or draw away to 12th placed Southampton; who themselves are adrift of 11th placed Everton only on goal difference.
A Sheffield United win however will solidify and cement their place in 8th place taking them to a tally of 57 points for newly promoted side. that’s simply a job well-done for Chris wilder side.
Over the years and previous campaigns, the benchmark for relegation survival is 40 points or on the average 38points, an hypothesis that has been echoed by Claudio Ranieri even during Leicester city’s tittle triumph in 20166
This season it has come to fur again. Brighton on 38 points and Westham in fifteenth are both safe. Newly promoted Norwich city have been relegated already, Daniel fake has apologized to the fans as far back as early June and he has accepted the doom. More interestingly in the battle for survival and relegation dog fight is that the remaining two spots are yet to be decided. With Bournemouth on 31 points, Watford on 34 points and Aston Vila also on 34 points in 17th place. The latter are ahead only on -1 goal difference.
This thus means that three teams are battling for one spot, the sacred 17th position is what they have their eyes on, Brighton in sixteenth have a 4 points cushion above them with 38 points and their safety is all but confirmed, guaranteeing the Amex faithful another year in English top flight football having narrowly escaped the drop last year.
A loss for any of the three teams except villa will confirm their relegation status and villa fans must be biting their nails that results doesn’t go against them when they face fifteenth placed Westham at the London stadium.
Perhaps what has been the revelation of the season is Burnley’s Nick Pope, he has been outstanding in goal for the clarets albeit he’s shipped in 48 goals this term. Pundits have agreed that winning the golden glove will be a fitting reward for his stellar campaign, however he faces a stiff competition from. Manchester City’s Ederson Moares.
Having narrowly missed out on the goalkeeping top award last season to Liverpool’s Alison, he’s in the running once again. City’s defense hasn’t been near vintage as well. They have conceded 35 goals still the second lowest in the division and have suffered 9 losses; more than the previous two seasons combined. Ederson and Pope are both on 15 cleensheets apiece.
Ederson however faces the worst attack in the league. City are at home to already relegated Norwich city; a case of David v goliath (best attack v worst defense); a side that have nothing to play for except pride. Burnley also entertain strugglers Brighton and Hove Albion at turf moore, with Sean Dyche men looking to continue their impressive form.
Few would argue that this season’s top scorer award will not go to Leicester City front man, Jamie Vardy who has already racked up 17 goals by the turn of the year. The ageless Vardy thou suffered a dip in form around that time scoring twice in 11games, but has continued with his fine form and discovered his goal scoring boots since the restart. He found the back of the net once against arsenal in their 1-1 draw at the emirates and a barged a brace against at home to palace, he got his sides only goal against the cherries; the most recent of his 23 strikes, and drew a blank against spurs and Sheffield.
He is closely followed by Southampton’s Danny Ings 21 and Arsenal’s skipper Pierre-Emerick aubameyang with 20 strikes. The pair of Raheem sterling and Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah have 19 goals apiece. Manchester untied front duo of Anthony martial and Marcus Rashford are level on 17 goals for the campaign, same tally with wolves’ Mexican striker Raul Jimenez, Harry Kane and Liverpool Sadio mane
However, the leading marksman task isn’t easy, the ex-England international faces a side that has let in 36goals all campaign (the joint third in the division) and boast the most expensive defender (Harry Maguire).
Realistically Auba, Ings, Salah and sterling are still in contention for the award going into the final day. A 4 goal haul, is what’s needed, it isn’t an attempt impossibility. Harry Kane did it in 2017. Whether the chasing pack could level up on the final day as witnessed last season remains to be seen.
HENRY’S ASSISTS RECORD.
Manchester City have scored an astonishing 97 goals just three shy of a century (a rare occurrence in the league). A key player that has been instrumental to those numbers is their vice-captain and midfield linchpin Kevin De bruyne.
City has created the most chances and Kevin himself has created the most goal scoring chances by a player in the league. City thou have been wasteful in front of goal, they created 26 chances away to Southampton and did not manage to find the target not even once, to the frustration of Kevin who has seen his teammates squandered a lot of goal scoring chances.
If history would be repeated, it is still unknown. Records are meant to be broken anyways. Thierry Henry holds the record for the most assists by a player in a single season with 20, having done so 17 years ago (2002-2003 season).
Current Arsenal number 10 and top earner Mesut ozil had 19 during the 2015\16 campaign, a similar story to Kevin when he made the created most chances and his striker still went on a goal drought. Kevin himself has provided 18 assists in 2016\17 season and now he’s stuck on 19, however the record is 20
Whether he is able to break this record or not, no doubt he’s been city best player by a mile despite his team inconsistencies with 11goals and 19 assists in the league from midfield. Undeniably he’s the most productive player in the league, and all eyes will be on him as his side entertains the most porous defense in the league, certainly providing him the platform to match or even surpass the record creating his own which may stand for another decade.
THE FINISH LINE
The English premier league certainly promises a lot of final day dramas twists and turns, topsy-turvy battles. but unlike the AGUEROOOOOOO of 2012, there won’t be fans in attendance to witness all the dramas as they unfold, besides the top two positions have been decided long before now. In the history of the league Sunday 26th of July 2020 will go down as the most dramatic day ever, while some will be celebrating some will be in pain and agony it all depends on the final 90 minutes of the season. There’s certainly plenty to look forward to!
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