Three into two won't go in Champions League race

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal can still salvage their turbulent season by defying the odds to snatch a Champions League place on the final day.

The destination of the Premier League title is set - Chelsea will get their hands on the trophy after this Sunday's game against Sunderland - and the relegation places have been filled by the Black Cats, Middlesbrough and Hull City. A score draw for Arsenal along with a Liverpool loss by exactly two goals would see the two giants tied in fourth position and forced to enter a play-off.

Liverpool face already-relegated Middlesbrough and Manchester City travel to Watford who languish 16th in the standings.

The importance of a win on Sunday can not be overstated as securing passage to next season's Champions League is vital for both short-term development and the progress of the club in the long term.

Victory over Middlesbrough on Sunday will see Liverpool finish in the Premier League top four and return to the Uefa Champions League for the first time since 2014.

Although it remains unlikely at this point, there is, in fact, a scoreline that would mean this weekend wouldn't matter in the race for Champions League.

The 31-year-old missed the Gunners' recent win at Southampton, but returned to the starting XI as they beat Stoke City 4-1 on Saturday. Lose by three goals and Arsenal need a point.

As you can see from the table above, the three clubs are now separated by three points, a five-goal swing in goal difference and just one goal scored.

But that's not how this works - if Liverpool lose 2-0 to Boro and Arsenal draw 1-1 against the Toffees, it's a Champions League play-off pure and simple, with fourth place on the line.

Let's be honest, as far as final days go, this year's climax to the Premier League season is. well, a bit shit.

.

Having Firmino back for such a huge game would be hugely beneficial for Liverpool, but even if he is out they'll still be overwhelming favourite to take a very important three points.

As it turned out, the manager was proved right after the Chilean scored both goals in the 2-0 win over Sunderland. West Ham, 12th with 42 points, travel to Burnley who are one of four teams that could leapfrog them on the final day. Arsenal are the only team that can overtake Liverpool in the top four, but a Reds win is more than enough to secure a place in Europe's elite. For example: Watford 4 Manchester City 0 and Arsenal 1 Everton 0 would do it, as would Watford 5 Manchester City 1 and Arsenal 2 Everton 1.

Liverpool's result against Middlesbrough would then confirm whether or not the two clubs were playing off for third or fourth place.


Popular

CONNECT