As we approach the final day of what’s been an enthralling Premier League season, there is still plenty to play for, in what’s gearing up to be a dramatic day at the bottom of the league.
The top of the standings are now pretty much all confirmed, with Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle all securing a berth inside the top-four, while Liverpool and Brighton will finish sixth and seventh respectively.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will now play in the Europa League for the first time since they reached the final of the tournament in the 2015-16 season, while Brighton’s 1-1 draw to Manchester City last weekend confirmed they would also be playing in the tournament for the first time in the club’s history.
The final European spot is still up for grabs though, with Aston Villa (7th), Tottenham (8th) and Brentford (9th) all able to secure a berth in the Europa Conference League, depending on how results go on Sunday.
But it is at the bottom of the table where things are really set to heat up on Sunday with three giants of English football, Everton (17th) Leicester (18th) and Leeds (19th) all in danger of relegation.
A supercomputer has predicted that Leeds have a three per cent chance of staying up this season
The A.I. has also said that Leicester will be relegated this season, giving them an 82 per cent chance of going down
The software has also backed Everton to stay up, giving the Toffees a 20 per cent chance of going down
Each club can mathematically survive the drop, should results go their way on Sunday.
But according to Opta, Leeds only have a three per cent chance of staying up this season, with their AI supercomputer also giving Everton a 79.6 percent chance of staying up, with the computer backing Leicester to fall out of the top-flight, just two years after they won the FA Cup.
The battle at the bottom
Things could have been looking a lot differently heading into the final round of Premier League action, had either Leicester or Everton won last weekend.
The Foxes’ goalless draw against Newcastle may prove to be pivotal in their hopes of staying up and taking a point away at St James’ Park, which has notably become a fortress for the Geordies this season will be a huge coup for Dean Smith’s side.
That will be a worry for the Toffees, as Leicester could be buoyed in confidence heading into their final game of the season against West Ham, who are now safe from relegation, but have one eye on their Europa Conference League final against Sevilla next Wednesday.
But David Moyes’ side are no push overs, and considering Leicester have only recorded one win in their last 13 matches, with Monday night’s draw against Newcastle being their first clean sheet in 22 Premier League games, the super computer saying there is an 82.8 per cent chance that Leicester will be relegated.
The outlook for Leeds, though, is much more bleak, with the supercomputer suggesting that the Yorkshire side have a 97 per cent probability of relegation, with Sam Allardyce’s side succumbing to a 3-1 defeat by West Ham at the weekend.
But there is still a chance they could turn things around, as they take on a disarray Tottenham side on Sunday, who have claimed just five points from their last six matches.
According to Opta, the supercomputer has given Everton a 79 per cent chance of survival, while Leicester’s survival probability sitting at 17 per cent, with Leeds at three per cent
Sam Allardyce’s (right) side succumbed to a 3-1 defeat by West Ham last weekend and will play Tottenham on Sunday
Everton defender Yerry Mina (right) rescued a last-gasp equalizer vs Wolves at the weekend to keep their hopes of avoiding the drop alive. They’ll play Bournemouth at Goodison Park
Leicester, meanwhile, drew to Newcastle last weekend and will play West Ham this Sunday
Everton, meanwhile, currently sit outside the relegation zone and will take on Bournemouth at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Sean Dyche’s side have ominously lost all four of their last meetings against Bournemouth, conceding three or more goals in each match, but the Blues have, according to Opta, only a 20 per cent chance of going down.
So what does each side need to do to stay up?
Permutations of the relegation battle
Everton currently stand the greatest chance of avoiding relegation.
The Toffees will stay up if they:
- beat Bournemouth;
- draw to Bournemouth and Leicester fail to win and Leeds fail to win by three goals; or
- lose to Bournemouth and both Leicester and Leeds fail to win also.
Leicester are being backed to finish in 18th place, but they still have a chance of staying up.
To do so they will need:
- a win West Ham and an Everton defeat.
Leeds have the slimmest hope of survival.
To stay up, Sam Allardyce’s side need to:
- beat Tottenham and see both Everton and Leicester lose; or
- defeat Tottenham by three or more goals, with Everton drawing and Leicester failing to win.
There is a chance that Leeds can still stay up if Leicester win and Everton lose, with both currently tied level on 31 points, but they will have to swing a nine-goal deficit in order to jump ahead of Leicester on goal difference.
Qualification for the Europa Conference League
At the other end of the table, Aston Villa, Tottenham and Brentford are all still within a chance of qualifying for the Europa Conference League.
For Unai Emery’s side, a berth in Europe next season would perhaps be a just reward for his side’s excellent form this season.
After a blip at the start of the campaign, the Villanis found themselves inside the relegation places having lost four games on the bounce, but after replacing Steven Gerrard with Emery in October, the club have clambered their way up the league to seventh place.
They currently sit in the driving seat in the battle for the final European spot, but could have been pushing for a place in the Europa League, had they not lost to Manchester United and Wolves at the start of the month.
They face a tough game against Brighton on Sunday though, while Tottenham, who sit one point behind them in eighth take on relegation strugglers Leeds.
Tottenham are still within a shout of securing European football next season after dropping out of the top-four
Thomas Frank’s side take on Man City this weekend and could jump Spurs and Villa to finish in seventh place
Unai Emery’s side could be rewarded with a Europa Conference League berth if they win at the weekend
It’s been a tough end to the season for Ryan Mason’s side who have really struggled since Antonio Conte left the club, dropping out of the top-four to eighth.
While European football should not be bemoaned, it is a far cry from the expectations of the club’s fanbase, who watched their side crash out of the Champions League but a couple of months ago.
Brentford, meanwhile, could also secure European football, with Thomas Frank’s side flying high again this year, going one better than last seasons 13th place finish, and could snag a spot in Europe with a win against Manchester City.
That will be a tough ask, but considering City’s attention is now on their upcoming two cup finals, the Bees do have a good chance.
Europa Conference League permutations
To finish seventh, Aston Villa need to:
- beat Brighton;
- draw to Brighton and see Tottenham and Brentford both lose; or
- lose to Brighton and see Tottenham and Brentford also lose.
Tottenham can finish seventh if:
- they beat Leeds and Aston Villa lose; or
- they draw with Leeds and Aston Villa and Brentford both lose.
Brentford can finish seventh and qualify for the Europa Conference League if:
- they win against Man City and Villa and Spurs both lose.