Battle for last CL spot


As the Barclay’s Premier League (BPL) winds up tomorrow and with everything settled, including the relegated trio of Norwich, Newcastle and Aston Villa, it is the last Champions League spot that remains to be settled.

The two Manchester teams are in running to fill the last position. Arsenal (68 points) who are habitual winners of this position, have improved this season as they have a chance to finish third or in second position if they win against relegated Aston Villa. It will take their tally to 71, a point above Tottenham (70) who travel to relegated Newcastle United.

Tottenham have a chance to finish above Arsenal for the first time since 1995—before Arsene Wenger was appointed manager—if they win against Newcastle. Tottenham have looked spooked since losing their title challenge after draws against Chelsea and West Brom which was followed by a 2-1 loss to Southampton last week. But nonetheless it has been a successful campaign for them as they have secured Champions League football. Chairperson Daniel Levy decided to reward Mauricio Pochettino with a five-year contract on Thursday.

But the battle is between United and City. Man United blew their chance on Tuesday when they gave away a 2-1 lead at Upton Park to lose 3-2 against West Ham. It was an important match for both clubs as the Hammers were playing their last match on the stadium. The Hammers (62) showed much hunger and won but failed to secure a Champions league place because even if they win tomorrow against Stoke City they will be on 65 points level with fourth-placed Man City but with inferior goal difference.

United (63) now need to win against Bournemouth and pray that City lose at Swansea. City need to be at their best as Swansea have been on fire in their last two matches beating Liverpool 3-1 before humbling West Ham 4-1 last week.

There is another matter to be settled among three ruthless netbusters for the golden boot tomorrow. Tottenham’s Harry Kane (25), Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy (24) and Man City’s Aguero (24) all have a chance to grab the golden boot.

Congratulations to Middlesbrough (2nd) and Burnley (champions) on securing automatic promotion from the championship. The third team is yet to be decided through play-offs that involve four teams: third placed Brighton will play sixth placed Sheffield Wednesday while fourth placed Hull City will play fifth placed Derby County and the winners will play in the final. n

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