The 2018/19 Premier League season comes to an end this Sunday, but the biggest question is who eventually wins the title?
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side are still basking on the euphoria of their historic Champions League comeback against Spanish champions, Barcelona and will be aiming to crown the season with at least a trophy, but they must overcome the ‘animal’ in Wolves who are seeking Europa League qualification.
Following a shocking Champions League exit in the hands of Spurs, Manchester City now have their future in their hands as they battle low rated Brighton that has nothing to play for.
Here, we take a look at five critical upsets or events to expect in this weekend’s fixtures as this season’s Premier League camping reaches a climax
Can Brighton change the destination of Premier League title?
Brighton are already safe, but can make a bold statement when they face Manchester City, a side that is desperately in need of a victory to seal their title hope.
“They are fighting for the Premier League and are going to do their utmost to do it,” said Lewis Dunk.
“We are just going out as professional footballers to win a game as you would do every week.”
This should make this the single most predictable game of the week, and in all likelihood it will be, but still there must be some doubt. People have argued that the profusion of English clubs in major European finals this season proves that this, as many have always insisted, is the greatest league in the world, but Brighton would produce an argument much more compelling than the achievements of the elite if this Brighton could produce a performance that could change the destination of the title.
Liverpool and the daunting against Wolves
Jurgen Klopp’s task this week is to encourage and convince his players that Brighton can sabotage Manchester City title hope.
After this week’s events in the Champions League, it won’t be very difficult to keep players believing that a late twist is possible in the Premier League too. So Liverpool must rally their forces, ignore their knocks and niggles and overcome opponents. Wolves are a very tidy team who are looking to finish a successful season on a high. Nuno Espírito Santo’s men have already won at Tottenham this season and taken points away to Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. Liverpool have a mighty job on their hands, even tougher than the win over Barcelona.
Tottenham keeping one eye on events at Turf Moor
Following their heroics against Ajax on Wednesday night, Tottenham’s players could be forgiven for being both physically and mentally bottomed out when they host Everton, and given their recent Premier League form, it would be no great shock if they lose to a Marco Silva side that are signing off for the season with a flourish. There would be no shame in that whatsoever, as long as they do not lose too heavily. Arsenal travel to Burnley knowing they need an doubtful eight-goal swing to steal fourth place from their north London rivals, but as events this week have served to remind us impossible is nothing in football.
Burnley have chance to capitalise on Arsenal’s weakness
Arsenal have won their final league game of the season in each of the past seven years, and need to do so again to prevent a depressing conclusion to their domestic campaign. Since April Fool’s Day they have won one an extremely unconvincing 1-0 victory over 10-man Watford, drawn one and lost four league games, surrendering a place in next season’s Champions League. They will still earn a spot in that competition if they win the Europa League at the end of the month, which might lead them to take a disappointingly sober approach to this game instead of chasing the unlikely result that might still allow them to leapfrog Tottenham into fourth place – which adds up to victory by a minimum of six goals while hoping that Everton do them a favour at White Hart Lane.
Burnley could take advantage of the Gunners’ current frailty: the last time they beat Arsenal in the league was in 1974.
Cardiff could be ideal opponents for Solskjær’s strugglers
Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s first match as Manchester United manager was at Cardiff in December, where his new charges stormed to a 5-1 victory and launched themselves upon a run of 10 wins in 12 unbeaten league games.
Those were happy days, innocent days, days ripe with possibility and optimism, days left very firmly in the past since Arsenal ended that run with a 2-0 win in March. United have now won two of eight matches in the league, and should on the balance of play have lost both of those as well.
Solskjær’s former employers, whose team came closer to securing a second successive top-flight season than anyone was predicting in August, even if they still did not come very close. Another goal glut would launch United into the summer on if not a wave of optimism then at least a gentle ripple, but consecutive failures against relegated sides – following last week’s draw at Huddersfield – would ensure optimism remains in exceedingly short supply.