Hello and welcome to live coverage of the final day of the 2020-21 Premier League. It looks like we might have made it to the end of this bizarro, Covid-squashed season, but first there’s one last bit of brain-busting business: a bumper Clockwatch involving T-E-N simultaneous Premier League games.
For today’s assignment, dear reader, you will need the following: a minimum of five screens, three pairs of eyes, an as-it-stands league table, industrial strength headache pills, a sick bucket and, depending on who you support, the world’s smallest violin. And while Guardian News and Media takes no legal responsibility for etc etc, you might want to have an emergency bottle of homebrow turps to hand in case things get somewhat overwrought.
The title race and the relegation battle were decided a while ago, but an almighty scramble for European places should keep us on the edge of our seat – and of sanity – for the afternoon. There will be goals galore, always is on the final day, not to mention plenty of goodwill and schmaltz as the Premier League says farewell to, among others, Sergio Aguero, Wes Morgan, Roy Hodgson, Nuno Espirito Santo and Sam Allardyce.
The battle for the Golden Boot (Salah 22, Kane 22, Bamford 16) is worth keeping one of of those pairs of eyes on. Manchester United have the chance to become only the fourth team in English top-flight history to stay unbeaten away from home all season. And around 9,000 Leeds fans will be at Elland Road to pay tribute to a team who in the last nine months have made the world an infinitely better place for neutrals, never mind those who adore them.
We’ll try to keep up with all ten games, though some of the less meaningful matches will almost certainly fall by the wayside when the goals start flying in. Our main focus will be on the five games that affect the European places [six games, Smyth, you’re all over the show already – ed].
At least one of the Big Six (RIP) will miss out on qualification for a competition they tried to kill off five weeks ago. Not since a tearful Janice Soprano asked where Richie Aprile was buried, less than 24 hours ago after plugging him with lead, has there been such a dramatic about-face.
We’ll come to the permutations in a while; in short, there are five European places to be shared between seven teams. Not even the Spice Girls could make that one work, so two will miss out.
Here’s the full fixture list (all 4pm kick-offs, games affecting the race for Europe in bold):
- Arsenal v Brighton
- Aston Villa v Chelsea
- Fulham v Newcastle
- Leeds v West Bromwich Albion
- Leicester v Tottenham
- Liverpool v Crystal Palace
- Manchester City v Everton
- Sheffield United v Burnley
- West Ham v Southampton
- Wolves v Man Utd
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