World Football

Premier League Faces Potential Title Playoff at Wembley

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  A general view as fans make their way to Wembley Stadium prior to the Heineken Cup Match between Saracens and Ospreys at Wembley Stadium on December 10, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Daniel MoreheadContributor IIIMarch 27, 2012

With two Manchester clubs battling neck-and-neck in the quest for Premier League glory, the previously unthinkable could occur. The Premier League faces an unprecedented situation of the championship being decided at Wembley Stadium.

This situation can only occur if points, goal difference and goals scored are all identical, meaning that such a game has never been previously needed.

Indeed the odds are stacked against such an occurrence even with just eight games of the season remaining, as only point tallies have settled previous league titles. But with the form, twists and turns both clubs have provided in a thrilling season, it is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Ranking is first settled by points accrued over 38 games.

United currently hold a three point advantage over their rivals, but have yet to visit the Etihad Stadium where City hold a 100 percent win record this season. The Blues have triumphed over all 15 visitors to East Manchester, scoring 44 goals and conceding just seven.

This formidable home record combined with their emphatic 6-1 victory in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford on October 23 makes it feasible that points could well be tied come the end of the season.

Goal difference will decide positioning should the two clubs finish level on points. City currently hold a GD of +50 with United on +47.

If United even out the goal difference, then goals scored will decide the title. United currently leads the way with 74, but with City closely trailing with 72.

All these factors have resulted in one of the tightest title races since the Premier League's inception, leading towards the final possibility: a playoff match held in a neutral venue, most likely Wembley, to decide the 2011-12 Premier League Champions due to Rules: Section B-The League-Point 31 in the Premier League handbook.


'If at the end of the Season either the League Champions or the Clubs to be relegated or the question of qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because 2 or more Clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored, the Clubs concerned shall play off one or more deciding League Matches on neutral grounds, the format, timing and venue of which shall be determined by the Board.'

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