Premier League Survival Sunday: Game-by-Game Guide and All You Need to Know
Now read and read carefully folks, because this can get a little complicated.
The top three teams in the Premier League automatically qualify for the Champions League next season, with the fourth-place team entering the Champions League at the playoffs stage.
The Premier League then awards three Europa League places to the Carling Cup winners, FA Cup winners and the fifth-place team in the league.
Chelsea can finish no higher—or lower—than sixth, but if they win their Champions League final against Bayern Munich on May 19th, they will automatically qualify for next season's competition at the expense of the fourth-place English club.
Said fourth-placed club would get bumped into the Europa League instead, and the fifth-place team would assume the vacant Europa League spot made available by Chelsea's non-use of their FA Cup win allocation.
The bottom of the Premier League table is a little simpler, with the lowest three teams relegated into the Championship.
I'm sure that all makes perfect sense, but I shall endeavour to explain what could happen to various teams as I write about each fixture this upcoming Sunday.
Chelsea vs. Blackburn Rovers
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Chelsea vs. Blackburn Rovers marks one of the day's less interesting fixtures.
Chelsea can no longer qualify for next season's Champions League through their league position, and their FA Cup final victory means that they have already ensured at least Europa League football next term.
Win, lose or draw—Chelsea are assured of a sixth-place finish.
Opponents Blackburn Rovers have already been doomed to relegation ,which all comes together to suggest that this will be an opportunity to give some of the fringe players a chance for a run-out.
Everton vs. Newcastle
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Newcastle can finish no lower than their current fifth-place position, but they could finish as high as third if results go their way elsewhere.
Only third place would guarantee Champions League football next season, as fourth place would be dependent on Chelsea's result in the Champions League final.
Newcastle will be hoping current third-place Arsenal, and current fourth-place Tottenham will both slip up.
Whatever happens, the Geordies will at least have Europa League football to look forward to.
Manchester City vs. Queens Park Rangers
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Both Manchester clubs are level on points going into the final game of the season, but City enjoy a goal difference of eight over their neighbours.
Norwich City vs. Aston Villa
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Norwich City are well clear of danger and sit nicely in mid-table.
Aston Villa, on the other hand, could still technically be relegated, but it would take an act of god.
The Villains enjoy three points and a 17-goal cushion over Bolton Wanderers, which should be more than enough to make sure they are playing in the top flight next season—no matter what their result on Sunday.
A point would make it mathematically impossible for Villa to go down—but they don't really need it.
Stoke City vs. Bolton Wanderers
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Stoke City are well clear of relegation with a chance of finishing 11th if results work in their favour.
Bolton Wanderers have it all to do as they currently sit in 18th position—the last relegation spot.
Bolton's only realistic chance of survival is to hope that they can get three points against Stoke, and that QPR lose against Manchester City.
Anything less than a victory for the Wanderers will condemn them—and even then it may not be enough.
Sunderland vs. Manchester United
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Sunderland are 11th with a possible 10th-place finish on their minds.
Manchester United, on the other hand, still have an outside shot at the Premier League crown, but need neighbours Manchester City to falter.
If Manchester City draw or lose, United could snatch first place with a win over Sunderland.
If Manchester City win, United would need to beat their result by eight clear goals to take the title—a feat which is highly improbable.
Swansea City vs. Liverpool
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Swansea City vs. Liverpool will be a throwaway game for both teams.
Swansea are currently enjoying their mid-table success, whilst Liverpool's only achievement on the day could be going above neighbours Everton.
Bragging rights are the only thing at stake in this one with Liverpool having already qualified for the Europa League by way of their Carling Cup win.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Fulham
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Fourth-place Tottenham will have one eye on third-place Arsenal's result and the other on fifth-place Newcastle's come Sunday.
The three teams could all yet change positions with only third place guaranteeing Champions League football next season.
If you haven't figured it out by now, fourth-place European football would be dictated by Chelsea's Champions League final result.
Fulham have had a good season but have been miserable away from home under Martin Jol.
Could this be Clint Dempsey's final game for Fulham?
West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal
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West Brom are playing for mid-table mediocrity whilst Arsenal will be fighting Tottenham and Newcastle for the coveted third place.
A victory for Arsenal is the only result the Gunners need concern themselves with if they want Champions League football next season.
The pressure will be on if Newcastle or Tottenham score an early goal, but the form of Robin van Persie this season suggests they'll have nothing to worry about in attack.
Wigan Athletic vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
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Expect this one to see bit-part players going through the motions—in other words, give it a wide berth.
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