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There's nothing quite like Match Day 38 in the English Premier League. All 20 teams will be on the pitch at the same time, and hopes of championships and European positions as well as the crushing blows of relegation are all handed out in a span of two hours of soccer across 10 different NBC Universal networks.
Of course, before we get to Match Day 38, there's still plenty of action going on this Tuesday and Wednesday.
West Ham and Manchester United will meet in the last ever match at Boleyn Ground on Tuesday night. The Hammers are still in a good position to secure a spot in the Europa League next year, but they mustn't slip in this one, or they'll risk falling out of the Top 7 with Liverpool charging hard.
Speaking of the Reds, they've got a date with Chelsea in what no one figured would be a mid-table battle at the end of the campaign. A win for Liverpool would put it in the Top 7 with just one match on Sunday to play.
Sunderland will hope to end the relegation discussion for another year on Wednesday at home against Everton. If the Black Cats can get three points in that fixture, they'll officially be safe and will relegate Norwich City and Newcastle to the Championship. The Canaries are holding onto their last ditch effort for safety, and they'll have to beat Watford in their home finale to have any chance at survival.
Once we get to the last day of the season though, there will be plenty left to decide.
The big battle will be for the spots in the Top 4. Finishing in the Top 3 will assure a team of reaching the group stage of the Champions League next year. The fourth place finisher will have to engage in a home-and-home playoff to get into the group stage.
Heading into the last week of the year, Arsenal has the inside track for sure. The Gunners have 68 points and the easiest of the last matches of the year against relegated Aston Villa, easily the worst team in the top flight this year. A point from that match is good enough to ensure a third place finish.
Manchester City is sitting on 65 points with a match left at suddenly plucky Swansea City. Even if the Citizens get the three points in that fixture though, nothing is guaranteed. It's Manchester United which has the inside track to that last Champions League spot now. The Red Devils will get there if they beat West Ham on the road on Tuesday and Bournemouth at home on Sunday.
With both Man U and Man City guaranteed spots in European soccer for next year, there is at least one, and potentially two spots left to fill in the Europa League. The discrepancy won't be decided for another week when Manchester United plays against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Final. Should Crystal Palace hoist the trophy, it will head to the Europa League and keep the seventh place finisher out of Europe. Should Manchester United win it though, the seventh place finisher will head to the Europa League.
Southampton might be in sixth right now, but the Saints have to worry about both West Ham and Liverpool playing earlier in the week. One would like to think the Saints will need to beat Crystal Palace at home in their finale to have any hope of European soccer. The Hammers visit Stoke City on Sunday, while Liverpool takes on West Brom in its last match of the campaign.
If Sunderland does slip on Wednesday, the relegation war will be in full swing on the last day of the year. Watford hosts the Black Cats, while Newcastle will host a Tottenham team which looks nothing like the second best team in England right now. If both teams slip on the last day of the season, the door could be open for Norwich to make a great escape. The Canaries might have the easiest match left at that point against Everton on the road against a team which is set to sack Roberto Martinez at the end of the year in all likelihood.
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