Premier League Talking Points
There is unfinished business at both ends of the table going into the final day of the season.
Manchester City will battle to add another page to their historic title-winning annals of 2017/18 as the Premier League campaign comes to a close on Sunday. Here, Press Association Sport examines key talking points ahead of the final round of top-flight fixtures.
New champions targeting yet more records
Not satisfied with setting new record points and goals hauls for a single Premier League season, Pep Guardiola will drive Manchester City on to yet more history this weekend. The Citizens can become the first side to hit 100 points in a Premier League campaign with victory at Southampton on Sunday, and boss Guardiola expects nothing less. City surpassed Chelsea’s 95-point record Premier League tally from 2004/05 with their midweek 3-1 home win over Brighton, a match which also took them to 105 goals, ahead of another Chelsea record – that of 103 goals notched in the 2009/10 campaign.
Swansea’s relegation fight all-but over even before the final fixtures
"We’ll see what happens with Huddersfield, but we must win against Stoke for ourselves, the fans and the club."https://t.co/273y68Tnpb— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) May 9, 2018
That Swansea host already-relegated Stoke in their final game of the season comes as scant comfort to supporters this week. And that is because the Swans threw away their best chance of avoiding demotion with their 1-0 home loss to relegation rivals Southampton in midweek. Southampton might be hosting runaway champions Manchester City, but now do so with a three-point advantage and comfortably superior goal difference to boot. Swansea are effectively already down then, leaving Sunday’s Stoke clash a potentially painful experience for their supporters.
Fourth place still up for grabs
No sooner had Chelsea thought they had stolen a surprise march on fourth place and the final Champions League qualification berth, than the Blues slipped to a home draw with Huddersfield. Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Liverpool looked to have swiped Antonio Conte’s men the chance to tiptoe back above the Reds to qualify for Europe’s top table. But then Conte and company suffered a frustrating 1-1 Stamford Bridge draw with Huddersfield on Wednesday, securing the visitors’ Premier League safety. So Chelsea must now hope Liverpool slip up at home to Brighton, while also chasing a victory at Newcastle themselves. Liverpool clearly have designs on landing this term’s Champions League title, given their fast-approaching final against Real Madrid, but remain desperate to tie down that fourth-place finish.
The longest goodbye is ready for the final curtain
All the encores are done, and this time, without question, Arsene Wenger will exit stage left – for good – at Arsenal. His 22 years at the helm will likely never be repeated in English football, and Gunners fans have finally been able to wave him off with diminished recrimination after several angst-filled years of failing to reprise previous heights. Huddersfield will play host to Wenger’s final, final farewell, and after their post-match libations to toast securing their Premier League safety with Wednesday’s draw at Chelsea, Sunday’s clash could well be little more than a processional atmosphere for all concerned.