Tuesday 24 October 2017

5 talking points ahead of the Premier League's final weekend

Tottenham striker Harry Kane is in pole position to win the Golden Boot award for the second successive season
Tottenham striker Harry Kane is in pole position to win the Golden Boot award for the second successive season

The Premier League comes to a conclusion on Sunday with title and relegation issues already resolved.

However, the race for a top-four spot is going right to the finish line on what could be a dramatic afternoon.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the main talking points as the 2016-17 Premier League season is consigned to history.

WHO WILL MAKE THE TOP FOUR?

Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal are involved in a three-way fight for two Champions League places. Third-placed City need only a point at Watford to book their place, and even if they lost they would only be denied by Liverpool beating Middlesbrough and an Arsenal victory over Everton producing a five-goal swing. Liverpool also have their destiny in their own hands as three points will secure Champions League football for only the second time in eight years. Draw or lose, though, and Arsenal would be ready to pounce. The Gunners are the outsiders to be dining at European football's top table next season, but four consecutive wins suggests Arsene Wenger's side have not given up the chase just yet.

CAN CHELSEA CELEBRATE IN STYLE?

On the face of it, Chelsea's motivation levels might have dipped after a fifth title in 12 years was confirmed by a 1-0 win at West Brom last weekend. It was a very unChelsea-like performance on Monday as Antonio Conte's champions were guilty of some haphazard defending in beating Watford 4-3. But Chelsea have every reason to finish the season in style at home to relegated Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. Another win would be their 30th of the campaign, a Premier League best in a 38-game campaign. Chelsea currently hold the record of 29 set in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons under Jose Mourinho. The record would provide another feather in Conte's cap, and raise yet more cheer before the Premier League trophy presentation at the end of the game.

WHO WILL WIN THE GOLDEN BOOT?

Harry Kane's four-goal salvo as Tottenham thrashed Leicester 6-1 on Thursday night put the England striker in pole position to win the Golden Boot for the second successive season. Not bad for a player who has missed three months of the season through injury. Kane goes into Spurs' final game at Hull with 26 league goals to his name, two ahead of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku and three more than Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez. The 23-year-old scored 25 last season and has become only the fifth player in the Premier League era to reach that mark in successive seasons. Kane would be the first player since Robin van Persie in 2013 to win the Golden Boot in successive seasons.

WILL WE RECOGNISE THE MAN UNITED TEAM?

TV pundit Alan Hansen famously once said that Manchester United would not win "anything with kids" and Jose Mourinho seems set to put that theory to the test against Crystal Palace. The United manager has Wednesday's Europa League final against Ajax on his mind, with a place in next season's Champions League at stake in Stockholm. Having complained that the Palace fixture should have been brought forward to allow United extra preparation time for the final, Mourinho is set to hand youth its chance at Old Trafford. Joel Pereira, Demetri Mitchell, Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe, Matty Willock, Josh Harrop and Zachary Dearnley are all in line to make the matchday party, and for many of them it could prove to be the biggest afternoon of their careers.

WHO WILL BE SAYING GOODBYE?

The final day of the season is always a time for fond farewells and the odd tear or two - and Sunday will be no exception. John Terry will end his 22-year stay at Stamford Bridge by playing his 717th Chelsea game, lifting the Premier League trophy and making a farewell speech to the fans. We wait to see if Arsene Wenger and Wayne Rooney are saying goodbye to the league, even if they still have cup finals to come. Watford's Walter Mazzari is on his way and Hull, Middlesbrough and Sunderland are definitely bidding bon voyage for now, although Harry Maguire, Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe will probably end up staying somewhere. And will Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, Riyad Mahrez, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Michael Keane be bowing out for their current clubs? A busy summer awaits.

Press Association

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