Wednesday 17 January 2018

Johnson hails "remarkable" season

Brendan Rodgers, left, and Manuel Pellegrini, right, are both hoping to lead their sides to the title
Brendan Rodgers, left, and Manuel Pellegrini, right, are both hoping to lead their sides to the title

A "truly remarkable" Premier League season is building towards a nerve-jangling climax with all the statistics pointing to it being the most thrilling campaign in its history.

The final day of the season could yet see nine of the 10 matches being decisive either in terms of the title race, European qualification, or relegation.

Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea could all be crowned champions on the final day after a campaign that has been the closest since the launch of the Premier League in 1992/93.

Premier League communications director Dan Johnson said: "It has been a truly remarkable season in terms of competitiveness with so many clubs so consistently involved at both ends of the season - there is the potential for nine matches to have something on them on the final day.

"The clubs keep investing in developing and attracting talented players and the crowds and viewing figures show that fans like what they see.

"We always say we want everything to go to the last day of the season, and that might just happen."

Ahead of the penultimate weekend, there are only three points between the three challengers, the smallest margin between first and third place at this stage of the season since 1980/81 when three points for a win was first introduced.

The lead at the top of the league table has already changed hands 22 times this season, a record number of changes, and it could do so again on the final day.

By comparison, the lead only changed hands four times last season when Manchester United strolled to the title.

Should Manchester City pip their two rivals to the title, they will have timed their charge perfectly - they have only spent a handful of days as league leaders during the entire season. Arsenal, who are likely to finish in fourth place, are the club who have spent longest time as league leaders throughout the campaign only to have fallen away in February after several months as pace-setters.

The competitiveness of the league has also been illustrated by the fact that no club had absolutely guaranteed Champions League qualification until they had played 35 out of 38 games - the latest these spots have been up for grabs. By contrast, in 2003/04 and 2004/05, Chelsea qualified for the Champions League with nine games to spare.

It is possible that Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City could all end up on the same points at the end of the season with the title being decided on goal difference - as it was in City's favour two years ago when they an injury-time winner against QPR sealed the title.

It is incredibly tight at the bottom of the table too - depending on results this weekend, the final day could see all clubs in the bottom three still in with a chance of survival.

Press Association

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