The 2011-12 English top flight campaign has been one of pure brilliance, with too many twists and turns to remember. The top has been just as thrilling and captivating as the bottom – and the best thing is it’s not just over quite yet as there promises to be more drama on Sunday.
THE RACE FOR THE TITLE – CITY OR UNITED?
What a fantastic title race we have endured this season. City have been so superior for much of it, and look set to clinch their first league title since 1968 as they prepare to host relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils looked to have found a match in Roberto Mancini’s side and they will travel to Sunderland hoping their fierce rivals can slip up. City’s tie with Rangers isn’t going to be an ample one; one would be foolish to think so. The visitors are in the thick of a relegation scrap and will no doubt head to The Etihad with no fear. I expect United to comfortably beat Sunderland, though – so it’s all to play for.
WHO WILL CLAIM THE LAST CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SPOTS?
Despite Chelsea suffering defeat at Anfield in midweek, they can still qualify for the Champions League if they secure victory in their Champions League final against Bayern Munich on 29 May. Arsenal face a tough trip to West Brom, a place where they could only manage a draw last season. The Gunners should be able to confirm qualification by 5pm BST on Sunday, but you never know with the inconsistency that dribbles through the team.
Spurs will fancy their chances at The Lane against a Fulham side with nothing really to play for. If they can produce the same kind of display like the one against Blackburn in their last home outing – then three points should be no problem.
And finally, Newcastle – the surprise package of this season – will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing last away game in which they lost to Wigan 4-0. The Magpies have everything going for them – with manager Alan Pardew winning the league’s Manager of the Season award earlier in the week and striker Papiss Cisse in tremendous form. Will they be able to break down a credible, stern Everton outfit though?
THE RELEGATION DOGFIGHT – JUST WHO WILL DROP?
It’s just as nerve-racking towards the rear end of the division as well as the summit. With Wolves and Blackburn already down – it leaves just one more team to make the drop with Bolton, QPR and Aston Villa all involved. Owen Coyle’s men have a very simple job: emulate the result against Stoke before Christmas, when they thumped their opponents 5-0. Of course, that is easier said than done but Bolton know the magnitude of the encounter and will need a top-level performance if they are to survive.
QPR will need to pull off a miracle at Manchester City, and many including myself just can’t see it happening. If Bolton can win at the Britannia Stadium and the R’s suffer defeat at The Etihad then the latter face Championship football next term. And although Aston Villa are not 100% safe, they know a point will do against the Canaries which will guarantee top flight football for yet another season at Villa Park. It really is nail biting stuff, and I for one cannot wait for all the action to start.
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Published with permission from Premiership Flavour.