With three weeks remaining in the Premier League it’s all to play for in the title chase, race to qualify for Europe, and bid to avoid relegation.
Below is your primer for the major scenarios to be aware of going into Matchweek 35.
The Premier League title chase is down to three clubs: Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City.
Below are the scenarios for all three clubs.
I. Liverpool are the only club in control of their title opportunity
- If Liverpool win their remaining 3 matches (including win v. Chelsea on Sunday), they win the title.
- If Liverpool earn 7 points (2 wins, 1 draw) in their remaining 3 matches, they win the title.
- The earliest Liverpool can clinch the title is May 5 at Crystal Palace. If Liverpool win v. Chelsea and City drop points v. Palace on Sunday, Liverpool can clinch the title with a win at Palace next Monday, regardless off City’s result at Everton next Saturday. If Liverpool win v. Chelsea and City lose v. Palace on Sunday, Liverpool can clinch the title with a win or draw at Palace next Monday, regardless off City’s result at Everton next Saturday.
- If City continue winning, Liverpool cannot clinch the title until the final day of the season (May 11).
- NOTE: If Liverpool lose v. Chelsea and City lose or draw v. Palace, Liverpool still control their title chances.
II. If Liverpool lose v. Chelsea and City win at Palace, no club would be in full control of their title opportunity. Both City and Liverpool could reach a maximum of 86 points, in which case the title would be decided by the goal difference tie-breaker
- The above is the only scenario this weekend in which Liverpool lose control of winning the title outright on points.
- City (+56) currently have a better goal difference than Liverpool (+52).
III. There is no scenario in which Chelsea can finish the weekend in control of their title chances
- If Chelsea lose v. Liverpool on Sunday, they are mathematically eliminated from title contention.
- If Chelsea draw or win v. Liverpool on Sunday, they would still need “help” from BOTH City and Liverpool to win the title.
I. Thus far only Liverpool have qualified for next season’s UEFA Champions League. Chelsea and City could each qualify this weekend, under the following scenarios
- Chelsea can guarantee a Champions League berth with: a) a win or draw v. Liverpool and Everton loss, or b) a win v. Liverpool and Everton loss or draw, or c) a win v. Liverpool and Arsenal loss or draw.
- Manchester City can guarantee a Champions League berth with: a) a win and Arsenal loss, or, b) a win and Everton loss or draw.
II. Tottenham will be eliminated from Champions League contention under the following scenarios
- A loss v. Stoke City or an Arsenal win v. Newcastle.
- NOTE: A loss or an Arsenal win also guarantees that Tottenham will finish below Arsenal for the 19th straight season.
III. Europa League Qualification
- Both 5th and 6th place finishers will earn a Europa League spot for next season.
- Everton are guaranteed at least a Europa League spot with a win or draw v. Southampton or a Manchester United draw or loss v. Norwich City.
I. No club can be guaranteed relegation this weekend
II. Mathematical safety entering Saturday is 42 points
- If West Ham win and Norwich or Sunderland drop points then West Ham are guaranteed safety.
- Bottom-3 clubs’ finishing points if they all win their remaining matches: Cardiff City (39 pts), Fulham (39 pts), Sunderland (41 pts).
- NOTE: Sunderland host Cardiff on Sunday, so both cannot win remainder of their matches.
The managers are meeting the media ahead of this week’s Premier League matches, and many eyes are trained on one specific match-up.
Chelsea and Manchester United meet on Sunday, the first time Jose Mourinho will manage against his old side since his unceremonious exit last winger.
[ USWNT: Holiday has tumor removed ]
Mourinho, of course, led Chelsea to the 2014-15 title only to see a miserable start to the following campaign. He was hired at Manchester United this summer, but Conte thinks Mourinho’s Chelsea laurels have earned him some love from Stamford Bridge.
“I have great respect for Mourinho. He deserves a good reception. He was an important man for Chelsea and wrote part of the club’s story.”
Conte also touched on Paul Pogba‘s decision to head back to Old Trafford. The manager guided the French midfielder during their time at Juventus.
“It was Paul Pogba’s dream was to return to Manchester United. I wish him well, but only after this game.”
Conte said John Terry is available to return for Chelsea, and that could be invaluable against a big, strong forward like United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With the Red Devils having played Thursday, Conte will like his chances a bit more than usual.
The bracket is set for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, and ensures that at least one MLS vs. Liga MX semifinal will happen next Spring.
No. 1 seed New York Red Bulls will cross the continent to meet No. 8 Vancouver Whitecaps, with the winner moving on to face the victor of Mexico’s Tigres UANL vs. Pumas UNAM.
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The possibility of an all-Liga MX or all-MLS final still exists, with Pachuca and FC Dallas on opposite sides of the bracket. Arabe Unido gives Panama hope for its first CCL semifinalist, while Saprissa can be Costa Rica’s first semifinalist since 2011.
Of the remaining teams, only Pachuca has won a title in the CCL era (2008-present). Tigres lost in the 2016 final, the only other team to make it that far.
New York Red Bulls (1) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (8)
Tigres UANL (4) vs. Pumas UNAM (5)
Arabe Unido (2) vs. FC Dallas (7)
Pachuca (3) vs. Saprissa (4)
The first legs will be played in late February, and the bright side to the intra-league quarters will be one MLS side waiting a round before facing a more in-form club playing a traditional season schedule (though that’s an overblown excuse at this point).
Some fans don’t care much for the tournament, while others — myself included — are extremely keen to see an MLS team win the CCL and represent North America in the Club World Cup, where it can get a high profile litmus test in a serious competition (Real Madrid beat Cruz Azul 4-0 in a 2014 semifinal).
World Cup champion Lauren Holiday has had a brain tumor removed, one month after giving birth.
Holiday’s husband, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans, announced that his pregnant wife was diagnosed with an operable tumor in September, and Lauren Holiday has publicly thanked fans for support while requesting prayers.
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The Holidays welcomed their first child earlier this month, and Jrue left the Pelicans preseason to help his wife.
The BBC added this tidbit:
Unbelievably as a three-year-old, she had open-heart surgery to repair a defect and went on to become one of the world’s most respected football players.
Get well soon, Lauren.
Carlos Lizarazo’s ridiculous rocket shook rain off the net in an aesthetically pleasing CONCACAF Champions League goal on Thursday.
The Cruz Azul loanee struck a vicious shot for FC Dallas’ fifth goal, which boosted out of the No. 8 seed for the quarterfinals after a 5-2 win at Suchitepéquez in Guatemala.
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Lizarazo, 25, had two goals in 10 appearances for FCD heading into the game, with both coming in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.