Premier League Scenarios: Top 4, European qualification and relegation

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Heading into the final week of the Premier League let’s take a look at the Top 4, European qualification and the relegation race, as it currently stands.

THE TOP 4 + CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

The current Top 4 of Manchester City (1st, 80 pts), Liverpool (2nd, 80 pts), Chelsea (3rd, 79 pts) and Arsenal (4th, 76 pts) have all qualified for the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League. Their Premier League title chances are as follows.

Even on points with Liverpool, City tops the table due to their superior goal advantage (MC:59, LIV:50). As such, if City wins their final two matches and maintains their goal advantage, they’ll have won their second Premier League title in three years.

For Liverpool to win the title they’ll need to win their final two matches (against Crystal Palace this afternoon and Newcastle on Sunday) and for either City to drop points in one of their final two matches (against Aston Villa on Wednesday and West Ham on Sunday) or to overcome the goal differential. If that happens, it will be Liverpool’s first league title in 24 years.

For Chelsea to have a chance at winning the title they’ll need Liverpool and City to drop points in both of their final two matches. But if Liverpool win today or City win on Wednesday, Chelsea are eliminated from title contention.

Arsenal are out of the title race.

EUROPA LEAGUE

Hull City qualified for next season’s Europa League by virtue of reaching the FA Cup final and Everton join them as the Toffees are guaranteed to finish 5th or 6th in the Premier League table.

If Tottenham win Sunday, they will clinch 6th place and a Europa League spot. For United to clinch 6th they’ll need to win their final two matches and hope Spurs lose on Sunday.

RELEGATION

Cardiff City (20th, 30 pts) and Fulham (19th, 31 pts) have been relegated and there are three clubs who could fill the final drop position: Norwich (18th, 33 pts), Sunderland (17th, 35 pts) and West Brom (16th, 36 pts).

A key match in determining the third relegated side will be Wednesday’s clash between Sunderland and West Brom. If the Black Cats win or draw against the Baggies, Norwich will be realistically, but not technically, relegated (due to far inferior goal difference). If Sunderland earn a minimum of two points in their final two matches, Norwich will be relegated.

West Brom can clinch safety on Wednesday with a win or draw against Sunderland while the Black Cats have to beat the Baggies to clinch.

*Note – Additional scenarios may arise, this post merely outlines the most likely ones.

 

Andorra’s 11-year, 58-game losing streak is over

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Rarely has a scoreless stalemate in front of the home fans tasted so sweet.

But 11 years of nothing but losing will do that to a team.

Andorra’s 0-0 draw with fellow minnow Faroe Islands in World Cup qualifying on Saturday ended its run of 58 competitive defeats.

It was the first point in qualifying for the Pyrenees mountain principality, population 80,000, since a scoreless draw with Finland in 2005.

Faroe Islands finished with 10 men after Joan Edmundsson was booked a second time with 15 minutes to play.

World Cup qualifiers: Dutch disaster persists; Greece hold Belgium

AP Photo/Armando Franca
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A roundup of all of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying fixtures, as Groups A, B and H hit the halfway point in Europe…

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Bulgaria 2-0 Netherlands

Spas Delev scored both Bulgarian goals (5th and 20th minutes) to secure all three points and send Danny Blind’s Netherlands side (7 points) into fourth place in Group A, six points back of leaders France and three back of second-place (qualifying playoffs) Sweden.

17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt was handed his international debut for the Dutch; he was ultimately at fault for both of Delev’s goals; he was subbed off at halftime (as was Georginio Wijnaldum).

Luxembourg 1-3 France

Olivier Giroud scored twice (28th and 77th minutes) for France, and Antoine Griezmann added the other (37th minute – penalty kick), as Les Bleus maintained their three-point lead in Group A. Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s 18-year-old rising star, made his international debut in the 78th minute, when he replaced Dimitri Payet.

Portugal 3-0 Hungary

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the 69th and 70th goals of his international career (36th and 65th minutes), as Portugal (12 points) kept pace with an unbeaten Switzerland side (15 points) which managed a 1-0 victory over Latvia to keep their 100-percent record intact. Andre Silva scored the opener (32nd minute) for Portugal, the 21-year-old Porto striker’s fifth goal in six international appearances.

Belgium 1-1 Greece

Romelu Lukaku‘s 89th-minute rescued a point for Group H leaders Belgium (13 points), but it did little to mask an otherwise uninspiring performance from Roberto Martinez’s side. Kostas Mitroglu put Greece ahead in the first minute of the second half, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis saw his second yellow of the game in the 65th minute, and that was the start of Greece’s unraveling. The draw was just enough to keep Greece (11 points) in second, ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose 5-0 thrashing of Gibraltar moved them to 10 points with a superior goal differential.

Elsewhere in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying

Group A

Sweden 4-0 Belarus

Group B

Switzerland 1-0 Latvia
Andorra 0-0 Faroe Islands

Group H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar
Cyprus 0-0 Estonia

MLS (afternoon) roundup: Historically awful MNUFC spanked again

Photo credit: New England Revolution / Twitter: @NERevolution
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The fourth (partial — playing during international breaks should be banned) MLS Saturday of 2017 is two-thirds of the way complete. A quick roundup of the day’s early games…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

New England Revolution 5-2 Minnesota United

What else needs to be said about Minnesota at this point? What else can be said? The number of goals they’ve conceded in their first four MLS games: 5, 6, 2, and 5. While (we think) a bit of luck will eventually go their way, and they’ll curtail the goals they’re conceding (we can’t be sure anymore), Adrian Heath’s side is on pace to conceded 153 goals this season.

Anyway, New England picked up their first win of the season. The quality (and ease) of goals scored will tell you everything you need to know about Minnesota’s defending.

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

New York Red Bulls 0-0 Real Salt Lake

Five days after firing head coach Jeff Cassar, RSL returned to their inept, toothless ways in a scoreless draw away to New York. Through four games, the Claret and Cobalt have scored all of one goal, and genuinely look the league’s most lifeless side; Minnesota have at least shown signs of quality in the attacking half.

On Saturday, New York created the majority of the game’s best chances — a pair of shots from distance, masterfully saved by deputy goalkeeper Matt VanOekel — but the chance that will live in the memories of RSL fans for a lifetime came and went in agonizing fashion.

Albanian federation denounces “extremist acts” of their fans in Italy

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TIRANA, Albania (AP) Albania’s soccer federation has strongly denounced the incident that halted the World Cup Group G qualifier with Italy for nearly nine minutes on Friday.

During the match, which was won by Italy, 2-0, a group calling itself Illyrian Elite threw flares onto the pitch.

“Such totally extremist actions from the grouping Illyrian Elite have nothing to do with the excellent Albanian fans” who were distinguished in the EURO 2016 finals in France for their friendship and camaraderie in their festivities, the statement added.

The federation said an coach Gianni De Biasi also was “upset by the flares,” adding that during five years he has been in charge “I’ve seen something that’s never happened before.”