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.

 

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

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Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)

Report: Man City adding Mendy to continue backline restoration

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Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.

[ MORE: Alvaro Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.

Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.

Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.