It's come down to one match for the 20 best teams in England this term. With Wolverhampton, Birmingham, and either Sheffield or Burnley waiting that only means one thing. Three sides have to go. One side has already been relegated. That club being West Bromwich Albion, who will likely ride the yo-yo right back to the Premier League next year. Not much is up for grabs up-top, but there is a little bit to play for. So I'm here today to preview all 10 matches and tell you the situations and scenarios for all the teams to be safe/qualify for Europe. First off, here's a look at the current table.
1. Arsenal v. Stoke City: This match will be a very open match due to the fact that neither side has much to play for. Arsenal are safely in the new edition of the UEFA Champions League and Stoke City have exceeded expectations thus far by being in 11th place. Cam Rory Delap strike again?
First Fixture Score: Stoke City 2, Arsenal 1
2. Aston Villa v. Newcastle United: This one will not be open at all. It will, however, be cagy because of Newcastle's desperation. Newcastle must win unless they tie and get Hull to lose and then a big headache starts because Middlesbrough could come in there. In any case, Newcastle will likely go for goal and once they get it, they will play hard-nosed defence. Aston Villa will not go easy in this one because they are looking to finish fifth and must win to do so. Newcastle's better players (Owen, Harper) will look to impress future employers.
First Fixture Score: Newcastle 2, Aston Villa 0
3. Blackburn v. West Brom: This match will/should be a very open match as well. Blackburn want to prove that they deserve to be in the league and WBA will look to put on one final show for their traveling fans. It will be an audition for some West Brom players and one for Roque Santa Cruz, maybe?
First Fixture Score: WBA 2, Blackburn 2
4. Fulham v. Everton: This one will be a bit interesting because no one really knows if Fulham want to compete in the Europa League next term or not. Everton are already in because of the FA Cup so they may play youngsters or the first side. Regardless, it should be a decent match.
First Fixture Score: Everton 1, Fulham 0
5. Hull City v. Manchester United: This one is going to bean open one, I believe. The reason being is pretty simple. Hull only played well when they played that careless, free-form, attacking football at the start of the season. Remember, they were 3rd? What a long time that has been. Now they sit in the relegation battle and could go down against a Man. U side that will look to press forward and score tons because the title is theirs. Hull really should attack, but if they don't then they will be beaten and be in trouble for relegation.
First Fixture Score: Man. U 4, Hull City 3
6. Liverpool v. Tottenham: This will be a very good match for two reasons: 1. it will celebrate the Liverpool career of Sami Hyypia and 2. the Hot Spurs beat Liverpool last time. Tottenham would love to get in to the Europa League and this is their chance. Liverpool will have plenty incentive to attack because they are assured second.
First Fixture Score: Tottenham 2, Liverpool 1
7. Manchester City v. Bolton: This will be an open match as well due to the fact that City is hoping to somehow get into the Europa League (via the stupid fairplay spot) and want to show any potential superstar that they can play. Bolton will just look to please their away fans and their players will look to impress possible buyers.
First Fixture Score: Bolton 2, Man. City 0
8. Sunderland v. Chelsea: This will be a cagy one for Sunderland, who know that a win will assure them a spot in next year's Premier League. Although it is unlikely for them to be relegated, they will definitely do their best to push forward, score, and they play some tough defence. Chelsea will likely prepare for the FA Cup by either sitting the starters or starting all of them. Kenywne Jones, Sunderland's striker from Trinidad & Tobago will look to impress bigger clubs (such as Tottenham).
First Fixture Score: Chelsea 5, Sunderland 0
9. West Ham v. Middlesbrough: This might be the worst match of the day to be honest. West Ham has tons of injuries and Middlesbrough can play awful football at times. But they do have a lot on the line, which means that they will likely throw all they forward. If they want to win, Tuncay must play well to keep them from falling out. But in the end, it will likely be too much for Middlesbrough.
First Fixture Score: Middlesbrough 1, West Ham 1
10. Wigan v. Portsmouth: Two middle-of-the road teams will square off in this one and it should be a fun one because of the number of players that are looking to find new teams. These players could include Valencia, Crouch, and possibly Amr Zaki. It will fun to see who moves from these clubs because they both could barren for next year's campaign. Two early relegation favorites, I do believe.
First Fixture Score: Portsmouth 1, Wigan 1
So, here are my predictions for the European spots and the relegation battle.
Europa League: Everton, Aston Villa, Tottenham
Relegated Teams: West Brom, Middlesbrough, Newcastle
What do you guys think? Who will be relegated, who will make it to Europe? Well, it's been Keeper and I'm out.