May 15, 2013, 8:40 AM EST
Just when we thought everything had been settled, the Premier League hit us with this beauty this morning.
The EPL confirmed that there will be a third-place play-off match between Chelsea and Arsenal, if the two sides finish with an identical record.
That could likely happen with one game left to play in the season. If Chelsea draw 0-0 with Everton and Arsenal win 2-1 at Newcastle on Sunday, the clubs will finish level on points, goals scored and goal differential.
Such a tie has never occurred in EPL history.
The reason why this is such a big deal, is that the club who finish in third-place get an automatic spot in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League. While the side that finish in fourth have to qualify for the group stages.
Of course, Chelsea have the advantage going into the final weekend of EPL action. The Blues are at home against Everton and could be on a high, depending on the result of this afternoon’s Europa League final against Benfica in Amsterdam. However, Arsenal travel to struggling Newcastle United, knowing that a win would secure their place in the top four ahead of bitter North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
So, what are the odds of this incredibly unlikely scenario happening?
Well I predict that Chelsea will beat Everton and the whole factor will be a non-issue. However, the Toffees will be playing their final game under David Moyes and won’t want to go out with a whimper. It is conceivable that Everton will be hard to break down and after a grueling European Cup final just days before, Chelsea’s players may be jaded and put in a below par performance.
Arsenal have not lost in nine games. Winning seven and drawing the other two. You would think a win against Newcastle is a certainty.
Either way, it is great to have one matter unresolved on the final day of the EPL season. A straight play-off for third after the season has finished would be a delightful bonus, before the long EPL-less summer ensues.
Dec 21, 2014, 7:40 PM EST
Jeremy Menez has done a fantastic job as AC Milan’s primary attacker, and he’s primarily aiming for the French national team call-up.
Dec 21, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
Ally McCoist has left Scottish Championship team Rangers, as the club has recognized the former star striker is now on “gardening leave.”
Dec 21, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
Catch up on Premier League Round 17 action from this Sunday.
Dec 21, 2014, 4:55 PM EST
According to Brendan Rogers, Liverpool’s prime attacker, Daniel Sturridge, will make his return from a multi-month injury in early January.
Dec 21, 2014, 4:05 PM EST
Sunderland winger Adam Johnson on game-winner and Tyne-Wear derby triumphs: “Three years in a row, they must hate me here!”
Dec 21, 2014, 3:39 PM EST
Brendan Rodgers gives his thoughts after a 2-2 draw despite what he called “dominance” on the ball.
Dec 21, 2014, 3:12 PM EST
With polarizing halves separating the teams, Arsene Wenger said a draw was the correct result based on performance.
Dec 21, 2014, 2:29 PM EST
Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to bring a grudge with him to Morocco.
Dec 21, 2014, 1:44 PM EST
With Newcastle yielding late, Alan Pardew thinks he may have left his team a little too exposed as the clock ticked towards the final minute.
Dec 21, 2014, 1:08 PM EST
Martin Skrtel returned from a nasty injury and took full advantage of the resulting stopptage time.
Dec 21, 2014, 11:58 AM EST
A day to forget for the American central defender in Germany’s top flight.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:26 AM EST
The boyhood Newcastle fan scored at St. James Park for the third year in a row as Sunderland stole the Tyne-Wear derby late.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:16 AM EST
Raheem Sterling looks to be the lone attacking option for Liverpool as Brendan Rodgers has left both his available strikers on the bench.
Dec 21, 2014, 8:52 AM EST
A magnetizing first touch leads to a meaningless but nonetheless beautiful goal by the man who gives us magic weekly.
Dec 21, 2014, 7:53 AM EST
The heated Tyne-Wear derby has brought us goals and fireworks of many kinds, and will be no different today as Sunderland looks to win four in a row over Newcastle for the first time ever.
Dec 20, 2014, 10:54 PM EST
Howard doesn’t think Lampard will start the MLS season with NYCFC, although he says he should.
Dec 20, 2014, 9:51 PM EST
Doneil Henry is reportedly close to joining West Ham, which is a surprise, to say the least.
Dec 20, 2014, 8:46 PM EST
After logging lots of miles the last 16 months, Raheem Sterling is going to get a short rest very soon.
Dec 20, 2014, 8:04 PM EST
NYCFC won’t be calling the Bronx home, but they’re still hopeful a deal can be done elsewhere in the city.
Dec 20, 2014, 7:13 PM EST
Arsene Wenger says he’s not cheap, and that you should join him for a night out if you don’t believe him.
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