May 15, 2013, 8:40 AM EDT
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.
Jul 24, 2014, 11:14 AM EDT
Lampard: “I want to test myself, carry on challenging myself, I want to be that leader and that person on and off the pitch that can make things happen for this club.”
Jul 24, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
The 36-year-old becomes New York City FC’s fourth player.
Jul 24, 2014, 10:25 AM EDT
The Manchester United boss proves that even Premier League training sessions sometimes echo your experiences on a youth travel team.
Jul 24, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT
The Reds striker spends some time with the NBCSN broadcast crew during Liverpool and AS Roma’s ‘Football at Fenway’
Jul 24, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT
The Ecuadorian star winger, 24, joins Gylfi Sigurdsson and Bafetimbi Gomis as players to beef up Garry Monk’s attack
Sporting Club announces plans for $75 million “soccer village” for US Soccer National Training Center
Jul 24, 2014, 9:01 AM EDT
Well, this sounds nice…
Jul 24, 2014, 8:23 AM EDT
The growing mess in Israel carried over onto the soccer fields of Austria, where Maccabi Haifa played a preseason friendly against Lille.
Jul 24, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT
Almost 90,000 fans in Los Angeles watched Manchester United put an old-fashioned punking on their hosts. And then both sides reacted.
Jul 23, 2014, 11:27 PM EDT
Surely one of these clubs enjoyed the sweeter side of this deal and here we set out to see who it was.
Jul 23, 2014, 10:40 PM EDT
Despite starting only 12 Premier League matches last year, James Milner has decided to remain at Manchester City and fight for his place.
Jul 23, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
Catch the San Jose Earthquakes and Chicago Fire live on NBCSN and online via Live Extra tonight at 10:30pm ET.
Jul 23, 2014, 9:43 PM EDT
In a relaxed match featuring over forty players, the difference came in the 89th minute as Marco Borriello knocked home a corner.
Jul 23, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT
Rijeka have come forward to say they “clearly and unequivocally reject” City’s allegation of racism.
Jul 23, 2014, 8:21 PM EDT
Beasley signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Dynamo and becomes the club’s third Designated Player.
Jul 23, 2014, 6:48 PM EDT
Catch Liverpool and AS Roma live on NBCSN and online via Live Extra tonight at 7:00pm ET.
Jul 23, 2014, 5:49 PM EDT
Jurgen Klinsmann has long coveted Zelalem and the 17-year old looks to be next in line to don the Stars & Stripes.
Jul 23, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT
According to Fuchs, Germany and France would be happy to take over if needed.
Jul 23, 2014, 4:21 PM EDT
Sigurdsson, who scored seven goals during a loan spell with Swansea in 2011/12, returns at the Liberty after two seasons at Spurs.
Jul 23, 2014, 2:40 PM EDT
Can the Spanish international be a success at Chelsea? You bet.
Jul 23, 2014, 1:46 PM EDT
Is there anything Balotelli can’t do?
- Frank Lampard delighted to sign for New York City FC, start MLS adventure 0
- Official: Frank Lampard unveiled as New York City FC’s latest signing 2
- Sporting Club announces plans for $75 million “soccer village” for US Soccer National Training Center 4
- “Embarrassed” in LA, thrilled in Manchester: Reactions to 7-0 beatdown 11
- Liverpool 0-1 AS Roma: Marco Borriello winner gives Italians victory at Fenway 0
- Houston Dynamo land USMNT legend DaMarcus Beasley 5