West Ham v Aston Villa and six other final-day Premier League matches that could matter the most
The title will have been won and some teams may already have been relegated, but there should still be crucial final-day Premier League games this season.
It may only be February but here we assess which games on Matchday 38 could have plenty riding on them.
Burnley v Brighton and Hove Albion
Brighton’s trip to Turf Moor could be the most important match for the club in a number of years if Premier League safety is on the line, and there remains every chance it could go down to the wire for Graeme Potter’s Seagulls. For Albion’s sake, let’s hope it doesn’t because they have not beaten Burnley in their last eight attempts, stretching back to 2013. Jeff Hendrick’s classy 90th-minute equaliser when the two sides met at the Amex Stadium was a choker for Brighton, who have scored just once in their last three visits to East Lancashire.
Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Chelsea and Wolves could be fighting for a Champions League berth – or for which of them takes a less attractive spot in the Europa League play-off rounds next season, depending on how the next 11 games go for each club. The Blues went 4-0 up at Molineux in September, when Frank Lampard’s men were clicking and Wolves were not at their best, but things could be very different when they meet at Stamford Bridge.
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur
Palace’s woeful recent form has seen them slide from a relatively comfortable ninth position at the midway mark of the season to 14th now as they flirt with the relegation scrappers. Roy Hodgson’s men need a point per game from here on in to avoid needing anything in their last match, while Spurs will hope Son Heung-min is able to return from his injury to help them clinch a Champions League slot for the following campaign.
Everton v Bournemouth
Can Everton mount an unlikely run to a European place under Carlo Ancelotti? If they can, then this could be a very good way to finish the season with three points in front of their home fans. Bournemouth may need to avoid defeat, or even win this, to stay up, however, so expect some tension at Goodison Park.
Leicester City v Manchester United
Leicester look good for a top-three finish and Brendan Rodgers’ side won’t give Man Utd an easy pass to three points they look likely to need to achieve their goal of Champions League football. Harry Maguire will finally return to KIng Power Stadium and with talk of interest in James Maddison, the noisy home fans will ensure this will be tough for United.
👏 @SheffieldUnited are currently one point away from the top four. 👏
— Sky Bet (@SkyBet) December 21, 2019
Southampton v Sheffield United
If all goes to plan, Sheffield United will crown an unbelievable first season back in the top flight with a tangible reward after this game, but will it be Champions League or Europa League football? Saints are likely to be safe and could roll over, especially given their woeful home record.
West Ham v Aston Villa
This clash of claret and blues looks like it could be the most important of all the final-day games at the moment, with both clubs placed either side of the relegation precipice. Villa are one point better off than the Hammers, who have a game in hand. But that game is on Wednesday night against a Manchester City side likely to be fired up by UEFA’s two-year European ban that was announced just days ago.