One of the strangest Premier League seasons ever will come to a close on Sunday as all 20 sides play their final top flight encounters in what has been a congested campaign.
Starting over a month later than usual, many teams have suffered with fixture pile-ups as well as Covid related dramas following the quick turn-around from the end of the previous season.
Many factors in the Premier League table were decided long ago, but there is still plenty to discuss heading into Sunday’s showdowns including the race for Europe, the end of an era or three, and even who has been the best goalscorer this season as we look at the 11 biggest talking points to end the season.
Is this Harry Kane’s final Tottenham game?
The summer’s big transfer saga has already kicked off with Harry Kane wanting out at Tottenham, in news that will be music to the ears of any rival looking to land a world class striker in the next few months.
For Spurs fans, the England captain’s departure will mark the end of a bittersweet era nearly 10 years on from the 27-year-old’s debut where he has emerged from a promising youngster to being the heartbeat of the team.
Harry Kane could be about to play his final game for Tottenham after seeking a summer move
However it’s also been a period where he has featured in a Spurs side that have constantly fallen short in pursuit of trophies, and this season has descended into carnage that will likely see them fall out of Europe altogether.
Spurs have no manager, no promise of squad investment and perhaps crucially no ambition to match Kane’s targets who was close to tears in Wednesday’s defeat by Aston Villa in what could already have been his final home game for the club.
Even fans can understand Kane’s reasons for leaving such is the dire situation at Spurs. The only thing that could keep him at Spurs now is the club pricing rivals out of a move. Over to chairman Daniel Levy…
How will Chelsea and Manchester City line up ahead of Champions League showdown?
Is it already advantage Manchester City ahead of their Champions League final against Chelsea on May 29?
On the final day of the season against Everton, Manchester City have the luxury of knowing that with the Premier League title already won, they have the option of experimenting with their side, giving fringe players and youth prospects a run-out or even resting key stars ahead of the biggest game in club football.
Pep Guardiola will have to consider whether to rest his Manchester City stars on Sunday
Chelsea though do not have the same luxury as they fight for a Champions League place
Chelsea by contrast don’t have that option, with their Champions League place next season still not confirmed as they visit Aston Villa hoping for three points that will confirm their spot at Europe’s top table next term.
With six days rest in between the end of the Premier League and the final, fatigue should not be too much of an issue – but City will already have one eye on the final already and preparation will have no doubt started on the training pitch.
Of course, there is the Section L.19 rule in the Premier League that clubs must field their strongest teams but with a small fine the likeliest of punishments, City will only be asking “who shall we make the cheque payable to?”
What’s up for grabs in Europe?
No title race and no relegation battle means all eyes are on Europe for the final day.
Three into two will not go in the race to reach the Champions League with Chelsea, Leicester City and Liverpool separated by a point in the table.
Leicester especially will be desperate to finish in the top four having been comfortably inside it for most of the season, and still scarred by last season’s failure where they dropped out on the final day.
Liverpool are hoping to keep their current top four spot on the final day of the campaign
PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES
Arsenal vs Brighton
Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Fulham vs Newcastle
Leeds vs West Brom
Leicester vs Tottenham
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
Man City vs Everton
Sheffield United vs Burnley
West Ham vs Southampton
Wolves vs Manchester United
All games kick off at Sunday 4pm BST
While one of those clubs will likely be playing in the Europa League next term, only two clubs can realistically join them with a sixth place finish in West Ham and Tottenham, with the Hammers only needing a point to do so.
That leaves the new Europa Conference League, UEFA’s new third tier competition, which Everton and Arsenal are realistically fighting for along with West Ham and Spurs. More can be read on all the permutations for Europe here.
Jack Grealish’s late dash for Euro 2020?
Are you watching Gareth Southgate? Back in the Aston Villa staring XI following an injury lay-off, Grealish dazzled as his side wiped the floor with Spurs in north London on Wednesday and he will be looking for a similar showing at home to Chelsea.
Southgate won’t need reintroducing to the talents of Grealish, but the attacking midfield area is one of the Three Lions’ strongest areas with the likes of Mason Mount and Phil Foden all having strong shouts to be key parts of the England squad for this summer’s finals.
Jack Grealish will be hoping to impress England boss Gareth Southgate ahead of Euro 2020
Proving his fitness is the major hurdle which it looks like the 25-year-old has overcome, but now is he match fit or will England make the same mistake from previous tournaments by taking unfit players and then watching them suffer with substandard performances?
Another good display at Villa Park on Sunday will surely see Grealish be too hard to ignore for Southgate.
A serious job audition
There is very little to play for in the bottom half of the table, certainly nothing tangible to grab the attention of the supporters.
But there is vacant managerial seat going at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and there are two potential candidates who could strengthen their case to land it on the final day with promising displays.
Graham Potter (left) and Scott Parker have been linked with the managerial vacancy at Spurs
While it’s been a disappointing campaign for Scott Parker’s Fulham side following their confirmed relegation, his reputation won’t have been hit too hard this term and as a former Spurs player and coach remains a promising managerial prospect having already once led the Cottagers back into the top flight.
Brighton’s Graham Potter has also been linked to a north London switch, with his side easily seeing off a relegation battle and playing attractive football in the process. Tuesday’s incredible comeback to defeat champions Man City 3-2 after going 2-0 down is another feather in his cap.
Mangerless Spurs chase far more than three points
Leicester would have hoped that managerless, rudderless and probably soon to be Kane-less Tottenham are in such bad shape that they could walk all over them on the final day.
But there will be added motivation for the visitors to the King Power.
Spurs are still desperate for Brendan Rodgers to take the helm, despite the Northern Irishman previously ruling himself out.
Tottenham want to beat Leicester so they have a better chance of recruiting Brendan Rodgers
But the London club believe that if they can deny Leicester a place in the top four, the chances of persuading Rodgers to join massively increase.
It is a strange situation for Ryan Mason to be in, hungry to overcome the opposition manager so he can then come in as the long-term replacement.
If Liverpool and Chelsea win, Leicester have to beat their goal difference by a wide margin, which seems unlikely. If news filters through that the top four rivals are struggling against Crystal Palace or Aston Villa, it will be fascinating to see how much Spurs fight to deny the Foxes a place in the Champions League.
Will Manchester United’s Wolves clash decide their Europa League final keeper?
Like rivals City, United have bigger fish to fry instead of a final Premier League game and all eyes will be on Wednesday’s Europa League final against Villarreal.
Already confirmed a second place finish and with few days between the final day and the final, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s line-up at Wolverhampton Wanderers could include a few clues over who may start the showdown in Gdansk.
Dean Henderson (left) and David de Gea (right) are battling to secure No 1 status at Manchester United ahead of Wednesday’s Europa League final against Villarreal
The big selection question is who will play in goal? David de Gea has had the gloves for the semi-final ties against Roma, and he has been alternating with Dean Henderson in the Premier League recently.
For now it looks like De Gea will get the nod, given his impressive display against Roma in contrast with Henderson’s showing in the recent 4-2 defeat by Liverpool which was criticised over his positioning.
While it would be no confirmation, it appears that who ever will be goal at Molineux on Sunday will most likely be keeping a Gdansk bench warm on Wednesday.
Race for the golden boot
Maybe Harry Kane could end his Tottenham career with a trophy after all?
The striker heads into the final day of the season as the Premier League’s top scorer with 22 goals looking to win the golden boot for the third time overall and the first time in four years.
Kane and Mohamed Salah (right) will be looking to win the golden boot for the third time
Kane is also going for the double as he leads the top assist charts with 13 one ahead of Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes. No player has won both in the same season since Andy Cole for Newcastle United in 1994.
But in the red corner is Mohamed Salah who also has 22 goals this term for Liverpool The Egyptian won the award in the following two seasons after Kane’s initial triumphs, before losing out to Jamie Vardy last term.
Now two of the Premier League’s greatest goal scorers in recent times will go head-to-head on the final day. But will personal glory get in the way of their respective teams’ push for European football?
Is this Roy Hodgson’s last ever game?
Roy Hodgson will wave goodbye to Crystal Palace on Sunday having done an excellent job of keeping them comfortably inside of the Premier League since 2017. But will this now be the last time we will ever see him in a dugout?
Despite his safe pair of hands keeping Palace out of trouble in the last few years – no Palace manager has ever kept them in the Premier League for longer – his contract was allowed to expire heading into the summer.
At 73-years-old it is highly unlikely any team will now be looking towards the former England boss as a long term project.
Roy Hodgson waves goodbye to Crystal Palace fans after his final home game on Wednesday
A managerial career that started back in Sweden in 1976 and has taken him to Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Norway, as well as multiple World Cups and European Championships may be coming to an end.
Of course he could always be parachuted into a Premier League club next term should a crisis arise but that’s not a guarantee. With his Eagles departure carrying a statement referring to his 45 years of coaching and stepping away – this may be the farewell for one of England’s most respected managers over the last few decades.
Will we see Big Sam in the Premier League again?
Once the ultimate get ‘out of jail’ card appointment, Sam Allardyce’s record of having never being relegated as a Premier League manager went up in smoke this term as he heads into his last match as West Bromwich Albion boss.
In the past he has performed heroics to not only keep clubs in the top flight, but also establish them there with with Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Everton a long list of examples of teams who improved under his tenure.
Sam Allardyce suffered Premier League relegation for the first time in his career at West Brom
But his latest adventure at The Hawthorns has been a big failure, albeit admittedly the state of affairs at the Baggies was looking grim with them floundering inside the bottom three before he took over from the sacked Slaven Bilic.
There have been high points including the thumping 5-2 win at Chelsea, but his departure at the end of the season after less than a year in charge following relegation means he now isn’t the draw he would have been for a struggling club at the start of the campaign.
With fellow long-time managers including Hodgson and to an extent Jose Mourinho all leaving their posts this year, there is now a sense the Premier League is moving into a new era and we wait to see if Big Sam still has a role in it.
Is there still more to come from Daniel Jebbison?
Jebbison was one of the major stories last Sunday when his goal helped Sheffield United to a shock victory at Everton to give them a rare three points in what has been a miserable campaign for the Blades.
It was just the second victory on the road for them all season, but will be unable to prevent a finish at the very bottom of the Premier League table.
Daniel Jebbison has been a late rare positive in a turbulent season for Sheffield United
At 17-years-old though, Jebbison already has potential suitors in England as well German giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund keeping a keen eye on his development.
He only made his senior debut earlier this month, has since gone on to start the Blades’ last two games, and is likely to feature in the final XI of the season at home to Burnley.
It’s going to be his last taste of top flight football for now, but you would be a brave person to bet against it being his last.