As the curtain falls on the prolonged 2019/20 Premier League season, the final day of the season presents some interesting plots and sub-plots with places in the top still up for grabs. Interestingly, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Leicester – third, fourth and fifth respectively on the table – all vie for the final two spots for the Champions League, meaning the race for that and the Europa League are more or less roped in one.
In simple terms, while all three clubs can still make the Champions League next season, the reality is that only two of them will, while the other will make do with the Europa League and this weekend’s round of games sets it up nicely.
Leicester will welcome Manchester United to the King Power with the winner guaranteed a place in Europe’s elite club competition. Elsewhere, Chelsea welcome Wolves – who themselves are set for Europe’s second club competition – to Stamford Bridge knowing that a loss could see them join their opponents in the Europa League.
Meanwhile, Tottenham, currently seventh and out of the Europa League zone, will be hoping Wolves stutter so they can take advantage.
So, how will it all go down?
Leicester vs Manchester United
Leicester will check on the fitness of winger Marc Albrighton, who missed the defeat at Spurs with a minor injury.
Caglar Soyuncu completes a three-game ban, while Ben Chilwell, Ricardo Pereira, James Maddison, Daniel Amartey and Christian Fuchs remain sidelined.
Manchester United will continue to monitor Luke Shaw’s ankle injury, while Eric Bailly will also be assessed after suffering concussion last weekend.
Fellow defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones remain sidelined.
Leicester’s only win in their past 13 Premier League home games against Manchester United was a 5-3 victory in September 2014. They have drawn four and lost eight of the other 12 matches.
United are unbeaten in their last 10 top-flight games against Leicester (W7, D3).
The Red Devils have opened the scoring within the opening 10 minutes in each of the past three meetings.
Leicester have lost on the final day just once in the past 12 seasons (W7, D4) – that was a 5-4 defeat at Tottenham in 2018.
The Foxes have taken nine points from eight matches (1.1 per game) since the Premier League restarted, compared to 53 from their opening 29 matches (1.8 per game).
Leicester are winless in seven league games this season against the four sides currently above them (D2, L5).
Their tally of 67 goals is one short of the club record in the Premier League, set in the title-winning season of 2015-16.
Jamie Vardy’s total of 23 league goals leaves him one short of matching his highest tally in a top-flight campaign, set in 2015-16.
Vardy, 33, can become the oldest player to end a top-flight season as leading scorer since Arsenal’s Ronnie Rooke did so aged 36 in 1947-48.
United’s solitary defeat in their 13 top-flight matches this season against sides currently in the top eight came at Liverpool (W7, D5).
Their last league loss was 2-0 at home to Burnley on 22 January.
If they lose, United will record their lowest points total in a Premier League season. A draw would ensure they equal that mark of 64 points, set in 2013-14.
Harry Maguire is poised to become the first Manchester United outfield player to start every game in a league season since Gary Pallister in 1994-95.
Chelsea vs Wolves
N’Golo Kante could be involved for Chelsea on Sunday after a five-match absence with a hamstring injury.
Christian Pulisic is pushing to start, having made a superb impact as a substitute at Anfield on Wednesday.
Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has no injury concerns as his side seek a win that will secure a top-six finish and Europa League qualification.
Wing-back Matt Doherty is expected to make his 300th appearance for the club, nearly 10 years after he joined Wolves.
Chelsea are unbeaten in all five of their Premier League home games against Wolves (W4, D1).
Wolves are winless in eight away meetings in all competitions since a 2-1 top-flight victory in March 1979.
Chelsea have not lost their final match of a Premier League season when it was at Stamford Bridge since a 2002 defeat by Aston Villa (W7, D3).
They have lost 12 Premier League fixtures in a season for only the second time since Roman Abramovich became owner in 2003.
Chelsea’s eight defeats at Stamford Bridge in all competitions this season is their most in a single campaign since 1985-86.
The Blues have conceded 54 goals in the Premier League this season, only one short of their highest tally in the competition. They let in 55 goals in 1994-95 and 1996-97.
Chelsea have conceded 46% of the shots on target they have faced this season, the highest ratio in the division.
Olivier Giroud has scored six goals in seven league and cup starts since football’s resumption.
Tammy Abraham has scored six goals in his three league appearances against Wolves, including a hat-trick in this season’s reverse fixture.
Victory for Wolves would guarantee them a sixth-place finish, their best in the top flight since 1979-80.
Wolves have 59 points and will finish the season with their highest tally in the top division since that 1979-80 campaign, when they earned 66 points once adjusted to three for a win.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have gained an unrivalled 21 points from a losing position this season, and also surrendered the fewest points (4) when ahead.
They could become the fourth team to go through a Premier League campaign without any English goalscorers, excluding own goals – emulating Fulham, Arsenal and most recently Stoke in 2015-16.
Raul Jimenez’s 17 Premier League goals this season have been worth 19 points, the most of any player. The last Wolves player to score more than 17 top-flight goals in a season was John Richards, with 27, in 1972-73.
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham
Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic might be fit to return from a knee injury that ruled him out at Wolves.
Mamadou Sakho is definitely out, along with James Tomkins, Patrick van Aanholt, Gary Cahill and the suspended Christian Benteke.
Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli is available, having returned to training this week following a four-game absence with a hamstring issue.
Tanguy Ndombele is again ruled out because of injury.
Crystal Palace have suffered nine successive league defeats against Tottenham, their longest losing streak versus a single opponent in top-flight history.
Palace have not scored a league goal versus Spurs since a 3-1 home loss in January 2016, and that was an own goal.
Tottenham have won 11 of the past 13 league meetings, with their solitary defeat coming at Selhurst Park in January 2015.
Crystal Palace can equal their club league record of eight consecutive defeats.
Their current seven-match losing sequence is the longest of Roy Hodgson’s Premier League career. They have failed to score in six of those defeats.
The Eagles have been beaten in five of their past seven matches at Selhurst Park.
They have won each of their past four final day home fixtures.
Palace have scored only 30 league goals, three fewer than their lowest tally in any season.
They have scored first-half goals in just nine of their 37 league matches.
Roy Hodgson is winless in all three Premier League matches as a manager against Jose Mourinho (D1, L2).
Tottenham are unbeaten in five league matches, winning the last three.
They have won four of their past five fixtures, as many as in their previous 13 games.
Spurs are guaranteed to finish with their lowest points total since 2008-09.
They have lost their final league fixture just once in the past nine seasons (W7, D1).
Tottenham’s last four final day league fixtures have produced 27 goals – almost seven goals per game.
They have kept just two away league clean sheets this term.
Spurs have won 13 points from London derbies this term (W4, D1, L2); only Chelsea, with 16, have accrued more.
Harry Kane has scored four goals in his past two league appearances.