English Premiership

Five questions in the Premier League

2017-05-11 10:07
James Milner

London - Chelsea are on the brink of the title, the Champions League picture is becoming clearer and Hull City and Swansea City are desperately scrapping to avoid the final relegation berth.

Here are five questions awaiting answers on the Premier League season's penultimate weekend:

1. Will Chelsea finish the job?

Leaders since November, Chelsea face a pleasingly straightforward equation at West Bromwich Albion on Friday: win and they will be Premier League champions.

Fail to win and they will still be crowned champions if second-place Tottenham Hotspur do not better their result in Sunday's home game against Manchester United.

And if the weekend concludes and Chelsea have still not got their hands on the trophy, they have two home games in which to finish the job: against Watford on Monday and against relegated Sunderland on the season's final day.

"We hope to do it at the first attempt," goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois told talkSPORT radio.

"We know West Brom are a hard team to play against. They might not have the pressure to win the game in terms of their league position, but nobody wants to be the team that loses and lets other guys have their parties."

2. Can Spurs leave White Hart Lane in style?

Tottenham had hoped their final home game at White Hart Lane would take place with the team still in the thick of the title race.

Instead, following last weekend's 1-0 defeat at West Ham United, the likelihood is that by the time Mauricio Pochettino's men kick off against Manchester United, Chelsea will have already captured the crown.

Nevertheless, Sunday's game is an opportunity to bid goodbye to White Hart Lane, the club's home since 1899, with a 14th consecutive home victory in the league.

It would equal the club record and set a new mark for successive home league wins within the same campaign.

Spurs will play at Wembley next season before moving into their new stadium, which is being built on the site of their current home, in August 2018.

3. Can Liverpool and Man City tighten their grip?

Third and fourth in the table ahead of the weekend's matches, Liverpool and Manchester City know they can guarantee a top-four finish - and with it a Champions League qualifying berth - if they win their remaining games.

Liverpool visit West Ham, a team they have not beaten in five encounters, on Sunday, while City host outgoing champions Leicester City on Saturday.

Asked how Liverpool would feel if they missed out on a place in the top four, where they have spent the vast bulk of the season, vice-captain James Milner said: "Sick."

"This is a team and a club that needs to be in the Champions League," he added.

"We have got to win the last two and see where that takes us."

Arsenal, three points below City in fifth place after Wednesday's 2-0 win at Southampton, and Manchester United, a point further back in sixth, are both reliant on their rivals dropping points.

4. Does the trapdoor beckon for Hull?

Hull City's unexpected 2-0 defeat at home to relegated Sunderland last weekend, coupled with Swansea City's 1-0 victory over Everton, left Marco Silva's side the prime candidates to fill the sole remaining relegation spot.

A point below Swansea in 18th place, Hull will be relegated along with Sunderland and Middlesbrough if they lose at Crystal Palace on Sunday and Swansea beat Sunderland on Saturday.

"This squad of boys, the core is special and we need to dig deep now," former Dundee United left-back Andy Robertson told Tigers TV, Hull's in-house television channel.

"If we can do that, I am sure we can hopefully get positive results in the next two games. And at the end of the season be above that line."

5. Who will secure survival?

If Palace can avoid defeat at home to Hull, they will guarantee safety for both themselves and Watford and Burnley, both of whom would be beyond Hull's reach.

But Watford and Burnley are in control of their own destinies and can secure survival by avoiding defeat at Everton and Bournemouth respectively.

Fixtures

Friday:

Everton v Watford

Saturday:

Bournemouth v Burnley, Man City v Leicester, Middlesbrough v Southampton, Stoke v Arsenal, Sunderland v Swansea

Sunday:

Crystal Palace v Hull, Tottenham v Man Utd, West Ham v Liverpool

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Fixtures
Saturday, 28 October 2017
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Old Trafford 13:30
Liverpool v Huddersfield Town, Anfield 16:00
Arsenal v Swansea City, Emirates Stadium 16:00
Crystal Palace v West Ham United, Selhurst Park 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Stoke City, Vicarage Road Stadium 16:00
AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea, Vitality Stadium 18:30
Sunday, 29 October 2017
Brighton & Hove Albion v Southampton, The American Express Community Stadium 15:30
Leicester City v Everton, King Power Stadium 18:00
Monday, 30 October 2017
Burnley v Newcastle United, Turf Moor 22:00
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