Ball’s still in the air, even as English Premier League nears the end

After 370 games, the fate of the English Premier League crown remains undecided. Also up for grabs is the last Champions League ticket, while one team will suffer relegation heartbreak.

As we enter the final weekend, Manchester City holds a one-point advantage over Liverpool – 90 points to 89 – at the top of the standings.

City knows victory over Aston Villa means it will win its fourth league title in five seasons.

Anything less, and Liverpool can take advantage, if it beats Wolves at Anfield.

City is a firm favourite to clinch the crown despite its shock 2-2 draw with West Ham last week. That followed back-to-back games where it scored five times – against Wolves and Newcastle.

That nine-goal swing – it conceded once to Wolves – allowed City to overhaul Liverpool’s goal difference.

As it stands, City has a goal difference of +72 after scoring 96 and conceding 24. Liverpool has a +66-goal difference by scoring 91 for letting in 25.

Here is how City and Liverpool can win the title

For Liverpool, it is pretty straightforward – beat Wolves and hope City fails to defeat Aston Villa. If Liverpool draws, it needs Villa to beat City by seven goals.

For City to be champion, all it has to do is to beat Villa. If it can only draw, but Liverpool fails to win, the Manchester club retains the title.

If City loses and Liverpool draws, goal difference will decide the title. Here is where City’s barrage of goals against Newcastle and Wolves hands it the advantage.

Liverpool fans hope a quartet of former Liverpool players can help their club clinch their second league title in three seasons, and keep the quadruple dream alive.

The Merseyside club has already won the League and FA Cups, and is in the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is now Villa manager, while his former teammate Gary McAllister is one of his assistants.

Philippe Coutinho, who played alongside Gerrard, and Danny Ings, who spent four years with Liverpool, are in the Villa team.

It could be wishful thinking, but stranger things have happened.

In the race for fourth, Tottenham holds all the cards after beating Arsenal 3-0 last week. It has 68 points to Arsenal’s 66, a vastly superior goal difference, and plays bottom-placed Norwich.

Arsenal faces a jubilant Everton that has nothing to play for after guaranteeing it will stay in the Premier League with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace early this morning.

Burnley could only draw 1-1 with Aston Villa to leave it on 35 points, the same as Leeds. It, however, has a vastly superior goal difference and only needs to match Leeds’ result at the weekend to survive.

Burnley hosts Newcastle on Sunday, while Leeds travels to Brentford.

FIXTURES (Malaysian time, 11pm)

SUNDAY
Arsenal vs Everton
Brentford vs Leeds
Brighton vs West Ham
Burnley vs Newcastle
Chelsea v Watford
Crystal Palace vs Manchester United
Leicester vs Southampton
Liverpool vs Wolves
Manchester City vs Aston Villa
Norwich vs Tottenham

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