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Championship Sunday: Preview of the Premier League’s Final Day

Championship Sunday

It’s the best time of the year for any Premier League fan: Championship Sunday. Ten games featuring all 20 teams, all televised, all at the same time. In a perfect world, the title would be decided on this last day, but despite Liverpool lifting the trophy at Anfield this past week, there’s still plenty of excitement to be had. Here’s every game to be featured on NBC’s family of networks and new streaming service, Peacock, this Sunday:

Sunday, July 26: Arsenal v. Watford, 11am ET, Golf Channel
Sunday, July 26: Burnley v. Brighton, 11am ET, Gold/Peacock
Sunday, July 26: Chelsea v. Wolves, 11am ET, USA
Sunday, July 26: Crystal Palace v. Tottenham Hotspur, 11am ET, Gold/Peacock
Sunday, July 26: Everton v. Bournemouth, 11am ET, CNBC
Sunday, July 26: Leicester City v. Man United, 11am ET, NBC
Sunday, July 26: Man City v. Norwich City, 11am ET, Gold/Peacock
Sunday, July 26: Newcastle v. Liverpool, 11am ET, Gold/Peacock
Sunday, July 26: Southampton v. Sheffield United, 11am ET, Gold/Peacock
Sunday, July 26: West Ham v. Aston Villa, 11am ET, NBCSN

Relegation Battle

With Norwich City already relegated, three teams are fighting to avoid two open spots in the EFL Championship next season. In 17th is Aston Villa, with 34 points and a -26 goal differential, who face 15th place West Ham. Behind them, also with 34 points but a -27 goal differential, is Watford, who head to North London to square off against mid-table Arsenal. Rounding out the teams struggling to stay up is Bournemouth, with 31 points and a -27 goal differential, who go to the blue side of Liverpool to play Everton.

Villa currently control their own destiny and play the weakest opponent of the three relegation candidates, making them the most likely club to stay up. They’ve taken seven points in their last three matches, including a win against Arsenal this past Tuesday. Despite their loss to Villa this week, Arsenal will be no walk in the park for Watford. They’re only a week-and-a-half removed from a win against champions Liverpool. But with the FA Cup final on the horizon and nothing to play for in the league, they may be overlooking Watford. Despite taking six points from their last four games, Watford have lost their last two to West Ham and Manchester City.

Championship Sunday
Aston Villa’s star Jack Grealish, courtesy of premierleague.com.

Bournemouth seemed like they might have been in a position to play spoiler two weeks ago, after a draw and win against European hopefuls Tottenham and Leicester City, but their form since then has made them the most likely candidate to go down. After losses against Manchester City and Southampton, they find themselves three points and a goal behind safety. They need to win at Goodison Park and see Villa and Watford lose to stay up for another season.

Champions League Spots

The fun isn’t only at the bottom of the table. While first and second have long been decided, the race for the top four and spots in the UEFA Champions League is still intense. In third and fourth, respectively, with 63

Chelsea legend and manager Frank Lampard, courtesy of Goal.com

points each are Manchester United (+28 goal differential) and Chelsea (+13 goal differential). On the outside looking in is Leicester City, who have 62 points and a +28 goal differential. None of these teams have an easy task ahead of them, with Chelsea playing sixth place Wolverhampton Wanderers and United and Leicester playing each other. Simply enough, whoever wins is in. Every single one of these teams control their own destinies, but only Leicester is guaranteed to miss the Champions League with a loss.

If Manchester United win the top four stays the same, with Chelsea and United in the Champions League and Leicester in the Europa League, no matter what Chelsea do at Stamford Bridge. If Leicester win, they move into the top four. Chelsea would need a win or draw to stay ahead of United and in the Champions League. If Leicester and United draw, United is guaranteed a spot and Leicester would need a Chelsea loss to Wolves in order to remain in the top four.

Europa League Spots

The match against Wolves will be no cakewalk for Chelsea, though. Despite being out of the running for a Champions League spot, Wolves still have quite a bit to play for. Normally, Europa League spots go to the team in fifth place in the league, the winner of the EFL Cup and the winner of the FA Cup. With Manchester City already both winning the EFL Cup and clinching their place in the Champions League via a top-four spot in the league, the spot for the EFL Cup winner goes to sixth place in the league. If Chelsea defeat Arsenal in the FA Cup final, seventh would also become a Europa League spot, but that is far from guaranteed, so Wolves need to do whatever they can to maintain their one-point lead on seventh place Tottenham Hotspur.

Championship Sunday
Harry Kane and Dele Alli look to secure a Europa League spot for Tottenham, courtesy of Getty Images

Tottenham are currently on 58 points with a +14 goal differential, right behind Wolves’ 59 points and +13 goal differential. Despite a few slip-ups, José Mourinho’s Spurs have been solid since the league’s restart, seemingly finding the form that led them to the Champion’s League Final and top-four finish they had last season. They have taken 13 points from their last five matches and face a Crystal Palace squad who have lost their last seven matches. Despite this, many Spurs fans are not confident, dubbing the team “Dr. Tottenham,” as they have a history of helping struggling squads find their form. Regardless, the fight for Europe has the potential to be equally as dramatic as the fight for safety.

Bonus: EFL Championship Playoff

Aston Villa, Watford and Bournemouth aren’t the only ones fighting for a spot in the Premier League. With Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion already securing promotion by finishing in the top two of the EFL Championship, Brentford, Fulham, Cardiff City and Swansea will battle it out in two-legged semifinals and a final at Wembley. The first leg of each semifinal will be Swansea versus Brentford on Sunday July 26 at 1:30pm ET on ESPN+ and Cardiff City versus Fulham on Monday July 27 at 2:45pm ET on ESPN+.

 

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