This is it, the crunch point of the Premier League season or what Alex Ferguson, as part of his endless mind games aimed at giving Manchester United an edge, coined as “Squeaky bum time.” Now every game seems vitally important and any dropped points seem catastrophic for those still fighting for a league position that will make the 2021-2022 season a success. Unlike previous seasons, it really is all up for grabs in the closing stages and late drama could make this one of the best Premier League seasons we’ve witnessed.
It is still in our hands. pic.twitter.com/vPMd2Qs0zI
— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) March 13, 2022
All eyes are on the top of the table, where Manchester City appeared to be coasting at one stage with a 12 point lead, yet Liverpool has clawed their way back, and now things couldn’t be closer. While both teams are focused on trying to win all their remaining Premier League to be crowned champions in May, they are both also looking to lift the Champions League and FA Cup.
For Liverpool, the opportunity to celebrate a Premier League win in front of their adoring fans at Anfield is a huge motivation for a club that always boasted of a special connection to its supporters. If that weren’t motivation enough, they also have the chance to make history by winning the quadruple. At the time of writing the odds to win the English Premier League clearly favor Man City and manager Pep Guardiola will be desperate to not let this one slip away after holding such a commanding lead.
— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) March 29, 2022
While the title race captures the attention, finishing it in the top four and securing a lucrative place in next season’s Champions League will still represent a successful progression for a number of clubs. Arsenal appeared to be in the driving seat, but after achieving the consistency of performance that simply wasn’t there in the early stages, they appear to be wobbling once more. The 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace was clearly a blow and some tricky fixtures await Mikel Arteta’s young squad.
Arsenal’s main challenge for that profitable top-four spot is arch-rivals Spurs, who will be looking to prevent Gooners from celebrating St Totteringham’s Day and make a return to Champions League football after losing the 2018-19 final to Liverpool. Eyes are inevitably drawn to the North London derby Friday 13 May at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which could well be a gritty affair and decisive in the top-four race. West Ham, Manchester United, and Wolves are all ostensibly out of the race after recent results, but commotion off the pitch means that Chelsea isn’t over the line just yet.
Down down down
At the other end of the table, few would bet on Norwich City or Watford avoiding the drop. That essentially makes it a shoot-out between perennial relegation flirters, Burnley and Premier League stalwarts Everton. With 68 straight seasons of top-flight football under their belt, Everton going down would undoubtedly be one of the stories of the season. Being labelled “the worst run club in the country” doesn’t help their cause, but it’s on the pitch where hope is deteriorating. The 3-2 loss to Burnley at Turf Moor was clearly damaging and with games against Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal on the horizon, you wonder where Frank Lampard’s men can pick up points.
Everything to play for and you can help but wonder what will be the defining moment that we remember this season for. Great seasons of the past have given us the Gerrard slip, Kevin Keegan’s ‘I would love it’ rant, the “AGUEROOOO” moment among others. What will come to define this season?
This is a paid guest post.