by Luke Irelan-Hill

When 5pm ticks around on Sunday one of the most captivating Premier League seasons in the competition’s 20-year history will draw to a close. Before then however there is the small matter of the Premier League title, Champion’s League qualification places and the last relegation berth still to be concluded.

So what can still happen?

The Premier League title

It has been, as expected, a two-horse race for most of this season. At one stage it seemed that the title was heading to City, then momentum swung back United’s way who opened up an 8 point gap, but now with one game to go it is the blue half of Manchester who have one hand firmly on the trophy.

The biggest swing in momentum was when Manchester United lost 1-0 to their noisy neighbours less than a fortnight ago with many pundits believing that Sir Alex Ferguson got his game plan wrong with his ultra-defensive tactics. United’s last real chance of getting their hands back on the trophy was when City played high-flying Newcastle United. However City brushed them aside with no serious problems.

United meanwhile were undone by their own poor form. With just five games of the season left they let slip an eight-point lead. It is looking ever likely that City will be crowned champions tomorrow afternoon to claim their first league title in 44 years. Both sides go into tomorrow’s game level on points (86) but City lead their rivals by eight goals on goal difference: 63 to United’s 55.

The Outcomes

Roberto Mancini’s side know that a win will guarantee the title – unless the unlikely scenario of United winning by a margin of 9 or more goals happens.

If United slip up, City will finish on top by matching their rivals result – a draw is enough if United do not win. The title will also be heading to the blue half of Manchester if both teams lose their final game.

The only way Ferguson and United will be celebrating on Sunday evening is if United win at Sunderland and City fail to win, or if United draw and City Lose.

Likeliest Outcome: Manchester City win the league

The Relegation Fight

Wolverhampton Wanderers, who have announced Stale Solbakken will take charge next season, and Blackburn Rovers have already been relegated. One of either Bolton Wanderers or Queens Park Rangers will join them.

Going into tomorrow Bolton are in 18th place on 35 points and QPR have two more points on 37. Rangers also have a better goal difference at -22 to Bolton’s -31. The London club are of course playing the league leaders at The Etihad Stadium and have a dismal away record this season, whereas City have dropped just two points from their 18 home games this season.

Bolton therefore need to make sure they take all three points against 14th-placed Stoke at the Britannia Stadium, to stand a chance of playing another season in the top division in August. But it will be a very tough task considering Stoke have lost just four times at home all season.

The Outcomes

Should Bolton win then Owen Coyle’s side will probably stay up, on the basis that City will defeat QPR. If QPR win they will be safe, and if they draw both they and Bolton will draw level on 38 points. This would mean the Londoners retain their Premier League status by virtue of their better goal difference.

Likeliest Outcome: Neither side to win. QPR stay up.

The Champions League

Chelsea currently hold the key to the European qualification places. They can no longer finish higher than sixth, but their presence in the Champions League final complicates the race for European places in the league.

If Chelsea win the Champions League they will take part in next year’s competition as holders – but this will mean that whoever finishes fourth in the Premier League will not qualify for Europe’s elite competition.

If this is the case then the top three teams, and Chelsea, will all enter the Champions League at the group stage, whereas the fourth-placed team will take part in the Europa League entering at the group stages.

But, if Chelsea lose in the final, the top four teams will qualify for next seasons Champions League as normal. The top three teams will enter in the group stage with the fourth-placed team entering in the play-off round. The Blues, as FA Cup winners, would enter the Europa League at the group stage.

Regardless of Chelsea winning in Munich, the team that finishes fifth will enter the Europa League in the play-off round, while Carling Cup winners Liverpool will join in the third qualifying round.

But back to basics. With City and United assured of their place in the Champions League next season, going into tomorrow it is North London’s biggest rivals Arsenal and Tottenham who currently hold the ever important third and fourth spot. However Newcastle United could quite easily spoil the party.

Arsenal go into the final day on 67 points, Spurs are one behind and Newcastle are just a further point back. But Newcastle face the difficult task of travelling to Goodison Park. If they defeat Everton, and Arsenal lose at West Brom and Spurs slip up against Fulham at White Hart Lane then Alan Pardew’s men could finish 3rd. It is still all to play for.

Likeliest Outcome:  Arsenal 3rd, Tottenham 4th.

The Europa League

Chelsea and Liverpool, as winners of the FA Cup and League Cup respectively, have already booked their places in Europe’s second biggest club competition. The team that finishes fifth out of Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle (see above) in the Premier League will earn the right to play in the Europa League.

But, should Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final next Saturday, then that would mean they are re-entered into the completion to defend their trophy next season. If this is the outcome than whoever finishes fourth would be demoted from the Champions League to join whoever finishes fifth, in the Europa League.

Just to make things a bit more confusing, should an English team be in the top two of Uefa’s Play Fair League then they will have a chance of being drawn out of a pot and winning a ticket to play in the Europa League.

Likeliest Outcome: Anybody’s guess!