by Susan Jardine

Never has the song, made famous by hirsute Swedish rockers Europe had so much meaning to it as we arrive at the conclusion of the Premiership season.

There are issues at the top and the bottom that will be resolved over these final 90 minutes of football. Only two matters have been confirmed, and they are of course the relegation of Wolves and Blackburn Rovers. Everything else is undecided.

Let’s start with the not inconsiderable matter of who will win the Premiership title. Manchester City and Manchester United go into their respective matches against Queens Park Rangers and Sunderland level on points, with City having the better goal difference. But here is where irony enters the equation as the manager of Queens Park Rangers is a man who has managed Manchester City before being ousted (wrongly in my opinion), and just to add further spice Mark Hughes had a prolific scoring record with Manchester United. Incredible to think that the fates of both Manchester clubs lie in the hands of one man who has connections with both title contenders.

Throw in the fact that Queens Park Rangers require one point to ensure safety in the Premiership and the match-up could hardly be more perfect. The two plot lines running through it would do Agatha Christie proud. It is a fascinating proposition and Mike Dean is the man in charge of a match that will decide what happens at the top and bottom of the Premiership.

Of course if Manchester City slip up at the Etihad with anything other than a win, then three points for Manchester United at Sunderland would keep the title in Salford. Sunderland’s season has fizzled out since beating QPR at home, while Manchester United have managed to blow an eight point lead to leave the title destiny out of their hands. Howard Webb is the man who refereed the first match at the Stadium of Light this season, and he will bring down the curtain on Wearside too. Given Sunderland’s recent performances I find it hard to see beyond a Manchester United victory, but as to whether or not it will be enough for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team I very much doubt it.

Even more intriguing is the battle for the bronze medal. Three teams are still in contention, and they of course are the London duo of Arsenal and Tottenham with Newcastle completing the trio. Arsenal make the journey to West Brom for what will be Roy Hodgson’s last match in charge for the Baggies before he takes charge of England. West Brom though have a recent history of making things difficult for the Gunners, as last season they shared the points at the Hawthorns and won at the Emirates. And surely they would want to give Hodgson a good send off after the effective job he has done at West Brom. Michael Jones is tasked with refereeing what I think will be a keenly contested battle, and I think West Brom may just scrape a victory.

Locking horns at White Hart Lane are Tottenham and Fulham. And of course that means the return of Martin Jol to North London. Jol, a former manager of Tottenham, has steered Fulham to a comfortable position in the table. While Tottenham have returned to form Fulham have maintained consistency throughout the season and I think they have enough to secure a draw in a match that will be refereed by Phil Dowd. Should Arsenal slip up at West Brom then a win for Tottenham would guarentee third place for them. If they fluff their lines at home then waiting to pounce are a team who could also steal third.

And that of course is Newcastle, who finish their season at Everton. The Geordies will be the choice of the neutrals to finish third after playing a brand of attacking football which is also tempered by some strong defensive performances. Their last league visit to Goodison Park saw Hatem Ben Arfa score a wondergoal that sealed three points for the Magpies, and despite losing to Manchester City at St James on Sunday there is no reason to think that the Magpies will lose on Merseyside. Indeed the last away match for Newcastle saw them leave Chelsea with three points courtesy of a double strike from Pappiss Cisse.

So to the bottom of the table and the last unwanted relegation place will go to either Queens Park Rangers or Bolton Wanderers. The London side have a two point advantage over the Trotters and have momentum with them after beating Stoke at Loftus Road on Sunday. Bolton by contrast should have beaten West Brom, but two late goals saw a 2-0 lead disintegrate into a 2-2 draw. If Bolton are to survive they must beat Stoke at the Britannia Stadium and hope that Manchester City beat QPR. While the latter is feasible the former is less so. Chris Foy is the man in charge of the match that could see Bolton bid farewell to the Premiership.

So how do I think everything will pan out? I think Manchester City will win the title. Newcastle will finish third, with Tottenham and Arsenal in fourth and fifth. Sadly for Bolton fans I can’t see them beating Stoke, which in turn will ensure that QPR will scamper to safety on the last day of the season.

And after being in Sheffield for the World Snooker I am back on football duty this weekend. Rather fittingly my football season will see the circle closing as I did the Sunderland v Newcastle match at the start of the season with my regular cohort, and we will be there for the final 90minutes of the 2011-2012 football season.

Good luck to everyone this weekend.