The Premier League is never far away from drama and as the teams head into the final day of the season, there is still much to be decided at the top.
Manchester City can rest easy after sealing their third title in four seasons under Pep Guardiola, while Manchester United look set for their best finish since the 2018/19 campaign.
But the race for the top four is still wide open after Chelsea’s clash with Leicester on Tuesday, while Liverpool know destiny is in their hands following Alisson Becker’s incredible 95th-minute winner against West Brom last Sunday.
The Reds lead Tottenham, West Ham and Everton in the battle for the Europa League spots and it is all set to go down to the wire for an exciting climax.
At the bottom, however, there will be no last-day heroics from Fulham or West Brom, with both sides relegated. Sheffield United have been doomed for some time, but salvaged some pride with a shock 1-0 win at Everton.
While most mid-table teams have nothing to play for, they can still throw a spanner in the works for those vying for Europe and as the history books show, twists in the tale are always on the cards.
Mirror Sport looks at five of the best final-day showdowns in recent memory…
Manchester City 3-2 QPR (2011/12)
Manchester City had done the hard part, clawing back an eight-point deficit heading into the final day and only needed to equal Manchester United’s result to clinch the title, facing QPR at home.
It was in their hands when Pablo Zabaleta put the hosts ahead. But the visitors, fighting against relegation, proved they were no pushovers when Djibril Cisse brought them level.
The red mist descended after ex-City man Joey Barton was dismissed for throwing an elbow at Carlos Tevez and then kicked out at Sergio Aguero on his way to the tunnel. But, against all odds, 10-man QPR took the lead through Jamie Mackie and City were suddenly staring down the barrel of defeat.
With five minutes of stoppage time on board, Edin Dzeko headed home from David Silva’s corner in the first to make it 2-2 and guarantee a grandstand finish.
And then came the moment.
“Manchester City are still alive here…” Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler says as City build their attack, with Sergio Aguero exchanging a one-two with Mario Balotelli. The rest, as we know, is history.
In the 94th minute, Aguero thumps his effort past Rob Green and off he goes, running bare-chested down the touchline amidst the pandemonium in the stands. Roberto Mancini jogs towards his staff bizarrely with his hands in his pockets, while Joe Hart’s aeroplane celebration remains iconic to this day.
“I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again. So watch it… drink it in,” said Tyler, and his famous commentary, written into Premier League history for all of eternity, still rings true to this day.
It will never be repeated.
West Brom 5-5 Manchester United (2012/13)
It was meant to be a day of celebration for Sir Alex Ferguson.
In his 1,500th match as Manchester United boss, his team had already wrapped up the title in dominant fashion. Now it was time to say goodbye as his pending retirement had finally arrived. But the Premier League very rarely follows the script.
United appeared to be coasting towards victory at The Hawthorns after taking a 3-0 and 5-2 leads. Heading into the final 10 minutes, West Brom slipped on their goalscoring shoes and took Ferguson’s side for a dizzying ride.
A 20-year-old Romelu Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, decided it wasn’t over by any stretch as he completed his hat-trick with goals either side of Youssuf Mulumbu’s effort to secure an extraordinary draw in this 10-goal thriller.
Ferguson managed a wry smile and waved to the United supporters in the away end as he walked down the tunnel for the final time. But there is no question West Brom spoiled the Scot’s farewell party with their late comeback.
Stoke 6-1 Liverpool (2014/15)
Liverpool fans will not need reminding that before Jurgen Klopp took over in October 2015, there were some dark days for the Merseyside club — and perhaps this result was a turning point.
The Reds were waving goodbye to their legendary captain Steven Gerrard, making his 710th and final appearance for his boyhood club before a lucrative move to MLS outfit LA Galaxy.
But Brendan Rodgers sided found themselves on the end of a first-half hiding, conceding five goals in 23 minutes to Tony Pulis’ Stoke.
It was Gerrard who pulled one back as a mere consolation for himself, before Peter Crouch exacted revenge on his former club with a late sixth. At the time, Liverpool hadn’t conceded six goals in a game for 52 years.
Consequently, they were confined to sixth position on the final day and qualified for the Europa League third qualifying round. The Potters, meanwhile, secured their best-ever points total. How times have changed.
Chelsea 8-0 Wigan (2009/10)
Needing a win on the final day of the season to guarantee their first title in four years, Chelsea clearly heeded the task set by head coach Carlo Ancelotti as they smashed eight past Wigan.
Nicolas Anelka’s early strike had put the hosts in front at Stamford Bridge and Gary Caldwell’s sending off gave Frank Lampard a chance to score the from spot, which he never looked like missing.
That goal had all but sealed the title, but Chelsea weren’t done there. Anelka added a second, Didier Drogba grabbed a hat-trick to clinch the Golden Boot, while Salomon Kalou and Ashley Cole also added their names to the scoresheet.
It remains Chelsea’s biggest-ever Premier League victory, matched by their 8-0 success against Aston Villa two years later.
Newcastle 5-1 Tottenham (2015/16)
Looking back on the 2015/16 season was like no other. The 5,000-1 outsiders Leicester City had pulled off the unthinkable by winning the title, Chelsea were 10th and Man City scraped a top-four place on goal difference.
This was a result that perfectly encapsulated the strangest of seasons.
Tottenham’s title challenge was over but at least they could hold onto second place, right? All they required was a point against already-relegated Newcastle United to guarantee they finish above Arsenal and bring an end to ‘St Totteringham’s Day’.
But the misery only grew for Mauricio Pochettino’s side. When Aleksandar Mitrovic was sent off at 2-1, it seemed as if Spurs would have a fighting chance of achieving their objective, with only one goal required.
But the visitors crumbled to their 10-man opponents as Georginio Wijnaldum, Roland Aarons and Daryl Janmaat all scored late on to condemn Spurs to a humiliating defeat.
To make matters worse, Arsenal thrashed Aston Villa 4-0 to steal second position away from them on the final day.
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