Currently (as of May 12), Man City sit top of the table, three points ahead of title contenders Liverpool. Man City currently have 89 points and will retain the title if they get four more points from their last two league games.
But a unique scenario may emerge if Liverpool win their next two games and Man City manage to get just three points from their last two games. Then the two teams will be level (on 92 points), and if both teams are level on a few more criteria, then for the first time in Premier League history we will see a decisive 39th play-off. between the two sides on neutral ground – a 39th game for both sides in the league to determine the champions of England.
here is a explanatory by TimesofIndia.com on how a play-off works and the requirements for a play-off after the end of the league regular season:
The Premier League format
The Premier League is England’s premier football league and 20 teams participate, playing each other in home and away games, with a total of 380 games played between August and May next year.
The winners of each game are awarded three points, with a draw earning the team one point with none for a loss. The team with the most points at the end of the season wins the coveted Premier League title.
Additionally, teams that finish in the bottom three of the table at the end of the season are relegated to the Championship, England’s second-tier league. These teams are replaced by three teams promoted from the Championship – the top two teams in the second-tier league and the third via the end-of-season playoffs.
A masterclass with four goals! ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️#ManCity https://t.co/fIf0ivKtMZ
— Manchester City (@ManCity) 1652338714000
European football: Teams that finish in the top four of the Premier League qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League group stages. A fifth-place finish in the Premier League takes a team into the UEFA Europa League group stage, but the next best-placed teams that have not qualified for Europe will also enter the competition if the FA Cup winners and /or the League Cup qualify by their individual positions in the league.
What happens when two teams finish with the same number of points?
Premier League rules state that a play-off will be used to determine the league champions if the two teams are level on points, goal difference, goals scored and in the head-to-head results between them .
“If two or more clubs finish tied in the table when competing for the title or European qualification, or when relegation is at stake, their records in head-to-head matches will now be used to separate them. In previous seasons, teams involved in those specific battles that finished with the same total points, same goal difference and same number of goals scored would be played against each other in a play-off. “is now less likely. Only if the clubs remain level in the table after that will a play-off be held, on neutral ground, with the format, timing and venue to be determined by the Premier League Board.” the Premier League said in a statement in 2020.
(Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp – AP Photo)
So what’s going on this season?
Defending champions Manchester City and Liverpool, an unprecedented four-time champion, are leading the EPL title race to the bitter end. Man City are currently leading the three-point race (as on May 12) with just two games left for the two sides in contention, so the chances of the 39th play-off deciding the champions are highly unlikely, but weird things do go hand in hand with sports.
The box for one of the four criteria needed for a play-off to materialize has already been ticked – the season’s head-to-head results are all level after games at Anfield and Etihad ended with an identical score of 2-2.
Six points for Liverpool and three points for Man City in the last two team league matches will tie the points at 92 apiece.
Man City lead on goal difference by 7 and have scored 5 goals more than Liverpool so far. But these figures may change at the end of the last two league meetings. The possibility that the two criteria match equally is not far-fetched; for example, if Man City have won 2-0 and lost 0-2 in their last two games, all Liverpool need is a 7-0 result in their two games (4-0, 3-0 or 5-0, 2-0, etc.).
(Pep Guardiola, Manchester City coach – Photo Reuters)
When and where can the play-off be played?
If a play-off is needed to decide the winner between the two teams, Man City and Liverpool should have at least 48 hours between the last league game of the season and the deciding play-off. This means that the first possible date would be Wednesday May 25 at a neutral location.
Keep in mind this could potentially disrupt Liverpool’s preparations for the UEFA Champions League grand final against Real Madrid in Paris on May 29.
The current status
Man City will have a chance to extend their lead over Liverpool to six points this weekend as they take on West Ham on Sunday. Liverpool play the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday and play their next EPL match on May 18 against Southampton. Man City and Liverpool host Aston Villa and Wolves respectively on the final day of the season (May 22).
Current EPL ranking (Top 2 teams):
|TEAM||MATCH||WON||DRAWN||LOST||GOALS SCORED||GOALS CONSIDERED||GOAL DIFFERENCE||POINTS|
|City of Man||36||28||5||3||94||22||72||89|
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