Finally, after about nine months filled several competitions and international breaks, the 2021/2022 football season reaches its climax with the top leagues in Europe winding to a close.
It is another weekend most fans would not want to end so quickly, as there is that lull which is set to follow due to inactivity of the clubs on the pitch, though they would be active off-the-pitch as the summer transfer window opens on June 1st.
As we bid farewell to another exciting 2021/2022 campaign, Apex Football will be taking a look at some of the major highlights and games to look forward to, which will provide the talking points and basis for discussions for the weekend, Let’s go!!!
PREMIER LEAGUE TITLE WINNER “MUST EMERGE”:
It is surprising to see that the title race in the Premier League is going down to the wire but that is the case, as Liverpool and Manchester City will find go to battle in the hope of becoming champions of England for the 2021/2022 campaign.
The Merseyside outfit will take on Wolverhampton Wanderers while the Cityzens will face Aston Villa in their final league matches of the season.
The Reds are on the cusp of immortality, as they are just two games away from completing a historic quadruple. That could partially be achieved if they manage to beat Wolves at Anfield on Sunday but the issue is: they need a favour in the fixture involving their rivals Manchester City and Aston Villa as their destiny is not in their own hands.
What a script it would be if Villa could prevent the Cityzens from retaining their PL crown. The Villans have former Liverpool associates in their ranks namely Danny Ings, Philippe Coutinho not forgetting manager Steven Gerrard who was a former skipper and player for the Reds.
However, Bruno Lage’s men can still be the spoilers in a potential title party at Anfield, as they are one of just five PL teams that have secured more points away (27) than at home (24) this season. They may well keep the tension going longer than expected too, as all of Wolves’ last five PL away games have seen a 0-0 half-time scoreline.
As for Man City, they are just a point ahead of Liverpool and could secure the top-flight gong with a win over Aston Villa. They are the overwhelming favourites but must be wary of the threat posed by their opposition, though with the spectators expected to spur them on, there could be nothing better than winning the league in front of your home fans.
TOP-FOUR BATTLE SET TO REACH ITS CONCLUSION:
North London clubs Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs will finally see their quest to reach the UEFA Champions League next season come to an end, with supposed “conclusive” ties on Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspurs will visit Carrow Road to take on an already-relegated Norwich City needing just a point to seal UCL football. They have edged the cat-and-mouse battle with nearest challengers and bitter rivals Arsenal which had been ongoing for weeks.
Antonio Conte’s arrival mid-season have revitalized and transformed the club’s fortunes which will end up in a continental ticket. They only need a draw to seal their spot in the UCL next season.
Arsenal on the other hand, would first need to beat Everton at the Emirates Stadium and hope that the Canaries can miraculously take out Spurs, which looks daunting though possible, as football can be an unpredictable sport.
THE LAST RELEGATION CANDIDATE WILL BE KNOWN:
Following Everton’s come-from-behind 3-2 victory over visiting Crystal Palace at Goodison Park which guaranteed their top-flight status for another season, the last relegation candidate will definitely be known by the end of domestic hostilities on Sunday.
The fight to avoid the drop to the Championship is between Leeds United and Burnley. The Clarets have their fate in their own hands as they hold a superior goal difference compared to that of their closest challengers. Burnley hosts Newcastle United at Turf Moor while Leeds United are away at Brentford.
No matter what happens, it would be sad to see either one of Burnley or Leeds United go down but their below-par displays this season means that the supposed relegated victim was actually the architect of their downfall.
THE UNPREDICTABLE SERIE A WILL SERVE US ONE FINAL HURRAH:
After 37 rounds of weekly action, the 2021/2022 Serie A is set to crown a deserving winner this weekend when Matchday 38 comes to a close.
Interestingly, the title race is between crosstown rivals and bitter enemies Inter Milan and AC Milan, something that would not have been predicted at the start of the season last August.
The Nerazzurri have managed to remain in the title conversation, despite losing key players in Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea, Christian Eriksen who is plying his trade at Brentford, Achraf Hakimi to PSG and manager Antonio Conte now at Tottenham Hotspurs.
The defending champions under the tutelage of manager Simone Inzaghi have had a great season – having claimed the Italian Super Cup and the Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) titles by beating old foe Juventus on both occasions. They could still retain their league crown if they overcome Sampdoria while AC Milan falters to Sassuolo.
As for the Rossoneri, they have been nothing short of impressive. Coach Stefan Pioli has managed to steer the team to the cusp of a first league crown since 2011 in spite of missing several key members of his playing staff due to injuries. A league crown will be just reward for the Italian who had led for most parts of the previous season, only for Inter to overtake them in the final weeks of the campaign.
They have shown that they can grind out results irrespective of the opposition but they will be wary of a stubborn Sassuolo side, who have gotten points off every big team in Serie A this campaign. Should the red and black fail to land the title, it would be devastating and heart-breaking.
As for the European places, AS Roma, Fiorentina and Atalanta all have the chance to seal either a UEFA Europa League place, a UEFA Europa Conference League spot or total ouster from continental football next season, depending on how results play out. Atalanta welcomes Empoli in a must-win clash, Fiorentina have a tough task against Juventus while AS Roma will visit Torino and could get their minds to rest if they can do the job against the Turin-based outfit.
The last relegation slot will be contested for between Salernitana and Cagliari. Newly-promoted Salernitana will be hoping not to make an early return to Serie B when they welcome Udinese while Cagliari go away to already-relegated Venezia. Salernitana have their fate in their hands and a win will secure their top-flight status for another year, while Cagliari will have to win their clash and hope for a big miracle from Udinese.