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UEFA places and relegation on last day

With Manchester United already crowned champions going into the final round of the English Premier league, focus will be on who will join Charlton and Watford in the championship next season and there is also the UEFA Cup places to be decided.

In an earlier post I discussed about Watford's relegation and who was going to follow suit but since then Charlton has followed them after their loss to Spurs and now Wigan, Sheffield, West Ham are the only ones who can still be relegated.

Fulham escaped after a vital win against what was essentially Liverpool's reserve team and a Carlos Tevez inspired West Ham have put themselves in a comfortable position after beating Bolton in the last round.

Wigan and Sheffield meet at Bramall Lane in a match where Wigan has to win to lengthen its short stay in the premiership. Wigan are now the only team whose survival is dependent on other teams and but its made easier by the fact that should they beat Sheffield, then they will end up above them.

West Ham and Sheffield both need draws to survive. West Ham have made the relegation battle seem a little easier because they have picked up form at the right moment and their key victory in the last few weeks was the one against Wigan. To be able to survive relegation you need to beat teams around you and Wigan failed in that respect when they lost 3 nil to the Hammers at home.

Turning to the UEFA cup places, Everton, Spurs, Bolton, Reading and Portsmouth all have a chance to bring European football to their stadiums next season. The fact that Manchester United and Chelsea are playing in the FA Cup final at Wembley has meant that seventh position gets a UEFA Cup place that would otherwise have gone to the winner of the FA Cup.

Spurs and Everton are most likely going to get the two of the places. Spurs meet Manchester City at White Hart Lane needing only a draw to secure a UEFA place. Although Everton meet Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will have one eye on the FA Cup and therefore are likely to rest some key players and therefore Everton should be able to get the draw they need at least.

Bolton meet in-form Aston Villa and I will not be surprised to see a Villa win there. For them all they need is a win and they are in although a draw could be enough depending on what happens to Reading and Portsmouth.

Reading lost a great chance last week when they lost to Watford at home and now they will need to beat Blackburn to be in with a chance. Bolton will have to either draw or lose for them to qualify.

Portsmouth will meet Arsenal at Fratton Park knowing that a win coupled by losses by both Reading and Bolton will land them a UEFA place. I see their chances as slim as I cannot see Arsene Wenger's men losing the last match of what has been a disappointing season for them by their standards. Also a win or a draw might secure the Gunners third place depending on what happens between Liverpool and Charlton at Anfield.

Meanwhile from an Australian perspective, I am hoping that Foxtel will show these matches the way they were shown last week for the Championships last day. Last week on the last day of the Championship, one match was featured but goals from the key matches and latest league table were shown to keep viewers up to speed with developments around the grounds.

Its very hard to see a way out for Wigan. They had many chances to save their season but they did not take them. Jewell will have to re-build his team again and try and get back to the premiership.
West Ham will get the draw they need against Man U - Man U really want the double and will not risk injury or cards.

Nick, Wigan pulled a surprise and beat Sheffield. I think Sheffield were hoping that Man U were going to beat West Ham but that didn't happen and West Ham actually won and poor Sheffield has to go down.

I think Sheffield must be the thinking of the penalty there were denied at Old Trafford plus the three goal loss at Villa. If they had lost to Villa by just one goal, they would have had a superior goal difference to Wigan's and they would have stayed. But its now water under the bridge and I wish them all the best in the Championship.

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