EPL: Battle for Champions League spot via playoff?

The prospect of a playoff for the final Champions League spot looms large as Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal head into the final week with their league standings still up for change.

If Arsenal draws 1-1 with Everton and Liverpool loses 2-0 to Middlesbrough, both clubs will end up dead level on points and goal difference.   -  Getty Images

The prospect of a playoff for the final Champions League spot looms large as Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal all head into the final week with their league standings still up for change.

With both ends of the table sealed -- Hull City, Middlesbrough and Sunderland are relegated and Chelsea is the champion with Tottenham finishing second -- the race to get into the top four will go down the wire.

As things stand, City (75 points) occupies the final automatic Champions League spot with Liverpool (73) and Arsenal (72) close on its heels.

Scenarios

Fourth place: If Arsenal draws 1-1 with Everton and Liverpool loses 2-0 to Middlesbrough, both clubs would finish behind City with the same number of points and goal difference (+31). Alternatively, a 2-2 draw at the Emirates and a 3-1 win for Middlesbrough (or a 3-3 draw and 4-2 win at Anfield) will also lead to a playoff for the fourth spot. 

Third place: Should Liverpool end up level on points with City, the duo will have to battle for the right of passage to next year's Champions League group stage. If City draws 3-3 at Watford and Liverpool wins 3-0 at home, then both teams will finish on 76 points with 78 goals scored and 42 conceded.

Third/fourth: The most unlikely of the scenarios, but should Guardiola's men get embarrassed 4-0 at Watford and the Gunners secure a 1-0 win at home, both teams will end up on 75 points and +32 goal difference. Whether the playoff is for the third spot or the fourth depends on how Liverpool fares against Middlesbrough.

The date and venue for the playoff, if at all, are yet to be finalised.

 

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