Heading into the final day of the current Premier League season only Newcastle and Hull fans have anything to really worry about as the pair battle to survive the drop.
Although the exact finishing order of the top seven may preoccupy Liverpool, Tottenham and Southampton fans’ minds, it’s the battle at the bottom that will dominate the script when the last action of the season is played out on Sky Sports.
In all likelihood, the broadcasters in Isleworth will be praying for a dramatic set of events that will get people talking and, if Hull manage a 9/4-rated win at home to Manchester United and Newcastle fail to make good on their 3/4 price to beat West Ham, then they could well get their wish.
It remains to be seen which of the pair will suffer the ultimate heartache. But if the day’s action is anywhere near as good as some of the below last hurrahs, ranked in order of theatre, then neutrals will be in for a treat:
3) Relegation see-saw ends with Blackpool and Birmingham going down
Five clubs entered the last day of the 2010/11 season in danger of being relegated. Blackpool, Birmingham, Wolves, Blackburn and Wigan all took turns in the perilous drop zone over the course of their respective 90 minutes, with a late Stephen Hunt goal proving pivotal for the outcome.
The Irishman netted late on for Wolves in a 3-2 defeat to Blackburn that became vital for the Midlanders’ goal difference, while Hugo Rodallega grabbed a winner for Wigan against Stoke that completed an unbelievable recovery for the Latics just weeks after they looked certainties for the drop.
Blackpool’s defeat to Manchester United and Birmingham’s loss to Tottenham ended up sealing their fate, as they joined West Ham on the slide back into the Championship.
2) West Brom turn it around to complete a great escape
Being bottom at Christmas was, until the 2004/05 season, the Premier League equivalent of signing a death wish as far as relegation was concerned. When West Brom tucked into their Turkey in the knowledge that they propped up the top flight by some five points, few could predict the comeback that was about to ensue.
Heading into the final day of the campaign, Bryan Robson’s side joined Southampton, Norwich and Crystal Palace as the sides in danger of dropping out of the division and all four took turns to sit below the dreaded dotted line as their games played out.
As it turned out, the Baggies were the only side of the quartet to grab a last-day win, with their 2-0 triumph over Portsmouth sending their three rivals down and sparking scenes of pure joy on the Hawthorns pitch.
1) Aguero’s late strike seals Man City’s first title
A healthy goal difference was, and ended up, being like an extra point for the Citizens as the last day of the 2011/12 season approached. A win over QPR at home would hand them a first league title for 44 years and, even better, deny arch rivals Manchester United the taste of success.
The relegation-threatened Hoops overturned Pablo Zabaleta’s opener to lead 2-1, despite being down to 10-men thanks to Joey Barton’s moment of madness. United were leading Sunderland by a single goal heading into stoppage time, only for Edin Dzeko and then Sergio Aguero to nab the latest of late strikes to hand City the title.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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