A simple guide to the race for third, fourth and fifth place

Clive Rose

With everything else of note already decided, we turn our attention to the one points of interest on this final day in the EPL, the battle for Champions League spots.

With the title decided and all three relegation spots reluctantly claimed, there's little to get worked up about on the final day of the English Premier League season. That doesn't mean it's completely lacking any drama -- there's still one major issue to work out -- but compared to last season, it's downright drab. We got spoiled a bit honestly, so we'll just have to make do with enjoying the final day fight for third, fourth and fifth place.

Entering the ring at a combined weight of who knows what are the three competitors in this triple threat match. First up currently in third place are Chelsea, fresh off a triumph in the Europa League, the Blues will be looking to secure automatic entry into the Champions League group stages before kicking Rafa Benitez to the curb. Chelsea are at home, hosting Everton in David Moyes' final game in charge of the club.

In fourth sits Arsenal, the ever present titans of the seemingly rigged EPL system who are looking for their 14th straight Champions League appearance. Arsenal are on the road today against Newcastle who would probably love to end a disappointing season with win over the Gunners.

Finally our last entry, fifth-placed Tottenham who are desperate for a place in the Europe's biggest club tournament after missing out on a technicality last season. Spurs are at home against Sunderland needing a victory and some help if they want to avoid a second straight season in the Europa League.

Our three competitors are in the right, the bell is about to sound, so lets take a look at what we might see today.

Chelsea's path to third place

Win. It's as simple as that. The Blues are two points ahead of Arsenal and if they win, there's nothing the Gunners can do to catch them.

Arsenal's path to third place

If the Gunners are to jump ahead of Chelsea for third place they need to defeat Newcastle and hope Everton defeat the Blues. A Chelsea draw against Everton could open the door for Arsenal as well but they'll have to defeat Newcastle by at least two goals to overtake Chelsea on goal differential.

Tottenham's path to fourth place

Spurs will need to win against Sunderland and hope Arsenal draw or lose against Newcastle. If Spurs draw or lose, they will remain in fifth place no matter what Arsenal does. There is technically a way for Spurs to finish third but it involves both Chelsea and Arsenal losing and Spurs defeating Sunderland by at least 17 goals...so yeah, they're not finishing third unless Paolo Di Canio tells his team to stand still and allow Spurs to score at will.

So there you have it, the fairly simple scenarios that could play out today near the top of the table. Enjoy the final day of the EPL season.

The third place playoff scenario

If Chelsea draw 0-0 and Arsenal win 2-1, a playoff will be required to determine third place. The same applies if Chelsea draw 1-1 and Arsenal win 3-2, and so on.

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