The highly improbable last day scenario-concocting Premier Preview

So it’s come to this: each team has played 37 matches, 3,330 minutes of football and run the distance to the moon and back (probably), and it all rests to a final-frame shootout.

The league title is wrapped up, and the battle between Spurs and Liverpool for the final Europa League spot so hotly contested that even the teams themselves don’t care.

There’s no surprise, then, that the focus is firmly on the relegation dogfight. Again, it would be even better if actual dogs were involved, but what can you do?

Aston Villa v Liverpool

But before we tackle all the fascinating relegation possibilities – and the BBC are going to have great fun on Sunday analysing every potential outcome – there’s this fixture, involving a team who have already made themselves safe. That’s right: Liverpool.

Is fifth place, which looked like a distant s***-edged star some months ago, still beyond them? It seems not: one dropped point from Spurs would be enough if the Reds can win here. Sadly Gerard Houllier is unlikely to manage the Villa against his former club, but his 2001 UEFA Cup Final hero Gary McAllister will deputise to keep the Liverpool connection... connected.

What won’t happen: Heskey hits a hat-trick past his old side to take his Premier League tally to an astonishing 112, with all three assists coming from ex-Red and now permanent benchwarmer Stephen Warnock. Neil Warnock will play in the Prem before he does again

What will happen: A fully fit Villa put up a fight, but Liverpool take the three points and a Europa League spot

Bolton v Manchester City

The season can’t end fast enough for Bolton, not only winless in four but pointless as well. From sitting in sixth earlier in the campaign, they’re now 10th and could, unbelievably, finish 14th if results don’t go their way on Sunday.

That’d be a great shame for a small squad well led by relative perennially be-shorted Owen Coyle.

In injury news, Sam Ricketts is on the sidelines for Bolton while Jerome Boateng and Shay Given sit out for City. Expect an emergency loan keeper on the bench.

What won’t happen: An emergency loan keeper – it was a joke! A funny, funny joke! Because they did it last year, remember?

What will happen: Citeh put Arsenal under immense pressure for third with a win at the Wanderers

Everton v Chelsea

Little to play for but pride here, with Chelsea all but guaranteed of second – it’ll take a 13-goal swing for Manchester City to change that – and Everton assured of seventh with a point.

It’s a good thing, really, that Stoke have claimed that European spot through the FA Cup because you could argue, across the season, that in all competitions they’ve earned it more than Everton, who would normally have qualified through finishing in the top seven.

Fellaini misses out for Everton with a strained afro (almost as strained as that joke), while Chelsea are fit and fancy-free.

What won’t happen: David Moyes to keep waiting for the Manchester United job that’s supposed to be coming his way – he’s like Prince Charles, only with other avenues open to him.

What will happen: A Salomon Kalou double and big away win

Fulham v Arsenal

Seventh isn’t beyond Fulham, incredible given they were in the relegation zone and a mere point off the bottom at the turn of the year. It’s like Lazarus II: The Revengening.

There’s no way Arsenal want to play an extra two legs before the Champions League, so they’ll put everything into winning this to finish third.

The problem is they’re without a lot of players thanks to injury: Nasri and Fabregas will be sorely missed, but no more than Djourou and Koscielny at the back, as it means Seb ‘offside trap - pah!’ Squillaci will have to play again.

In contrast, Fulham lose only Damien Duff to an injury known in Latin as Crockedis Inevitabilis.

What won’t happen: The Wenger v Hughes Handshake Debacle descends into a full-on brawl

What will happen: Fulham snatch a draw to sink a woeful Arsenal to fourth

Manchester United v Blackpool (Sky Sports 1 & HD1)

The mist of demented paranoia circling this game is so thick you could bottle it.

No, Ian Holloway, the Premier League is not against you. No, Ian Holloway, it is not conspiring to get your team relegated. No, Ian Holloway, you are not funny. You are very, very annoying.

Will Manchester United field a second string? How long is a piece of their second string? And will Ferguson ever retire? All this, and more, in the next ten years...

What won’t happen: Gabriel Obertan, who will start, to look unduly impressive

What will happen: Unbelievably for a team with a better away record than a team in sixth place, Blackpool haven’t won on the road in 2011 – but somehow, against a weakened United side, they do it here. Bring on the conspiracy theories...

Newcastle v West Brom

It’s a good thing Newcastle have one of the highest average attendances in the top flight this season, or fans might be tempted to go elsewhere on this exciting final day; there’s bugger all to keep them here.

This match is so pointless, with so little riding on it, that even recounting the injury list seems a waste of time. But if you must know, Dorrans and Ibanez are unavailable for the Baggies, and Newcastle are without Nolan, Perch, Best, Gosling, Harper and Williamson. And Ben Arfa, obviously. He’s dead.

What won’t happen: West Brom continue their resurgence with a final away victory to confuse Roy Hodgson further, who swears he keeps telling them not to win

What will happen: Draw

Stoke v Wigan (Sky Sports 1 Red Button & Online)

After a good few results for Martinez’s men, pundits are convinced Wigan will stay up, but it’s not as simple as that.

Sure, they don’t even have to get a point to leapfrog two teams and climb out of the relegation zone – but you never want your destiny to be out of your hands. Unless, of course, you believe in a deity or deities, in which case it’s quite a fundamental core of your belief-system and to be honest, there are enough of you to suggest you’re quite happy to have your destiny out of your hands.

So...yes. Anyway, Wigan could win and go down, lose and stay up, but whatever happens, they don’t look capable of making serious progress under their Spanish manager.

A win against a Stoke side that hasn’t lost at home in 2011 might go some way to disproving that theory, even if the Potters are minus bullish strikers Fuller and Sidibe and arguably still demoralised after the FA Cup final. Sod’s Law dictates Wigan will probably have a stormer, win, but go down anyway.

What won’t happen: Wigan fans’ spirits to be particularly damaged by the news that 85-year-old reserve team keeper Mike Pollitt is out injured

What will happen: Absolutely, honestly no idea. It’s just too close. Stoke are obdurate opponents but have one eye downcast and the other on Europe already; Wigan want it more but don’t have the firepower. Even if we go with the cop-out of a draw, anything could happen. Toss a coin (we’ll give your our prediction for this one at the end to keep the suspense at optimum levels…)

Tottenham v Birmingham (Sky Sports 2 & HD2, Absolute Radio)

Speaking of coin tosses, if you were wondering whether statistically unlikely Premier League stalemates are settled in such a fashion – they’re not.

The last resort is instead a play-off at a neutral venue. God alone knows how they settle it in the event of THREE teams finishing tied on points, goal difference and goals scored, but we assume it‘d involved some kind of triangular pitch surrounded by fire somewhere near the centre of the earth.

Here’s how it could feasibly – ish – happen so that Birmingham and Wigan would have to enter a play-off.

i) Wigan lose 1-0 to Stoke. OK, that’s possible – likely, even.
ii) Blackpool lose to Manchester United by three goals or more. Also possible.
iii) Birmingham lose this game at White Hart Lane 6-3.

What? It could happen!

What won’t happen: That scenario

What will happen: McLeish gives his Blue boys the kick up the arse they need, and they take a victory against a Spurs team with their eye off the ball. ‘Arry, avoiding fifth, isn’t too bothered

West Ham v Sunderland

The Hammers to go out on a high? Kevin Keen to be given a five-year contract? West Ham to come straight back up next season?

Yes; no; it depends on the manager. In the short term, Sunderland still having no fit strikers will definitely help.

What won’t happen: Sunderland wrap up their 101st Premier League win (that’s ever, mind, not this season)

What will happen: Home win

Wolves v Blackburn

It’s an odd one: like life itself, this game could mean everything or nothing, depending on results elsewhere.

One thing’s for certain: as exhilarating as all the permutations could make it, the game itself will not be an end-to-end stomper.

Nelsen, Grella, Edwards, Zubar and Mouyokolo miss out for various teams - none of them Barcelona.

What won’t happen: Blackburn take their first away win of 2011; Wolves beat Rovers for the first time in seven attempts

What will happen: One for the purists: a battling but dour draw

So what does this all mean? With Blackpool and Birmingham winning, and Wolves and Blackburn drawing, it essentially comes down to Wigan needing to win at Stoke.

And - drum roll please…

They won’t. Wolves and Wigan to drop, Birmingham and Blackpool to survive.

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