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Premier League prepares for D-Day

THE PREMIER LEAGUE
Date: Sun, 11 May Kick-offs: 1500 BST
BBC website: Live build-up and updates with Caroline Cheese from 1100 BST
BBC radio: Live commentary on 5 Live of Wigan v Man Utd and on 5 Live Sport Extra of Portsmouth v Fulham
BBC television: Final Score on BBC One and online at 1625 BST
Highlights on Match of the Day on BBC One at 2220 BST



Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Didier Drogba compete for the Premier League title
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Didier Drogba will fight it out for the title

The Premier League is preparing for one of the most dramatic days in the history of the competition.

The league title, Uefa Cup placings and the relegation issues will all be decided on the closing weekend of the 2007-08 season.

All 10 games will kick off simultaneously on Sunday at 1500 BST.

Manchester United need a victory at Wigan to clinch the championship, but if they fail to win Chelsea could pip them to the Premier League crown.

It is only the fourth time in the Premier League's history that the title has gone down to the last game of the season.

If Chelsea, who are at home to Bolton, match United's result then it will be the first time since 1989 that the English champions will be decided on goal difference.

Back then Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield, coming from behind to clinch the league in the most dramatic finish in the 120-year history of the English top flight.

1989 REVISITED
Liverpool's John Barnes relives previous final day dramas

Up to 20,000 United fans are expected to make the short journey to the JJB Stadium, hoping that their side will not suffer the same fate.

An estimated 400m people worldwide will follow the drama at the top and bottom of the table.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is looking to win his 10th league title and the club's 17th in total, just one behind their rivals Liverpool.

The club lost the title on the final day of the season in 1968 and 1995, but also won it on the last game in 1996 and 1999.

Ferguson said: "I speak to people abroad and they love the Premier League.

"That's why they show it all over the world. When we played Arsenal the match was seen in 200 countries.

"It is the most exciting league in the world. We are all looking forward to a nail-biting Sunday for the fans."

Chelsea manager Avram Grant took over the club in September and overcame a difficult start to take the club to the Champions League final and to within one game of the Premier League crown.

Grant has been impressed with Chelsea players' attitude this season

But he added: "Whatever happens on Sunday I will be very proud of what we have done this season.

"Alex said a few months ago it was the best Manchester United side since he's been coaching. We've given them a battle.

"If they take the title, and I'm not sure they will, it will be on goal difference.

"This is the most competitive league all over the world, so to come second here is better than in all the other leagues, with all due respect."

The two sides recently shared a hostile encounter at Stamford Bridge and will meet again in the Champions League final in Moscow on 21 May.

Grant has promised that no matter what happens on Sunday he will remain friends with Ferguson.

"I promised him an Israeli wine and we're going to drink it before the Champions League final," added Grant.

The top four sides all qualify for the Champions League next season and those places have already been sewn up by Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

THE MAIN GAMES
Wigan v Man Utd
Match preview
Chelsea v Bolton
Match preview
Everton v Newcastle
Match preview
West Ham v Aston Villa
Match preview
Portsmouth v Fulham
Match preview
Derby v Reading
Match preview
Birmingham v Blackburn
Match preview

But a place in the Uefa Cup is still to be decided, with Everton needing a point at home to Newcastle to seal fifth place and European football.

Aston Villa go to West Ham waiting to pounce if Everton were to slip up.

Villa or Blackburn are the teams most likely to take the Intertoto Cup place, while Manchester City are in pole position to grab another Uefa Cup through the Fair Play league.

At the bottom things are even tighter with two teams to be relegated on the last day.

Derby are already down with a record low points total for a top flight team, with two from three joining them.

Birmingham and Reading go into the final game occupying the final two slots, on 32 and 33 points respectively.

But Fulham are only above the drop zone on goal difference and face a trip to eighth-placed Portsmouth on Sunday.

Reading look like having the easiest game away to Derby, who have only won once all season.

But the Royals have suffered an almighty slump after looking safe in March and have not even scored a goal in 551 minutes of football.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

Reading skipper Graeme Murty summed up what slipping out of the top flight means to the clubs.

"You don't play Manchester United in the Championship. You don't play in front of 78,000 people, you go to Plymouth. Home Park's a lovely stadium, but it ain't Old Trafford," he said.

Birmingham are at home to seventh-placed Blackburn in their final game knowing even a win might not be enough to prevent them slipping back to the Championship after just one season.

There are likely to be ups and downs, winners and losers and you can follow all the action right here.

Decide the winners and losers using Premier League Predictor




Barclays Premier League Table
01 February 2010 22:00
    P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42

5 Liverpool 24 16 41

6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 22 -7 26
13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

see also
Ups and downs
10 May 08 |  Football
Who can still qualify for Europe?
09 May 08 |  Football
Final day drama
09 May 08 |  Premier League
Lawro's predictions
08 May 08 |  Football
Bruce vows Wigan will give 100%
08 May 08 |  Premier League
Hodgson braced for final hurdle
09 May 08 |  Premier League
Rivals bullish over title decider
10 May 08 |  Premier League
England lands extra Uefa Cup slot
09 May 08 |  Football
How to watch Match of the Day
08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day


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