EPL’s final day demands your attention

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EPL’s final day demands your attention

Sure, the NBA playoffs may be in full swing following an historically exhilarating first round. And, sure, the Blackhawks may be gunning for back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. Remember though, the sports world in early May is much larger than simply the NBA and NHL playoffs. 

This Sunday marks the final week of the English Premier League, where the 2013-14 season champion will be crowned. Heading into Matchday No. 38, the top three teams in the EPL — Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea — are within four points of each other. One of these three giants of European and English football has a chance to take home the trophy, and that alone is good enough reason why the final week of the Premier League demands your attention.

Notwithstanding the World Cup and, arguably, the Champions League, winning the EPL title may be the most prestigious prize in the entirety of the football universe. The EPL is possibly the most popular and most famous league, not only in the sport, but the sports world as a whole. There, two more reasons why you shouldn’t forget to watch this Sunday at 9 a.m.

The prestige of the Premier League is definitely an important reason to tune in this Sunday, but so are the different storylines involving the three clubs pining for the title. 

Manchester City, the current leader, is perched atop the standings following a win Wednesday over Aston Villa. After Liverpool’s loss and draw in consecutive weeks, City controls its own destiny. At this point, all City must do is win or draw in its final match. Assuming City takes care of business Sunday against West Ham, it will clinch its second title in three seasons. Another EPL title will do much to strengthen the case that City currently is the preeminent club in Manchester, especially given the struggles of Manchester United in the post-Alex Ferguson era.

If you have a tendency to root for the underdog and empathize with a tortured fan base, then Liverpool is the team for you. The Reds will be shooting to clinch their first EPL title since 1989-90. This is the first time since 2009 that Liverpool has a legitimate shot at winning the title. It is also incredibly remarkable the turnaround the team has seen following a seventh-place finish a season ago. Potentially winning the title this season would be all the more special for Liverpool given that this season marks the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, where 96 Liverpool fans died.

It appeared as if Liverpool was in firm control of the title two weekends ago versus Chelsea at Anfield. That all changed when Steven Gerrard slipped on the pitch, allowing Chelsea striker Demba Ba to slip behind the defense for the go-ahead goal. Chelsea would go on to win 2-0, putting a dent in Liverpool’s title hopes. Liverpool’s hopes were further jeopardized following a stunning draw Monday at the hands of Crystal Palace, in which the Reds held a three goal lead.

Perhaps the most underachieving club of the bunch is Chelsea. The Blues are coming off a tough week in which they were eliminated in the Champions League semifinal against Atlético Madrid, and tied a Norwich City club facing relegation — both at Stamford Bridge. In manager José Mourinho’s first season back following a stint at Real Madrid, the Blues have been shockingly inconsistent, with big wins against top-tier clubs and mind-numbing losses to below average clubs. Though Chelsea dominated Arsenal in March and held Liverpool scoreless, it has lost to Sunderland, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. Chelsea will need a win in the final match, along with lots of help if it has any chance at the title.

If you are looking for just one more reason to not sleep in this Sunday, just look at recent history, and you will see why the EPL’s final day is such an exhilarating day on the sports calendar. Case in point: the final match day in 2012. Needing a win to clinch the title for the first time since 1968, Manchester City found itself down 2-1 to Queens Park Rangers. In a comeback for the ages, City proceeded to score two goals in stoppage time to win the league — wrestling the title away from rival Manchester United. That was not only one of the best moments of 2012, but possibly in Premier League history. You never know, another shocking plot twist may be in the fold this season.

It is worth your while to take a study break Sunday morning, and turn on the EPL for Championship Sunday. Plus, it is the first step in gearing up for the World Cup next month.

If you’re a sports fan, you can’t afford not to watch the EPL this Sunday.

Dan is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] and @danescalona77.