Championship Sunday -- which I think should be called Separation Sunday, in a nod to the excellent The Hold Steady concept album -- is what NBC is glossing its final-day Premier League coverage. The EPL, to keep all 20 teams on the up-and-up, has them all play in the Sunday 3 pm GMT slot -- which works out great in seasons like 2012 when the season comes down to the final day.
(You might recall that Man City hilariously scored two goals in extra time against lowly QPR, to rip the trophy from cross-town rivals Man United on goal differential -- with the final goal coming after United's game at Sunderland finished, and United fans were ready to exult, but instead found themselves cruelly losing the league while stuck in Tyne-and-Wear.)
2015, of course, holds no such drama. Chelsea's already won the league, City's locked up second place, and barring an Arsenal meltdown in conjunction with a United fleecing of Hull, Arsenal will lock up third place and United will embark upon the Champions League qualification odyssey (in the true, original, Odysseus-traversing-the-Mediterranean sense of the word). Two of the three relegation spots have been snapped up by valiant Burnley and whatever-the-opposite-of-valiant-is QPR.
Yet, it's the final Sunday of the season, and there are ten matches to choose from, if you're an unrepentant channel surfer, attending a bar that will tune in to multiple games, or have multiple glowing screens to set up at home. We rank them in relevance from an Arsenal fan's perspective.
1. West Brom at Arsenal (Bravo). It's Arsenal, after all. As long as they're not losing, they'll grab third place. As long as they're not losing by a lot, they'll grab third place. As long as everyone stays healthy for the FA Cup final, that's what we want. Here's our official match preview.
2. Man United at Hull (NBC). Hull's trying to avoid relegation, and if they're putting up a fight, they should at least be keeping it respectable against United. Only worry if United's winning and Arsenal's losing by a combined margin of 6, as Arsenal holds a +7 GD advantage over United. (Hull actually has to beat United to have any chance at avoiding relegation, so they might leave themselves worryingly exposed to counters, making the chance of full-on-bungling not a remote possibility. Since it's a home match for Hull, you'll get high human drama be it the relief of staying afloat or the heartbreak of relegation.)
3. Southampton at Man City (MSNBC). If Southampton beats City, they can vault Spurs for 6th, which leads to this hilarious scenario -- if Villa beats Arsenal in the FA Cup, Villa takes the final Europa League spot, allowing Spurs to concentrate solely on the EPL, but if Arsenal wins the FA Cup, they doom Spurs to another year of Thursday nights in Transylvania and places further hither and yon. It's like that year when Chelsea won the Champions League when they finished 6th in the EPL, and sent 4th-place Spurs to Europa, but funnier in that Arsenal has a hand in it.
4. Spurs at Everton (CNBC). It's worth glancing over here to see if the above dream is alive. Since Southampton has a crushingly-large goal differential vs. Spurs, a Southampton draw and Spurs loss gets Southampton to 6th over Spurs. A Southampton win can only be trumped by a Spurs win. Plus, Tim Howard's always fun to watch.
5. West Ham at Newcastle (USA). Normally, this wouldn't matter, but Newcastle is on the cusp of relegation. If Newcastle beats West Ham, they're safe regardless of what Hull does, but if Hull beats United, Newcastle is relegated with either a draw or a loss, and their utter and total collapse under mid-season managerial replacement John Carver would be complete. (This might be worth an end-of-match channel flip to see a home stadium full of Shocked and Sad Newcastle Fans, if schadenfreude is your thing.)
6. Sunderland at Chelsea (NBCSN). If you enjoy punching yourself in the face, but prefer TV to do it for you, tune in to this match to watch Chelsea hoist a Premier League trophy after playing a team that escaped relegation this past Wednesday by boa-constricting your beloved Arsenal.
7. Burnley at Aston Villa (Esquire). Can you find the Esquire Network through your cable provider without consulting a guide? Me either. The only reason to hunt, of course, is to familiar yourself with our FA Cup final opponent, who dispatched Leicester, West Brom, and Liverpool on the way to the Finals.
8. Swansea at Crystal Palace (E!). Some former Arsenal players and Arsenal loanees in the mix in an utterly meaningless EPL contest.
9. Liverpool at Stoke (SYFY). Steven Gerrard's final EPL match happens in the Land of the Fans with Four Teeth. This is the sole reason to watch. This is a terrible sole reason to watch.
10. QPR at Leicester (Oxygen). A team that was deservedly relegated vs. a team that deservedly fought its way out of relegation playing out the string. Don't watch this. You're better than this.