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Fourth Place Trophy Race: One game to go

The math gets easier, but the straws to grab at get...strawier?

Stoke City v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Arsenal did their part today, but Manchester City didn’t cooperate. City beat West Brom 3-1 to tighten their grip on third place. As it stands right now, Arsenal are on 72 points, Liverpool on 73, and City on 75, and City has a 5 GD over Arsenal. So, here’s the possibilities as I see them for Sunday:

Arsenal win, Liverpool win: Liverpool get 4th
Arsenal win, Liverpool draw/lose: Arsenal get 4th
Arsenal win, Liverpool draw/lose, City win: Arsenal get 4th
Arsenal win, Liverpool draw/lose, City draw: Arsenal get 4th
Arsenal win, Liverpool draw/lose, City lose: Arsenal get 4th, but could get 3rd if they make up a 5 GD

So, assuming Arsenal can take care of Everton, it truly is all down to that Liverpool/Middlesbrough game.

There is, however, another intriguing, if gossamer-thin, possibility. An Arsenal draw and Liverpool loss would level the two clubs on points, which means it would go to the first tiebreaker, goal difference. In that scenario, any combination of Arsenal scoring at least one more goal than Liverpool in their draw, and Liverpool losing by at least 2 more goals than Arsenal scores, would see Arsenal finish in fourth place.

If Arsenal draw and Liverpool lose with a combination of goals that sees them level on points and GD, the next tiebreaker is goals scored. If the teams finish level on all three of those measures, an even more unlikely scenario unfolds: a one game playoff, probably before the FA Cup final (I don’t know that for a fact, but I’d be surprised if the Premier League wanted to play a game in June), to determine who would get that fourth Champions League spot. What would it take for that playoff to become a reality?

So yeah, I mean, it could happen. Insert Dumb and Dumber SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE gif here, if your meme game is stuck in 2001.

All ten Premier League games Sunday kick off at 7AM PT/10AM ET/3PM BT.