Mathematics says that if Arsenal and Chelsea finish their last match of the season in a certain way, a one game play-off will ensue to determine the 3rd and 4th spots in the Premier League for this season. While there are numerous complications should this arise with respect to scheduling, stadium availability and so on, the prospect of an extra crunch premier league game is quite exciting.
The game would no doubt mean additional work for the players and managers and an extra day of preparation cutting into their summer tours and vacations but from a fan’s perspective, it would be a perfect way to round off the season. There have already been some great headlines so far this season like Sir Alex’s retirement, Bale’s emergence as a superstar, van Persie’s first tile, Wigan’s fairy tale and the subsequent irony, and this extra game will be a perfect cherry on the top as it will make history as the first end-of-season play-off ever.
Finishing the season in 3rd place would be an amazing result for Arsenal, given their inconsistent start to the season and their amazing run at the finish – 9 game unbeaten run so far after the painful loss to Tottenham, and it will be the perfect “in your face” to Tottenham who, if the playoff scenario arises, will have cemented 5th spot and another Europa League qualification. Arsenal would love to add to their amazing turnaround which kicked off with their audacious win at the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich.
Chelsea might just be a tad unconcerned about finishing in 3rd or 4th spot after their Europa League glory which meant they had something meaningful to show for this season. With the club having another season of two different managers and sometimes threatening to slip away from the top 4 again like last season, they have come a long way to ensure they will qualify for the Champions League next season. But Chelsea has already played the most matches this season by a Premier League club and an extra game might just prove too much for them.
If it does happen, the playoff game might give Arsenal the feeling of playing in a cup final, something which they have been sorely lacking since 8 years. Maybe that will inspire them to win something next season!