Who will win the Barclay’s Premier League trophy?

Bradley Piros, Sports Editor

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There are five main soccer leagues in Europe, however not all of them are created equal. Some leagues are said to be “easier” and “less competitive” and there is some truth to that. These five leagues consist of 20 teams each, except the German Bundesliga with 18. Each team in the Bundesliga plays 34 games, while all the other four leagues play 36 each. These leagues run from August until May which means their seasons are almost over, with some champions already being named and some still having to battle it out on the final matchday.

I say not all leagues are created equal because some of them are decided weeks before with a team clinching first place. Let’s look at a couple examples of those. I’ll start off with Italian Serie A. There are some quality teams in this league like Napoli, AS Roma, AC Milan and Inter Milan. However, for the past eight seasons, including this year, Juventus have been crowned champions. They don’t have that much competition when they sit 18 points (six games) ahead of second place Napoli.

How about the French Ligue 1? Paris Saint Germain sit 16 points clear of second place Lille and 22 points ahead of third place Lyon. This is my least favorite league because it is so predictable and boring in my opinion. PSG have won the league six times in the last eight years, including this one. Those other two times finished in second place.

On to the Spanish Primera Division (LFP). This league is competitive, however, only three teams have won the La Liga title since 2004, those teams being FC Barcelona, Athletico Madrid and Real Madrid. Barcelona won it this year, sitting nine points ahead of second place Athletico. Real Madrid have won it 33 times, Barcelona 26 times and Athletico Madrid 10 times.

The Bundesliga isn’t usually close to the finish, but this year it certainly is. First, second and third are still a toss-up with Bayern Munich in first with 71 points, Borrussia Dortmund in second with 69 and RB Leipzig in third with 64. Bayern have won the title 28 times, including seven times in the past nine seasons. Anyone can win this one still as each team has three games remaining.

In case you didn’t know how the points system works in all these leagues, it’s simple really, three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss. The champions of each league are the teams sitting on top with the most points in the end.

So, that leaves one league left to talk about, the best league in the world, the Barclay’s Premier League or EPL for short. The Premier League era of English football began in 1992 and is the top level in England. This league used to just be called the Football League First Division from 1892-1992 was rebranded after 100 seasons. Since the rebranding 26 years ago, the league has been won by six different teams. Now I know what you’re thinking, that doesn’t sound all that competitive, but let me explain.

Since the Premier League era, Manchester United have won the title 13 times, but not since the 2012-2013 season. Chelsea have won it five times while Arsenal and Manchester City have each won it three times. The other two winners were Blackburn Rovers in the league’s third season and Leicester City’s unprobeable run in the 2015-2016 season.

There is currently a “Big Six” in the Premier League and has been since the rebranding really. These teams have taken first, second and third in the league for the past 15 years with the exception of the 2015- 2016 season with Leicester City. These six teams are, in order of successfulness: Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool and Tottenham have never won the EPL but sit second and third respectively.

Each of those six teams have two games remaining to try and move up the table, but only two teams can get first. Manchester City sit atop the table with 92 points with Liverpool breathing down their neck in second with 91 points. Then sits Tottenham in third with 70 points. In fourth is Chelsea with 68 points followed by Arsenal with 66 and Manchester United with 65.

That kind of gap usually isn’t seen in the Premier League. This season isn’t a perfect example of the point I’m trying to get across. Some, if not most years, all the Big Six teams have a shot of winning, but not this time. The league has come down to the final day time and time again, and that’s why it’s also the most dramatic.

Whenever two of these Big Six teams play each other, you don’t want to miss it. This league has arguably the second or third biggest rivalry in soccer depending on who you ask. That would be the Manchester Darby, happening when Manchester City and Manchester United are pinned against one another. The last one was back on April 24 with City coming out on top 2-0.

While every team wants to lift the trophy at the end of the season, all 20 teams aren’t just competing for first, they’re also competing for the top four spots. That’s because the top four teams get into the UEFA Champions League. That’s why it’s so exciting to see four teams separated by only five points with two to go. While first and second are a lock, only two other teams can make the Champions League, with the fifth-place team making the Europa League. Obviously every club wants to win it all, so in a way these tournaments are just mere consolation prizes.

So, with all that being said, I’ll end this with my own predictions and believe me, this is difficult. I’m going to go with Liverpool winning it all. They play Newcastle away which will be difficult, but I think they’ll win. Then they play Wolverhampton Wanderers at home which will also be difficult but should also be a win. Manchester City hosts Leicester City and I think that will be a draw. Then they host Brighton and Hove Albion which will be an easy win. So if that happens, Liverpool will sit on top with 97 points with Manchester City in second with 96.

As for third and fourth, I think we’ll see Tottenham and Arsenal making a trip to the Champions League. I think Leicester City will beat Chelsea at home on the final day and Arsenal will take fourth place after they beat Burnley.

Those are my rather bold predictions for the last two games. The season wraps up next Sunday, and I’ll be waking up early to catch these games and see if I’m anywhere close to right about my predictions.

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