This year, Manchester City and Liverpool have led the Premier League title race to the bitter end, but if the remaining fixtures fall one way, things could get even more tense.
So, it’s incredibly unlikely, but if the remaining results turn out in any particular way for both teams, they could end up needing a playoff to decide where the title goes.
Essentially a Premier League final.
It’s extremely unlikely, but it could still happen, and here’s how.
As things stand, City have a one-point advantage with four games to go, meaning four more wins will see them crowned champions, whatever the Reds do.
Liverpool need snookers by the minute, and neither side seems in the mood to give up on anything – apart from City’s Champions League capitulation to Real Madrid earlier this week.
Another key factor that could come into play is goal difference, in which Liverpool currently lead by one goal.
Both games between the two behemoths ended 2-2, meaning there is no advantage for either side to win there.
In short, Liverpool need to earn one more point than City before the end of the season, but City need to score one more goal.
It’s not totally out of the question, is it?
It’s also probably the closest Premier League to a potential playoff game in a long time.
Although this has never happened, this rule is provided for in the Premier League handbook.
This manual states: “If two clubs cannot be separated under rules C.17.1 and C.17.2, a play-off on neutral ground, the format, time and place of which will be determined by the council”.
So this weekend Liverpool host Spurs – a tricky tie – and if they win 1-0 and City beat Newcastle – another potential banana peel – 3-1, the goal difference will be the same.
All it would take then was City losing a game before the end of the season and Liverpool getting a draw, and we would be ready for the playoffs.
Say it went Aston Villa 1-0 Liverpool and Wolves 0-2 Man City the following weekend, then West Ham 1-0 Man City and Southampton 1-2 Liverpool the following day, followed by the results of the final day of Liverpool 1 – 1 Wolves and Manchester City 2 – 1 Aston Villa.
This would put both teams on 92 points, with a goal difference of 67 and exactly the same number of goals
This scenario is not outside the realm of possibility and given how this season has gone between the top two teams, the odds of 80/1 seem like very good value for money for the bettor.