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The last words

The Soccer Saturday panel answer some of the key questions ahead of the Premier League's final day.

Thommo, Charlie, Le Tiss and Merse give us their final-day thoughts

The Premier League season is set for a spectacular culmination on Sunday afternoon with matters still to be decided at the top and bottom of the table. Manchester City will be looking to stay one step ahead of their illustrious neighbours Manchester United and win their first top flight title in 44 years. Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle, meanwhile, are intent on snaring third place and a guaranteed spot in next year's Champions League. Plus, at the bottom of the table, Bolton and QPR are striving to avoid the fate already suffered by Wolves and Blackburn - relegation to the Championship. There are a host of key questions ahead of the final fixtures of the season, and Soccer Saturday pundits Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas, Matt Le Tissier and Paul Merson have done their best to answer them for us...


Thommo: I can't see Man City not doing it. They have experience of winning lots of things individually, if not as a team, and QPR have a horrendous away record. Mark Hughes' team are battling to stay up and that last-minute winner by Djibril Cisse against Stoke will have given them a boost. Rangers will fight all the way and that will give Manchester United hope, but City should get the win they need. Charlie: It has to be Man City. They can taste it and won't require any motivation. The crowd, too, will be so pumped up. I watched Queens Park Rangers last week and they got a good win, but I just cannot see anything other than City going for this from the whistle and becoming the new champions. I expect Man United to get the win at Sunderland to keep the pressure on but it won't be enough. Le Tiss: I can't see any way that Man City won't win the Premier League. QPR's away form has been abysmal and with so much on the line for City I would be very surprised if QPR got anything out of that game. City have so much quality in their team, and are jam-packed with top-drawer international footballers, so I'm sure they can cope with the occasion. Merse: I'd be shocked if Man City are not champions by Sunday evening. People say they are under pressure, but the pressure was on them at Newcastle - a far better team than QPR - and they came through that one. They took their time, didn't panic when it was still 0-0 after 70 minutes and came through in very impressive style. Yet again on Sunday there's no rush for them. They've got 90 minutes to score a goal. They'll win, no drama.


Thommo: I think Tottenham will do it. They are the only of the chasing teams with a home game and I think they will beat Fulham. Arsenal sit third at the moment but they seem to be having a wobble and have to go to West Brom, who have had a decent season. The Baggies battled back well last week to draw with Bolton so they proved they are still focussed. I think they will want to send Roy Hodgson out on a high and could make things difficult for Arsenal. I think that game will end in a draw. Charlie: I think Arsenal will finish third. I expect their game against West Brom to be very open, rather than tactical, and that will suit Arsenal and I think they will win and get in the Champions League. That will be a great achievement considering how they started the season and could be a major factor in convincing Robin van Persie to stay. Le Tiss: I think I'd probably go with Arsenal. They know that a win will guarantee them that spot, and even though West Brom put up a good fight against Bolton last week, I think Arsenal will have too much quality for them. Merse: I see Tottenham beating Fulham and finishing third. Fulham have done great this year, but their away record is not the best in the world and on the last day of the season I don't think they'll have the same intensity as their opponents. Spurs were unlucky to only draw with Aston Villa last week; they dominated that game and I think they'll win and finish above Arsenal.


Thommo: Arsenal. I don't think Newcastle will be able to overtake the Gunners because I can't see them winning at Everton. The Toffees are a tough nut and have had a very solid season. I think Newcastle will have to settle for a Europa League place, which is no mean feat in itself. Charlie: Tottenham should beat Fulham, come fourth and then turn into Bayern Munich fans next Saturday and pray that Chelsea don't steal the final Champions League place from them. Even as an Arsenal man, I have to hold my hands up and say that after the performances they have put in this season, and how exciting they have been to watch, Spurs deserve to get a Champions League spot. Le Tiss: Tottenham will beat Fulham to finish fourth. Wins for both Spurs and Arsenal will rule Newcastle out of a top-four finish whatever they do at Everton. But I can't see Newcastle beating Everton anyway. Everton have been in pretty good form recently and are impressive at Goodison Park. The best I think Newcastle can hope for is a draw. Merse: I don't see Arsenal winning at West Brom and I think they'll end up fourth. The West Brom fans will want to send Roy Hodgson off on a positive note and I can't see them failing to score when you look at Arsenal's atrocious defending of late. Newcastle can still come in the top four but they have got a hard game against Everton. Everton have been on a great run, they're trying to finish above Liverpool, and I think they'll win that one.


Thommo: Wigan won at Stoke on the final day of last season but I don't think Bolton will; I see them losing at Stoke and getting relegated. Bolton have looked suspect at the back all season and even though Tim Ream has done well, they seem unable to shut other teams out, with clean sheets at a minimum. Last week was a prime example when they were coasting against West Brom and drew 2-2 when all they needed to do was hold on to their lead. Even if QPR lose at Man City, as I fully expect them to, I think they will be safe. Charlie: I can't see Bolton winning at Stoke, which means I expect them to be relegated. Stoke may have lost to QPR last week but they didn't go there with the attitude of: 'Let's get the speedos and buckets and spades out and go off on our holidays'. I was speaking to Tony Pulis and his staff last weekend and they were saying that with it being £750,000 per finishing place in the Premier League that a win in their last game and a jump of two positions will get them £1.5million that they can spend on a new player. I think what happened to Bolton last week, surrendering a two-goal lead to draw with West Brom, might take its toll and with a vocal home support behind them coupled with their quality and threat from set pieces, I think Stoke will win. I hope Owen Coyle and his side stay up, but I don't see it materialising. Le Tiss: I've got a funny feeling that Bolton might actually win at Stoke to stay up, matching Wigan's achievement from last season. Normally on the final day fixtures, you get a team that needs to win more than their opponents and if they apply themselves properly they normally come out on top. QPR are in a position where they are facing a team that is going for the title, which is very different to Bolton who are facing a side that are sat in mid-table with nothing to play for. For me, QPR will go down. Merse: Having watched Bolton last week I'd be shocked if they went to Stoke and won. They were playing a team with nothing to play for, yet West Brom had chance after chance. It was like watching a testimonial. Stoke are ready for their holidays after a good season, especially in the cups but they are unbeaten against the current top four at home this season and I think they could send Bolton down. People say Wigan went to Stoke last year and won to stay up, but Stoke were the better team that day. Wigan were hardly in it. That's the positive for QPR, who should lose at Man City, to look at.

You can keep up to date with all the thrills and spills from the final day of the Premier League season by watching Soccer Special, from 2pm, Sunday, Sky Sports News HD, channel 405.

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