Finally the last day of the season has arrived and it’s not for the faint hearted nor for any fan who who can’t tolerate the chaotic and frantic tension that will surely be increasing all of our heart rates.
We are by no means in a bad position going into it either; concentrating all of our energy over the final few games and positioning ourselves to pull off our own great escape in the making. The big question that remains to be seen is whether we can accomplish the ultimate objective that will see us playing Premier League football next season.
I feel as if Dean Smith has done remarkably well to seek the defensive improvements that have seen us shift the back line layout to become a much more defiant and resolute outfit. We’re now harder to break down and adding rare clean sheets too.
As well as that, players like Trézéguet and Douglas Luiz have matured into top flight players, now beginning to repay their price tags. The latter has been the standout player since the restart, putting in man of the match performances to the point where it’s no longer a surprise when the mercurial winger lays down his gauntlet and commands his position with acuity, energetic pressing and improving distribution.
Onto Sunday. While we can even lose to stay up, we need to go to the West Ham to get the win. We can’t afford to burst our own bubble by relying on other teams’ results, we would leave ourselves in a precarious position. Going to get the win or at least ensuring we aren’t beaten will give us more than a chance.
Elsewhere, Watford travel to Arsenal while Bournemouth go to Goodison Park to take on Everton. On paper you would certainly expect the home sides to wrap up a victory, yet it is never plain sailing in a league where anyone can pop up with a surprise result on any given day.
Gaining a draw – which would place us on 35 points – may be enough and that would be advantageous in omitting Bournemouth from the equation who start the day on 31 points. Goal difference is an interesting factor too, because we currently lie ahead of Watford by one goal. This could be of specific tension if both us and Watford were to lose; not only would Bournemouth potentially be ready to pounce, but it may go down to who loses by the least amount of goals.
The mathematics make it a great watch for the neutrals but if you are one of those three teams down in the mix, scrapping away for one final safety spot, then it’s less enjoyable. You can at least be sure there will be drama.
Dean Smith simply said we have one more game to achieve our original target of staying up. Just as it was after beating West Brom in the playoffs last year, we all shared a belief that promotion was happening and so it did. All that is in the way is another 90 minutes which can prevent an immediate slump back down to Championship football.