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In theory, forget a big bang for seaaon's finale

Barring some kind of Istanbul-sized turnaround, Manchester City will today be crowned Premier League champions for the second time in three years.

Luis Suarez after Liverpool's draw with Crystal Palace Photograph: Getty
Luis Suarez after Liverpool's draw with Crystal Palace Photograph: Getty

There was still - possibly - a modicum of suspense until last Monday night, but Liverpool's late collapse at Crystal Palace killed that.

You can fathom City drawing against West Ham and Liverpool hammering Newcastle today. That's within the realm of possibility (though not probability). But now you either need City to lose at home to West Ham or, if they draw, Liverpool would need to beat Alan Pardew's crew by 13 goals. And, no, that won't happen.

Not exactly the cliffhanger we had two years ago. And probably not great for the Premier League either as today effectively adds up to a string of dead rubbers. There's a bunch of theoreticals, most of them somewhat ho-hum.

If Tottenham lose at home to Aston Villa and then Manchester United win at Southampton, then Old Trafford will get European football after all next season, albeit of the Europa League variety. And at the foot of the table, Norwich will stay up… if they beat Arsenal, West Brom lose to Stoke and there's a 17-goal swing in goal difference.

Exactly, Don't hold your breath.

If there are cliffhangers at this stage, they're likely to be off the pitch. The usual suspects insist that Louis Van Gaal will be confirmed tomorrow as the new manager of Manchester United. No reason to believe otherwise - except for the fact they said the same thing last week, believing that Wednesday would be the day, and it wasn't.

The other big one involves City and Financial Fair Play. On Friday, City's high command were furiously trying to reach some kind of settlement agreement with Uefa's Club Financial Control Body. There are no confirmed details, but plenty have suggested a mega fine approaching £50 million plus severe limitations to their Champions League squad. If City don't settle - or if they settle and another club challenges their settlement - the matter moves to Uefa's independent Adjudicatory Board and then, possibly, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. There's also the possibility that City could sue in a civil court. That, of course, would be an enormous gamble. Uefa statutes prevent clubs from turning to civil courts. Doing so would likely mean several seasons without European football, regardless of the outcome.

And a defeat, ultimately, would leave them facing further fines and penalties, not to mention being out of pocket by a huge sum. And if City win, well, that would likely be the end of FFP. And possibly the end of Uefa as we know it.

Roy Hodgson is due to announce his 23-man World Cup squad tomorrow. You'd imagine his mind is already made up and he'll keep his fingers crossed this weekend, hoping nobody gets hurt. With that in mind, here's what you might expect. Joe Hart is first-choice between the sticks, with Ben Foster also virtually secure. The third spot looks to be a toss-up between Celtic's Fraser Forster and John Ruddy. Unless, of course, he believes in taking a younger keeper along just for the experience, in which case Jack Butland might get a free trip.

Glen Johnson has right-back locked up. In fact, you could see Hodgson not taking a reserve right-back and taking an extra central defender, since both Chris Smalling and Phil Jones can deputise in that position. Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka are certainties as well. England have the luxury of three top-notch left-backs - Leighton Baines, Ashley Cole and Luke Shaw - two of them (probably the first two) are going, the third might yet be included or, more likely will lose out to another central defender (probably Steven Caulker, though Everton's John Stones has garnered a lot of hype).

England will likely play with one up, but given the versatility of the candidates, the smart money is on Hodgson taking four strikers. Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck are guaranteed, so expect a big man for the final slot, possibly Ricky Lambert or Andy Carroll.

That leaves eight spots for central and wide midfielders. Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner have virtually sewn up their places. That leaves two slots for Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere to fight over.

What appears clear is that Hodgson is long on pace with the likes of Sturridge, Welbeck, Sterling and Oxlade-Chamberlain. What's more, many of these guys haven't played that many games this season, so there could be a degree of freshness about them.

Where there may be a concern is in central midfield - there is no obvious holding player and you can't see Hodgson utilising Gerrard there - and also at the back, where Gary Cahill has a lot of minutes under his belt and the alternatives don't inspire too much confidence.

Clermont's new manager won the job without a supposed key prerequisite: having played the game professionally. In this case there's another bit missing from the CV: sex.

For the person who will take the French second division club next season is a woman, 36-year-old Helena Costa. She did pretty much everything someone not blessed with the skills (or the gender) to play (men's) professional football could do. She spent more than a decade coaching boys in Benfica's youth academy (starting with the under 9s), she scouted (for Celtic, among others), she coached several women's teams, including Iran.

She's the second woman to take charge of a professional men's team.

The first, Carolina Morace, had a stint in the Italian third division.

This may well be one of those situations - like gay marriage - where most of the fuss comes from those not directly affected if Morace's experience is anything to go by.

"The first few days were bumpy, some of the players felt a bit awkward," she told me a few years ago. "But then it all went away and it was a manager-player relationship."

The really remarkable part is that 15 years have passed from the first woman to be given the opportunity to the second.

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