Premier League: all the final day’s action previewed
With the title hanging in the balance and Burnley and Leeds still fighting for survival, it’s all set up for a super final Sunday in the Premier League.
A City title win remains the likely outcome, of course – but could we yet witness one final twist of fate?
Arsenal vs Everton
Everton’s extraordinary comeback against Crystal Palace on Thursday has had the unfortunate effect of rendering this encounter a little less meaningful, at least for the visitors.
For Mikel Arteta, his side must win this match and hope Tottenham somehow implode against, of all teams, Norwich. That’s the only way Arsenal can finish in fourth place over Spurs now.
Given the Gunners’ abject performance against Newcastle and Everton’s stirring victory last time out, it’s tempting to think Arsenal could lose this game. Everton have generally been terrible on the road, but are unbeaten in their last two away games. Arsenal have lost their last two.
Of course, Everton no longer have an overwhelming motivation to perform well, since they’ve already beaten the drop. The Gunners will probably end the season with a modicum of dignity by beating this team, but there’s no appeal in the hosts’ odds-on price.
It might be better taking a chance on Dominic Calvert-Lewin to find the net again, as he has in his last two matches. DCL is 16/5 to score at any time.
Brentford vs Leeds
Leeds’ prospects of Premier League survival is not entirely in their own hands. If they win or draw this game and Burnley lose against Newcastle, Jesse Marsch’s side will finish above Mike Jackson’s team and avoid relegation.
Leeds have won one game in their last seven outings however, while Brentford are finishing the season impressively with seven wins in their last 10. The visitors may need to pull something special out of the bag.
There’s talk that striker Patrick Bamford could make an appearance for the first time since he was injured in March. Could Bamford provide Leeds with a fairy tale ending to a season that until now has more closely resembled an Ingmar Bergmann film?
Never say die, and it would be lovely to see Leeds defy the odds. But the Bees are clearly in a better place than their opposition.
With so much at stake, perhaps Leeds can earn a draw at 14/5 (which may not be enough to save them) – but if you prefer not to back the result, you can get 11/10 on over 4.5 cards. That bet has come in during two of Leeds’ last three matches, and tempers could certainly fray on Sunday.
Brighton vs West Ham
Both these teams have enjoyed fine seasons; Brighton can secure a top 10 finish with victory here, while West Ham could finish ahead of Man Utd for a spot in the Europa League, were they to win this match.
And the Irons are finishing strongly, Jarrod Bowen scoring twice against Man City last week to keep the title race alive.
This one could go either way, so perhaps backing the goals is a better approach. Each of West Ham’s last two matches has seen four goals scored, while it’s not unusual to see high scoring games on the final day of the season.
Brighton put four past Man United in their last home game too, so let’s hope for another occasion when the goals flow. Over 3.5 goals in the Total Goals market is a 41/20 shot. It’s Mark Noble’s send-off, let’s hope for a memorable one…
Burnley vs Newcastle
Burnley have failed to pick up a win in their last three matches. And Newcastle’s much-improved form in the second half of the season has seen them beat Norwich, Southampton, Brentford and Leeds.
Even with the Clarets fighting for their Premier League lives, this trip to Turf Moor looks winnable for Eddie Howe. And while Burnley will surely put in a committed shift, even if they lose they’ll remain safe if Leeds are vanquished by Brentford.
Newcastle’s only defeats in recent weeks have come against Man City and Liverpool. After seeing off a sloppy Arsenal at the weekend, the Magpies could be in the mood to sign off in style. The away win at 11/5 looks a good option.
Chelsea vs Watford
Chelsea haven’t had the season they’d have hoped for – and right now, the club’s future remains uncertain.
But the Blues can put their concerns behind them by blowing off steam against a Watford side that tend to be there for the taking.
The thought of doling out a thrashing may cheer Chelsea up, so this could prove to be a painful swan song for Watford manager Roy Hodgson. Back over 3.5 goals Total Goals by Chelsea (not to be confused with the standard Total Goals market) at 2/1.
Crystal Palace vs Man Utd
Patrick Vieira’s been in the news after his understandably annoyed reaction to an Everton fan goading him, following the Toffees’ improbable comeback on Thursday night.
There’s a good chance Pat could be in a rather more relaxed frame of mind after the final whistle here. Man United have lost their last five away games in the Prem.
That said, the United players might deem a win that will guarantee them a place in the Europa League worth fighting for. If only because otherwise, West Ham could overtake them, consigning Man Utd to UEFA Conference football next season.
Erik ten Hag will be in attendance at this game; perhaps his presence could see some of the United players putting in a slightly more committed shift? This could be another game with goals; over 3.5 is available at 9/5; Ronaldo is 26/25 to score at any time.
Leicester vs Southampton
There’s not a whole lot riding on this one – and with a carefree, school’s out feel, this looks like another game where goals could flow.
Not least because Leicester have scored 26 goals while conceding 33 across their 15 final matches of the season in the Prem, according to the stats folk at the official Premier League site.
Over 3.5 goals is available at 7/5. If you want another flutter-inspired statistic, the Saints have dropped 29 points from winning positions this season. Riffing on that, it could be worth backing Leicester to win after being a goal behind at 15/2.
Liverpool vs Wolves
In the 2018-19 season, Man City won the Premier League by one point over Liverpool. Chances are, history is set to repeat itself on Sunday.
It’s surely unthinkable that Liverpool will fluff their lines against Wolves. But alas, an Anfield win probably won’t be enough to wrest the title from Pep Guardiola’s steamroller of a side.
Klopp rested Sadio Mane against Southampton earlier this week, and Mo Salah may be fit for this match too. Wolves have won just one of their last eight matches. Whatever happens elsewhere, this looks a nailed-on home-win.
But perhaps not an emphatic one, given the demands made on Liverpool this season. The Merseyside men may not have huge reserves of excess energy. With that in mind, Liverpool to win and under 3.5 goals is a 21/20 shot…
Man City vs Aston Villa
If Villa get a draw here, Liverpool will win the Premier League! That’s the good news for fans of improbable final day outcomes. And City did end up drawing away to West Ham last weekend. With the finish line in sight, could Pep’s side be turning a tad skittish?
Much as Steven Gerrard would like to do his old club a favour, it’s worth remembering Villa haven’t beaten City in getting on for nine years. You have to go back to 2015 for the last time the Villans even drew with the Manchester team.
That doesn’t stop me from throwing caution to the wind and backing the draw at 7/1 on the basis that really weird shit sometimes happens in football. You probably shouldn’t follow my example. I’m just saying, it terms of narrative, it’s gangbusters innit? Pure Hollywood. Come on Villa!
If you want a more concrete reason for a flutter than optimism bordering on naivete, I hear you.
Kevin De Bruyne is City’s leading scorer this season with 15 league goals. The brilliant Belgian may once again decide that if one outstanding individual is going to win this game, it might as well be him. De Bruyne is 5/4 to score at any time.
Norwich vs Tottenham
Tottenham only need a draw to be almost certain of fourth place – but they will surely go all out for the win against relegated Norwich.
The Canaries could theoretically do Arsenal an incredibly good turn by beating Spurs, thus giving the Gunners a route to that fourth place finish and the Champions League football it entails. But that’s not going to happen. It can’t possibly happen. Right?
Heung-Min Son is 33/10 to score at least two goals. The Korean is chasing down Mo Salah for the Golden Boot. Son is just one goal behind the Liverpool man – and has scored in three of his last four matches.
In the Total Goals market, over 3.5 goals is available at 11/10. Four of Norwich’s last six home games have seen four goals scored.