By Antony Jordan
Leicester are the champions and Aston Villa, Norwich and Newcastle have all been relegated from the Premier League this season so while there is still very little left to play for in this EPL campaign there is one final match that all the teams must get through before they can head to the beaches – or the Copa America/European Championships – this summer and all the action takes place this Sunday afternoon.
The biggest games on the final day of the season feature Manchester United and Manchester City as the former side look to overtake their local rivals and secure a Champions League spot, but can they do so as they welcome Bournemouth to Old Trafford and City travel to Swansea? We preview these two games, along with all other eight EPL games from this weekend, with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our final EPL picks of the season.
Should results go their way on this final day of a first ever season in the top flight of English football and they win this match at Old Trafford Bournemouth could find themselves finishing in 12th place. This would put a fantastic end to a wonderful season for Eddie Howe and The Cherries, but with Manchester United chasing a place in the Champions League while Bournemouth have lost five of their last seven matches – beating only Aston Villa in this time – we can see why the home side are such large favourites to take all three points.
However, Louis van Gaal’s men are missing a number of players with defenders Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian as well as midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger are missing through injury while Marouane Fellani is banned. Despite this United are unbeaten at Old Trafford in ten matches and their defence has been their best asset with zero or one goals conceded in 13 of their last 14 home matches in all competitions. They are the more motivated of these two sides and with Eddie Howe planning on rotating his squad we see United’s attackers putting away enough chances to see them do their part in the race for fourth place.
Our best Man United v Bournemouth bet is back United to win by at least two goals (Man United -1) @ 2.05 with Bet365.com.
The form displayed by these two sides as the season comes to a close has been very different as Swansea come into this match having secured two fantastic wins as they defeated Liverpool 3-1 and then West Ham 4-1 to see them filled with confidence while Man City have concentrated on making the Champions League final, although they were ultimately beaten 1-0 on aggregate by Real Madrid, and have won just one match in six over the last month. They are without a win in four games in all competitions and in this final match for manager Manuel Pellegrini they are facing the possibility of falling out of the top four and the Champions League next season. The bookmakers believe that they can hang onto this vital position by winning this final match, but can they do so?
City do have many things in their favour for this match, including the motivation to win this match for a top four place compared to Swansea being safe, the fact that they have won all of the last five meetings and The Swans will rest key players Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lukasz Fabianski before they leave for Euro 2016. Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Pablo Zabaleta are all definitely out for the visiting team while Aleksandar Kolarov is a doubt, but we see them winning this match due to the stakes. We do not see Swansea making it easy for them though.
We are backing Man City to beat Swansea and Both Teams to Score – Yes at odds of 2.87 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!
The final game of the season at Stamford Bridge sees the deposed champions welcome the newly crowned Kings of England and neither side have very much left to play for. However, with Chelsea appointing former Italy boss Antonio Conte as their new manager those plying their trade in West London will looking to show they’re worthy of new deals and not being moved on under the new manager, while Leicester will be aiming to ensure that they win the title by at least ten points while keeping themselves injury free for the Euros that are just around the corner now.
The first meeting of these two sides at The King Power Stadium earlier this season saw Leicester’s two key players in Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy find the net as The Foxes triumphed 2-1 and with them running riot at home to Everton last weekend when they were crowned champions to see them unbeaten in their last 11 matches, compared to Chelsea who have won just one of their last six, we can see them repeating their earlier season victory by scoring enough goals to win against a side that has just one clean sheet in 17.
Our top Chelsea v Leicester tip is back the away win at Stamford Bridge @ 3.10.
The Gunners need at least a single point from this final match if they’re be mathematically secure in third place ahead of Manchester City in the Champions League spots meaning that they’ll avoid the play off stage of the competition at the start of next season. Luckily they face an Aston Villa side that has lost 26 of 37 matches this season, winning just three of the other 11, and has been relegated as the side with the second ever lowest points tally in EPL history. Villa are without a win in 12 matches, although they did claim their first point since February 6th with a 0-0 draw against Newcastle last weekend, but can they end this awful season on a high note?
Arsenal have won five in a row against Villa and have clean sheets in their last four clashes with the Midlanders, and with them keeping three clean sheets in their last four home matches at The Emirates we can see the North London side adding to their run of shut outs in this final match of the season.
Our money is on Arsenal to beat Aston Villa to nil at odds of 1.83 with Bet365.
Sunderland’s 3-0 defeat of Everton during the week saw Newcastle relegated to the Championship along with Norwich, but even though they will not be playing in the top flight next season Newcastle can still have a big say in another team’s season as they welcome Tottenham to St. James’ Park. The North London side have had a fantastic season as they sit second in the table but if they are defeated by The Magpies in this final game of the season they are likely to find themselves behind their local rivals and this will certainly take the sheen off their performances this campaign that saw them as the biggest challengers to Leicester for the title before tailing off in recent weeks. Can they reinvigorate themselves for this final push though?
Of the two sides involved in this match it will the away side who are move motivated as they aim to stay ahead of Arsenal while their midweek relegation will surely have knocked the stuffing out of the hosts in the North East this Sunday afternoon. With this in mind, coupled with the fact that Tottenham have won their last two visits to Newcastle 3-1 and 4-0, we can see them good value to win this match. However, with Harry Kane top of the goalscorer standings, having netted 25 goals this season, being just ahead of Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy for the top EPL goalscorer race we feel that the England striker will be even more motivated to find the net than his side are to win this match. As such, we are backing the 22 year old to score in this Newcastle v Tottenham match.
We are backing Harry Kane to score anytime at St. James’ Park @ 1.90 with Bet365.com.
Victory for Liverpool in this match could see them finish sixth in the Premier League table but with the Europa League final happening on Wednesday evening and if they can beat Sevilla they will be assured of a place in the Champions League next season, so Jurgen Klopp is sure to rest players for this final game of the season to concentrate on their final during the week. Despite this you can be sure that the team will still be looking to move into that vital clash with the Spanish side with some momentum and they’ll be out to extend their unbeaten run against The Baggies to six matches after winning two and drawing three of their last five.
They may welcome back the injury hit trio of Danny Ings, Divock Origi and Jordan Henderson for this and with the home side seeing only the long term injured Chris Brunt miss this match the visitors to The Hawthorns Liverpool will need everyone if they’re to win this match. However, while they are unbeaten in three matches Liverpool have won just one of their last six matches on the road in all competitions. West Brom are not in the best form right now with five losses and three draws in their last eight games while they have failed to score in their last three home matches.
We see this clash having an end of season feel to it and it not providing much to write home about with a lack of goals as we feel that both of these sides will not find the net.
Our top tip on this West Brom v Liverpool match is back Both Teams to Score – No at odds of 2.20 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!
Although we have predicted that both Manchester clubs will win their matches if we’re incorrect on the Man United v Bournemouth game it is still possible for West Ham to win this match at The Britannia Stadium and move into the top five ahead of the Red Devils. They face a Stoke side that has lost four and drawn two of their last six matches and have an injury crisis for this final game of the season with the injured Jack Butland, Shay Given and Ibrahim Afellay joined by major doubts Glen Johnson and Marc Wilson who are unlikely to be played as well as Stephen Ireland who broke his leg during the week.
West Ham are missing only first choice goalkeeper Adrian for this match and after bouncing back from the heavy 4-1 defeat at home by Swansea with a comeback 3-2 win over Manchester United during the week they will be filled with confidence for this match. They certainly have the more attacking of the two sides and with Stoke having nothing left to play for we feel that the away win offers the most value in this final game of the season for these two teams.
Our best bet on this Stoke v West Ham game is back the away win at The Britannia @ 2.15.
The home win in this match is such a big favourite as should results go their way, with both Manchester United and West Ham losing, then victory for The Saints will see them finish fifth in the Premier League this season to book a place in the Europa League for the next campaign. This motivation coupled with Crystal Palace safe in the Premier League and looking forward to next weekend’s FA Cup Final at Wembley we can see why they the home win is so favoured.
Southampton have a fully fit squad for this match and have lost only to champions Leicester since March 1st, winning all of their last three games with ten goals netted. Palace have just two wins in 2016 and have lost five and drawn five of their last ten away matches so we feel that this match will see a comfortable home win at St. Mary’s Stadium.
We are backing Southampton to beat Crystal Palace by at least two goals (Southampton -1) at odds of 1.80 with Bet365.
Although Watford are the favourites to win this match Sunderland’s victories over Chelsea last weekend and then Everton during the week that have seen them secure their place in the Premier League next season will see them come into this match full of confidence. However, manager Sam Allardyce has stated that he is likely to rest many of his first team players for this match so they can rest after their season long battle with the drop and promote a number of players from the U21 team to bed them for next season’s campaign.
It has already been announced that Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores will depart the club after this match, but he will pick his normal squad for this final game of the season. Watford do not bring good form into this match as they have won just two of their last six clashes, although five of these have been on the road away from Vicarage Road. Their form in front of their own fans has seen them lost just two matches in all competitions since the start of 2016 and with a weakened Sunderland side coming to town they will fancy their chances at giving the manager a good send off.
It is certainly possible that they can win this match, but we are not confident of either side taking all three points as both are capable of taking all three points. We do feel that this game will be a combative and competitive game that will see goals.
Back Over 2.5 goals in this Watford v Sunderland match @ 1.70 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!
The final match we’re looking at is a tale of departures as Everton have fired manager Roberto Martinez during the week as they’ve spent the majority of the season in the bottom half of the league despite having a side that should challenge for the top six and Norwich will exit the top flight following their midweek relegation. This match will see former Everton boss Joe Royal and ex-player David Unsworth take charge of the side as they look to restore some hope to The Toffees faithful for next season after this demoralising campaign and with Norwich suffering from a number of injuries for this match the Bet365 match odds making the home side the odds-on favourites are looking good.
The new management team at Goodison Park will be boosted by the return of defenders Phil Jagielka and Seamus Coleman for this match and with them having gone two matches unbeaten on home soil they will be confident of victory. Norwich did show what they are capable of during the week with a 4-2 win at home to Watford, but with eight defeats in nine away matches – seven of which saw them fail to score – we feel that the home win is the way to go on Merseyside this Sunday.
Everton to beat Norwich at odds of 1.80 with Bet365.com is our favourite pick at Goodison Park.
It’s the final set of matches of the season and, as such, our final guaranteed selection of EPL picks for the campaign. We’re looking to end the season with three from three and our favoured picks are as follows:
Leicester to beat Chelsea @ 3.10. Chelsea are in poor form at the end of the season and while Leicester have already taken the title, they will still be motivated to end this season with a 24th They welcome back former Chelsea player Robert Huth to shore up their defence and we see them keeping the home side out to take all three points.
Harry Kane to score anytime v Newcastle @ 1.90. Harry Kane has 25 goals this season and with Newcastle being demoralised by their relegation we see the England striker adding to his tally this weekend.
West Ham to beat Stoke @ 2.15. Stoke are out of form at the end of the season and are suffering from a number of injuries. West Ham are one of the most exciting attacking sides in the EPL and we see them ending the season with all three points.