By Antony Jordan
The 36th round of Premier League action continues with five more matches this Saturday and the main focus for the day’s football is the battle for the top four places in the league and a spot in the Champions League next season. After Arsenal triumphed against Southampton during the week they have closed to within three points of Man City in the final Champions League place, but can they continue their resurgence this week as they aim to hunt down Pep Guardiola’s men?
We preview all five of the EPL clashes happening this Saturday with online sportsbook Bet365.com and provide our best EPL picks from the second day of the penultimate round of EPL action.
Although they are the big favourites to take all three points in this match, Man City do not have a good recent record against The Foxes as they have lost two and drawn one of their last three meetings with last season’s EPL champions. However, with Arsenal breathing down their neck and a place in the top four of the league at risk you can be sure that Pep Guardiola will have his players fired up for this weekend’s match as they look to move past Liverpool and into third place to put a buffer between them and a spot in the Europa League.
City have excelled on home soil this season and they come into this unbeaten in 13 matches in all competitions since losing to Chelsea in the league at the start of December. However, they have drawn against Stoke, Liverpool and Manchester United in three of their last five home clashes while also scoring eight times against Hull and Crystal Palace as they defeated them 3-1 and 5-0. They are a hit and miss side at The Etihad in recent times, but with Leicester having won just two of their away games in the league this season we can see why Bet365 have made the home side the big favourites.
We feel that there is no value on the outright markets, but with City having kept just three home clean sheets since the middle of December and Leicester having netted eight goals in their last five away clashes we feel that there is value on goals to be scored in Saturday’s opening clash.
Our best Man City v Leicester bet is back Both Teams to Score – Yes AND Over 2.5 goals @ 1.95 with Bet365.
Saturday’s late kick off sees Arsenal aiming for a third successive victory in the league to keep up the pressure on Manchester City and Liverpool above them in the race to finish in the top four spots for a 21st successive season. The Gunners have bounced back well from their 2-0 defeat to Tottenham in the North London Derby three matches ago with 2-0 wins over Manchester United and Southampton to see their confidence boosted, but with them having failed to win any of their last six visits to the Bet365 Stadium as they have drawn three and lost three of these games against Stoke since a 3-1 triumph in 2010. Can they continue their winning form and end their poor form at this stadium this weekend?
The North Londoners face a Stoke side that has won just one of their last nine EPL clashes and that came at home to relegation threatened Hull City four matches ago. They have lost just one match since then as they come into this clash with draws against Bournemouth and West Ham in their last two matches, but with no win against any side in the top half of the league this season coupled with their poor recent form we cannot see anything but an away win in this clash.
With the pressure off following their relegation last weekend Sunderland dragged fellow relegation threatened side Hull City further into problems as they secure their first three point haul since February and now Hull will hope that Sunderland can do them a favour this weekend by taking all the points at home to Swansea. However, history is not on the side of The Black Cats as they have won just one of the last nine meetings with the Welsh side and have not taken all three points on home soil at The Stadium of Light since December. Will they be able to find a performance and give the home support a good send off to the Premier League in this final home clash of the season?
Swansea know that this is a must win game as Hull face Tottenham on the final day of the season and all three points in this clash will see them ahead of The Tigers going into the last game of this campaign. However, they have not performed well on the road lately with six defeats and a draw at Manchester United in their last road trip. However, they have beaten both Stoke and Everton at home either side of the draw with Man United so they come into this clash in better form and having the better history in clashes with Sunderland. Adding to this they have far more urgency to take all three points with the relegation battle reaching a climax, so we can see the away side in this match having the better of things and taking all three points this Saturday.
Our top Sunderland v Swansea tip is back the away win @ 1.90 at Bet365.com
This clash at Dean Court is sure to have an end of season feel to it as both of these teams are safe having collected 42 and 40 points respectively so neither team have any motivation to secure all three points or see any of the players put themselves at risk as they aim to spend the summer on the beach without having to recover from injury for next season. The three meetings between these two sides over the last 12 years have seen two 1-1 draws in the second tier during the 2013/14 season, while the first clash of these two sides this season saw Burnley edge out The Cherries with a 3-2 victory in December.
The Cherries have done well on home soil in recent times with three wins and a draw in their last five games at Dean Court with only Chelsea having beaten them on the south coast since February. Burnley have been one of the worst away sides in the league and they only broke their away win duck in their penultimate away match of the season last time around as they defeated Crystal Palace. The away side have netted in seven of their last nine away games while Bournemouth have kept just two clean sheets in their ten home matches so even though both sides have little to play for there will be goals in this clash.
Our money is on Over 2.5 goals in this Bournemouth v Burnley match at odds of 1.75 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!
This final match from Saturday that we’re taking a look at does not promise much as Middlesbrough have been relegated following their 3-0 loss at Chelsea during the week while Southampton come into this game without a win in five and with no goals in three matches. However, despite the home side having suffered relegation they have been in reasonable home form with only sides in the top five of the EPL having defeated them at The Riverside since the end of January they’ll want to give their fans a good send off with all three points before they spend next season in The Championship.
While Southampton have not been in the best form lately they have only suffered defeats to the top two in the league in Chelsea and Tottenham away from home since the end of January. They have won three and drawn one of the four other games of their last six on the road and after winning the first meeting of these two sides in more than four years earlier this season they will fancy their chances. We feel that this match could go either way and with The Saints lacking goals lately we favour the home side as they look to end a season that has finished with relegation on a high note for the fans.