Predictions

Anything goes

The final round of fixtures in the 2016-17 Premier League season is finally upon us with nearly everything settled.

 

As everyone head off for the summer break, the only thing still in the balance are the final Champions League spots. Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City are all in contention knowing how vital getting wins here are to their hopes.

 

The exact midfield standings is still to be settled with the prize money increasing steeply depending on the final position. That prize money could well be the difference come next season in terms of transfers.

 

Arsenal vs Everton

 

Arsene Wenger faces a stark choice here – fight to maintain his 20 year run of top four finishes or rest players for next weekend’s FA Cup final.

 

Everton have seemingly given up on getting wins since confirming their Europa League spot. That is unacceptable for a club about to re-enter Europe in July with no momentum behind them.

 

The Gunners have beaten Everton in their last 22 home meetings across all competitions, making this a tough ask for the Toffees.

 

With this potentially being Wenger’s final Premier League game as a manager, I expect Arsenal to deliver a proper performance even if other results go against them.

 

Prediction:Arsenal 3-0 Everton

Result: Arsenal 3-1 Everton

 

Burnley vs West Ham

 

Both sides are safe but West Ham can still sneak a top ten result.

 

Burnley’s form since the end of January has slumped drastically with just two victories in that time. With nothing left to fight for, they will be keen to give home fans some hope for next season.

 

The Hammers however have been away in their final game of the past three seasons. That stat hasn’t brought any luck with three defeats on the bounce so expect a borefest here.

 

Prediction: Burnley 0-0 West Ham

Result: Burnley 1-2 West Ham

 

Chelsea vs Sunderland

 

If there is such a pointless fixture, its this match with Chelsea as champions and Sunderland down.

 

Antonio Conte is sure to rest players here ahead of their trip to Wembley for the FA Cup final, so don’t expect much from the Blues here.

 

Sunderland’s record in 15 final day matches in the Premier League era has only one victory to their name.

 

With absolutely nothing of note here, expect Chelsea to cruise to a simple win.

 

Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Sunderland

Result: Chelsea 5-1 Sunderland

 

Hull vs Tottenham

 

This fixture could well see Harry Kane lift his second consecutive Golden Boot award for top scorer of the season.

 

Hull might be down but their home record is impressive under Marco Silva with just one defeat. Although they’re down, expect the Tigers to give Silva what could be a fitting send off with a strong home performance here.

 

Spurs however will be in no mood for any end of term celebrations as they look to gift Kane another Golden Boot. As a result, expect Mauricio Pochettino to name a strong side and set out for another demolition derby after Thursday’s destruction of Leicester, with Kane as the star man.

 

I think it will be tighter than expected here with a slim victory for Tottenham.

 

Prediction: Hull 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Result: Hull 1-7 Tottenham Hotspur

 

Leicester vs Bournemouth

 

This season has been a tale of two halves for both sides.

 

Leicester can savage something from the worst ever title defence in decades with a top ten finish.

 

Bournemouth however will be looking to get a position that reflects their quality from when Nathan Ake was involved.

 

The Foxes might be keen to get a top ten result but after their performance on Thursday night, it will be a tough ask.

 

I have liked how Bournemouth have played this season because they don’t prance around and get stuck in trying to make the opposition work that extra hard.

 

Their highlight has to be the goalless draw against Tottenham back in October because they were so dominant with a never give up attitude, even when they kept messing up shots.

 

If the Cherries can produce something like that here with more clinical finishing, I fancy them to deliver a hammering here.

 

Prediction: Leicester 0-4 Bournemouth

Result: Leicester 1-1 Bournemouth

 

Liverpool vs Middlesbrough

 

The win and Champions League football is surely Liverpool’s on paper. The Reds have however been unimpressive at home to lower positioned teams lately.

 

You have to question whether Jurgen Klopp’s side bring the right mentality against teams below them in the table. Here is where we should find out if Liverpool can deliver a strong performance against non big six teams.

 

Middlesbrough have lost their last four league trips to Anfield but their last visit came in round three of the 2014-15 League Cup.  That game saw a thrilling game go all the way to sudden death so if they can rediscover the spirit of that night, expect a tight battle here.

 

Boro are down but they won’t want to go down on a wimper and given the Reds’ recent form against teams below the top ten, expect a draw at best.

 

Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Middlesbrough

Result: Liverpool 3-0 Middlesbrough

 

Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

 

The result of this game really depends on if Jose Mourinho fields a youthful team.

 

Hopefully even if the kids start, we will see some seniors get a run out to ensure they are match fit for Wednesday’s Europa League final.

 

Should he do that, expect Crystal Palace to ease through comfortably, after some impressive performances lately.

 

I had Palace as certain relegation bets so it would be great to see them get something here, if the Red Devils are made up of kids.

 

Prediction: Manchester United 1-3 Crystal Palace

Result: Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace

 

Southampton vs Stoke

 

With nothing much riding on this, expect a quiet Sunday afternoon of football.

 

Southampton have finally started to find their feet under Claude Puel after months of shaky league performances. I however think this will be the Frenchman’s final game in charge at St Marys, despite taking the Saints to this year’s EFL Cup final.

 

Stoke themselves have too underperformed so this fixture is just as bad as Chelsea vs Sunderland. The only thing preventing this being on the same level is that both sides are still settling their league positions.

 

With Shay Given’s contract up this summer, hopefully he can make one final appearance for the Potters here.

 

Hopefully we will see some goals here despite a season of disappointment but a draw is likely.

 

Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Stoke

Result: Southampton 0-1 Stoke

 

Swansea vs West Bromwich Albion

 

West Brom need to win here if are to avoid entering next season in relegation form.

 

Swansea are safe so can afford to experiment here with some U21 players because I can’t see them achieving much else here.

 

The Baggies however need to get off their mental holidays and win this fixture to secure a top ten finish. Those opportunities don’t come often for a midtable club so instead of tailing off, they should of pushed on after hitting the 40 point mark.

 

Its easy to predict a draw here but I fancy West Brom to finally end their poor run with victory.

 

Prediction: Swansea 0-1 WBA

Result: Swansea 2-1 WBA

 

Watford vs Manchester City

 

Walter Mazzarri will be in the Watford dugout for the final time here. Manchester City however know that at least a draw will seal another season amongst Champions League’s elite.

 

The Hornets will be keen to build on Monday’s thriller at Chelsea with another feisty battle. City however are no pushovers with a to four place at stake here so expect a tougher fight.

 

Pep Guardiola knows that his Citizens aren’t the best away from home so expect things to get nervy in the second half, if this game isn’t settled within the hour with results going against them.

 

This top flight fixture belongs to Man City, who are unbeaten five Premier League clashes. I can’t see that stat ending here even though it should be a difficult 90 minutes.

 

Prediction: Watford 1-2 Manchester City

Result: Watford 0-5 Manchester City

 

 

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