The last weekend of the Premier League season is here. A campaign that started back in August has finally reached its ending, with a fair share of surprises along the way.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much to play for on the last day of the season. Drama is possible still, though, particularly in the contest for the top four.
Here are a few thoughts and tips on some of the more interesting clashes this Sunday…
LIVERPOOL vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Liverpool, thanks to their superior goal difference, need just a draw in this one to wrap up a Champions League spot for next season. They could guarantee that with a victory over Real Madrid in the final, too, but they hardly need more pressure being heaped onto that match.
Brighton have stayed up with relative ease. Amidst the admiration for teams escaping the drop, the efficiency of Chris Hughton’s side has been forgotten at times.
It's certainly not out of their reach to snatch a win at Anfield, though their focus may not be quite the same as it was a few weeks ago.
Liverpool will be at full strength for this one. I expect a return to Anfield normality, meaning a comfortable win and a few goals along the way.
TIP: Over 2.5 home goals @ 4/5
NEWCASTLE UNITED vs Chelsea
Chelsea need to win to capitalise on a potential Liverpool defeat at Anfield. The Blues’ failure to beat Huddersfield in midweek minimised their chances of a top four finish, as Antonio Conte again became the enemy of the home fans.
The decision to leave Eden Hazard on the bench was puzzling, and it will be interesting to see if the Italian opts to leave his star out again in the north east.
Newcastle have done what so many mid-table teams do. Get safe early, then lose a string of matches to make the season look less impressive. They have earnt these relaxed performances but will likely be back to their best in front of their own fans to close the season.
I like Newcastle’s price to avoid defeat here. Chelsea are heading into a period of transition again and could struggle to create if Newcastle can return to their form of a few weeks ago.
TIP: Newcastle to win or draw @ 11/8
Southampton vs MANCHESTER CITY
Mark Hughes has done what he had to with Southampton. It’s no miracle work from Hughes, but Saints at least have some attacking emphasis now.
They just have to avoid one of the all-time heaviest Premier League defeats to stay up. The club would have accepted that a few weeks ago.
Manchester City are perhaps the worst team in the world to face in such circumstances, though. While I doubt they’ll score eight, we certainly know they could do against a Southampton side who have leaked goals since Hughes took over.
I fancy City to score a few goals to make us all wonder if they’ll actually do it.
TIP: Over 2.5 away goals @ 29/20
SWANSEA CITY vs Stoke City
Swansea were understandably mortified at defeat to Southampton on Tuesday. Carlos Carvalhal’s club then saw Huddersfield secure safety with a point at Chelsea, to put them on the brink of the Championship.
They’re not gone just yet, however, but require a ten-goal swing in goal difference with Southampton on the final day.
Stoke have exaggerated their season of meltdown since their own relegation was confirmed. The Potters have been dire under Paul Lambert and would have been the ideal opponent had the hosts given themselves a decent chance.
This match should have been a showdown. Unfortunately, the recruitment failings of both clubs meant they couldn’t even hold on that long. I think Swansea will do what they have to do, but this will be a Championship fixture next season.
TIP: Swansea to win @ 10/11
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*