|Hollywoodbets, betting preview for week 38 of the English Premier League.|
So it comes with that typically bittersweet sense of inevitability that the last rites are read on a season that has given us everything and more. The success of Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City has produced a fairy-tale that is quite frankly unlikely to ever be replicated. Defying financial constraints and conventional wisdom, Leicester now stand as a beacon of possibility for sportsmen in all codes.
They ironically enough travel to last season’s champions Chelsea for a fitting final day send off. The relegation battle is no longer, as Big Sam predictably fulfilled his mandate and furthered his legend as the man for a crisis. Manchester United have something left to play for as they battle to the final whistle for that final Champions League spot with city rivals Man City. So, it’s with a genuinely heavy heart that we bid adieu to this remarkable season; there is fortunately, the tantalizing prospect of the Euros to help assuage any lingering feelings of disappointment.
West Bromwich Albion 27/10 | Draw 5/2 | Liverpool 18/10
Liverpool’s season has ended in rather quizzical fashion. The obvious allure of a European final notwithstanding- the Reds have really lost some momentum on the domestic front. Klopp will rest some of his key players with next week’s Sevilla clash in mind, potentially opening the door for Tony Pulis’ side to end yet another arduous season in some style. Sessenyong and Berahino will relish the opportunity to take on reserve defenders like Smith and Ojo.
Verdict: West Bromwich to win at 27/10 - The atmosphere at Anfield on Wednesday night spoke volumes to the priorities of Liverpool Football Club. They really feel that they will beat Sevilla and will likely play a largely depleted side here, inviting West Brom’s speedsters to express themselves.
Watford 21/20 | Draw 26/10 | Sunderland 24/10
Big Sam has only gone and done it again. He possesses an almost uncanny ability to harness the talent at his disposal to its maximum potential. He recognized instantly that Defoe’s goals could prove decisive if he somehow managed to stop the bleeding at the back. Van Aanholt and Kirchoff have been subtly revelatory in a survival campaign that could be used as a textbook guide for future strugglers. And on the evidence of their late season form, Watford look prime candidates for future turmoil.
Verdict: Total Goals over 3.5 at 31/20 - I think that both sides, assured of their Premier League status, will open up and enjoy the occasion.
Swansea City 47/10 | Draw 36/10 | Manchester City 5/10
Swansea City have exploited the late season malaise of several top sides and will be hoping to further enhance the growing reputation of the club with a strong showing against Manchester City. City looked impressive in spurts against Arsenal and know that a win will guarantee that sacred fourth place in the table. Kevin De Bruyne has looked immense in recent weeks; I see him as an amalgamation of Bergkamp’s vision and Gerrard’s propulsive running. He will look to dominate the likes of Cork and Sigurdsson while Aguero still has an outside shot of retaining his Golden Boot crown.
Verdict: City to win at 5/10 - Pellegrini’s final salvo as City manager should secure Pep that essential Champions League spot.
Stoke City 47/20 | Draw 26/10 | West Ham United 11/10
The emotional evacuation of the Boleyn Ground must have had some effect on a squad that has wildly exceeded expectations this season. Dimitri Payet’s dead ball distribution is seriously up there with some of the best that I have ever seen. And it dovetails perfectly with the physical presence that the Hammers possess. Mark Noble must also be praised for his willingness to do the dirty work and allow Payet the space to express himself. Stoke have checked out entirely and West Ham will feel confident that they can ‘hammer’ home their away credentials: I couldn’t help myself there.
Verdict: West Ham to win at 11/10
Southampton 7/20 | Draw 4/1 | Crystal Palace 15/2
Ronald Koeman’s Southampton would be in third place in the league table if only 2016’s league form was taking into consideration. Shane Long has provided Vardy-esque width to the side while Mane and Tadic have operated effectively in those pesky pockets of space around the box. Sean Davies is the proverbial ‘straight man’ who allows their more important midfielders to operate with impunity. Palace won’t take any unnecessary risks with Cup glory beckoning and shouldn’t present Koeman’s resurgent Saints with too many hassles.
Verdict: Southampton to win at 7/20.
Newcastle United 32/20 | Draw 28/10 | Tottenham Hotspur 8/10
How Mike Ashley must be ruing his decision to stick with a clearly inept Steve McLaren for as long as he did. Rafa Benitez has endeared himself to the Toon in quick time and time will tell as to his future following last night’s relegation. Keeping the likes of Andros Townsend and Jonjo Shelvey will also prove critical to their chances of automatic promotion next season. Spurs have clearly been affected by the duel loss of both Dembelle and Alli. They have lost some bite in midfield and will be hoping that Harry Kane’s thirst for the Golden Boot will stand them in good stead here.
Verdict: Halftime - Fulltime Double - A drawn first half followed by a Spurs victory at 36/10. Spurs have been the fittest team in the league and should overcome what will be a spirited display by the Magpies. They also have the added incentive of Arsenal breathing down their back and will not want to relinquish that sense of domestic pride.
Manchester United 4/10 | Draw 38/10 | Bournemouth 13/2
United’s performance at West Ham truly epitomised the issues that have plagued the club from day one this season. They were utterly overrun in midfield and were physically dominated. Anthony Martial provided some cutting edge while Rooney orchestrated as best as he could. But it’s just so unconvincing. Bournemouth will feel that a trip to Old Trafford is a fitting conclusion to what qualifies as an overwhelmingly successful first season in the league.
Verdict: Both Teams to score - yes at 17/20. United need to win to keep their vague possibilities of Champions League qualification alive and will keep things open. Bournemouth have been dangerous on the counterattack and will definitely find themselves on the scoresheet.
Everton 17/20 | Draw 28/10 | Norwich City 29/10
Well, this could be a rather depressing day at Goodison. Norwich have been relegated while Everton’s talented squad have underperformed dramatically. In a strange way, Norwich probably enter the match with slightly more confidence. They won convincingly midweek and have never disgraced themselves over the course of the season. Everton, however, are a side saturated with talent and can’t buy a performance at this stage Martinez seems to have lost the dressing room with a series of frankly listless displays this past week. Lukaku is almost certainly going to leave while the likes of Barkley and Stones will definitely receive offers in the transfer window.
Verdict: Double Chance - Norwich to win or draw at 9/10 - I expect Norwich to show the same desire that they have all season and they could very well sign off with a win.
Chelsea 5/4 | Draw 51/20 | Leicester City 2/1
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Arsenal 3/20 | Draw 67/10 | Aston Villa 15/1
Arsenal’s stereotypically downbeat end of the season has polarized public opinion on Wenger in much the same way that it always does. Danny Welbeck will be out for nine months, missing the Euro’s as well as a big chunk of next season. Welbeck has been virtually omnipresent in Wenger’s side since coming back from injury and his loss will be felt by the side. Villa will be hoping to keep things respectable but will struggle to withstand the onslaught of an Arsenal side desperate to impress some of the longest suffering fans one can meet.
Verdict: Halftime-Fulltime Double - Arsenal to win both halves at 9/20.