Our Premier League writer takes a look at the four midweek fixtures taking on Tuesday the 10th of May and Wednesday the 11th of May.
With Leicester City’s title victory enjoying total media hegemony, one can almost be forgiven for thinking that all is over this year. However, there is still a pulsating relegation battle taking place while the competition for that Champions League spot still remains open.
The Anne Boleyn Ground – formerly Upton Park – plays host to its final competitive match before the Hammers move to the Olympic Stadium. Manchester United know that nothing other than a win will do as Van Gaal desperately aims to salvage what has been a disastrous season. Elsewhere, Liverpool host Chelsea in a game that truly sees two markedly different levels of confidence on display. Sunderland have the opportunity to secure their Premier League status for next season with the visit of a faltering Everton side.
Tuesday 10 May
West Ham United 19/10 | Draw 47/20 | Man United 14/10
West Ham’s home loss to Swansea will have given impetus to United as their late season push for Champions League football has gained some late resonance. It seems fitting that the most iconic club in Premier League history should be the side that brings the curtain down on West Ham’s beloved stadium. Wayne Rooney has been hugely influential since returning from injury and will be hoping to influence the game in much the same way as West Ham’s Dimitri Payet.
Verdict: West Ham to win at 19/10. Following that fairly sensational home loss to Swansea, United will probably feel fairly confident going into this one. But the raw emotionality that will be accompanying this fixture will be far more focused than it was on Saturday.
Wednesday 11 May
Norwich City 8/10 | Draw 26/10 | Watford 34/10
Norwich know that their Premier League status may be merely theoretical at this point as Sunderland have surged to the front of the survival line. There is just a certain point where all of the good endeavour at Carrow Lane invariably gives away to the frightful gravitational force of the Championship. Watford are a side in complete inertia, seemingly struggling with speculation regarding their managerial situation next season. Ighalo’s early season form has completely dissipated while Gomes has shone in an increasingly bombarded Watford goal.
Verdict: Total Goals Under 2.5 at 17/20 – Norwich will aim for solidity and will set their stall out in typically pragmatic fashion. I expect them to be relegated on Wednesday night however as their current league salvo comes to an end.
Sunderland 7/10 | Draw 57/20 | Everton 36/10
Jermaine Defoe’s obstinate refusal to stop scoring has put Sunderland on the brink of survival in what has turned out to be a bitter relegation dual with Newcastle and Norwich. Roberto Martinez’s increasingly precarious hold on the reins at Everton was exacerbated by a crippling defeat against Leicester City. Giving Leicester’s meteoric rise to the tile, it should hardly be surprising that the Foxes overcame the Toffees this weekend. But the anaemic nature of Everton’s performance has left many wondering just how far Everton fans are willing to go.
Verdict: Sunderland to win at 7/10. The Black Cats know that they have their destiny in their hands and should be motivated enough to see off a frankly dejected Everton side.
Liverpool 19/20 | Draw 53/20 | Chelsea 27/10
Jurgen Klopp’s journey to the Europa League final has come somewhat at the expense of a fully-fledged league campaign. Moreno and Clyne have become key figures in Klopp’s renaissance, giving width to the side and instigating Klopp’s pressing game. Chelsea threw away yet more points in a season that has defied categorization. Costa’s alleged homesickness seems manifest in performances that reek of apathy. Terry will be suspended, lending even more momentum to a Liverpool side starting to gain identity.
Verdict: Halftime – Fulltime Double – Liverpool to win both halves at 19/10 – I honestly feel that Chelsea are there for the taking and who better to take them than an expansive Liverpool side.