Premier League: Matchweek 35 RunDown Part 2
In part two of our Premier League rundown Gaz looks at best bets, the European picture and the relegation battle.
Wolves v Brighton – 12:00 BST, Sunday 9th May
Wolves are on a mixed run of form and are hard to assess (2W, 3D, 4L). After back-to-back wins over Fulham and Sheffield United it looked as though Wolves may finish the season strongly. They’ve faltered since, losing heavily away at Burnley and then drawing last time out with strugglers West Brom.
Brighton are on a similarly mixed run of form (3W, 2D, 4L) but they have been consistent in terms of overall performance. Last week’s victory over Leeds has taken the relegation pressure off, but they do need points to mathematically guarantee safety.
Verdict: On paper this could be a close game as the sides are fairly evenly matched. Neither side have been clinical in front of goal this term and that makes the draw (23/10) appeal from a betting perspective.
Aston Villa v Man Utd – 14:05 BST, Sunday 9th May
Villa have nothing to play for in this game, but showed in last week’s victory they haven’t gone on their summer holidays just yet. That makes them dangerous for a United side who have had a very busy schedule, with an even busier fixture list to come.
At the time of writing United can still win the Premier League. That could change on Saturday evening if Man City pick up a victory over Chelsea. In reality United will finish in second place and could look to rest some players in this game. The re-scheduled fixture versus Liverpool sees United play four games in nine days. With a Europa League Final on the horizon the focus will be on avoiding injuries to their superstars.
Verdict: With question marks over the starting 11 it’s probably best to hold off backing anything in the win market until the teams are declared. The bet for me will be over 2.5 goals at 4/5. Villa’s last five games have contained more than two goals, while United’s last five games (all competitions) have contained fifteen goals.
West Ham v Everton – 16:30 BST, Sunday 9th May
On a weekend where Chelsea face Man City it seems strange to say this looks the game of the weekend. The Champions League dream is still alive for West Ham, and the early results this weekend have gone their way. They were very impressive on Monday night when beating Burnley and if they can turn in a similar performance here they will be tough to beat.
Everton realistically only have Europa League aspirations remaining. Last week’s defeat at the hands of Aston Villa was very costly. I’ve mentioned regularly that Everton seem a bit flakey, especially when the pressure is on. That point has been proven true in recent weeks and it’s hard to know which Everton will turn up here.
Verdict: On form West Ham should win this game. Betting wise the 6/5 on offer looks a little short as I think Everton have the ability to cause problems for the Hammers. The bet that sticks out is Michail Antonio 2+ Shots On Target at 7/5. Antonio bagged two goals in Monday’s victory and is sure to get plenty of chances.
Arsenal v West Brom – 19:00 BST, Sunday 8th May
It’s pretty certain that Arsenal will not be playing European competition next season. Thursday’s draw versus Villareal saw them knocked out of the Europa League, which looked their best chance of qualifying. They would now need to win all their remaining games, and hope that teams above go on a bad run. They won’t give up, and with players returning from injury will look to finish the season strong.
West Brom face an uphill battle to avoid relegation. Back-to back draws have really cost them and they now enter a run of games where it will be difficult to get points. No doubt they’ll keep pushing, but survival in very unlikely.
Verdict: Despite Thursday’s disappointment I’d expect Arsenal to win this game. West Brom will need to be positive as they need three points at all costs. If they do attack I can see Arsenal picking them off on the break and racking up a couple of goals. My bet here is Arsenal and over 1.5 at 4/6.
Fulham v Burnley – 20:00 BST, Monday 10th May
The game week ends with a relegation six-pointer. Fulham need to win in order to keep their hopes of avoiding relegation alive. They enter this game nine points behind Burnley with just four games remaining. They do have an easier run in, on paper at least, and a win would heap the pressure on the Clarets.
Burnley were outclassed by West Ham on Monday night, but they showed their doggedness and could have grabbed a point towards the end. If they can show similar determination in this game I think they’ll manage to secure their Premier League status.
Verdict: I’d expect Fulham to dominate possession in this game and they’re likely to start with a very attacking line-up. Burnley are experienced in these games though and I can’t see them losing. My money here would be on the draw at 23/10 as I can see Burnley sitting in and frustrating Scott Parkers side.