It has been a long old season for all concerned, but the Premier League finally reaches its curtain call on Sunday with the final round of fixtures.
The last day of Premier League action is always highly anticipated, and despite the midweek games muddying the waters there will still be plenty to play for at the weekend.
Whether it’s a European place, a desperate attempt to avoid relegation, an opportunity to win more prize money or – excuse cynical old us – the chance for players to put themselves in the shop window and bag an improved contract elsewhere, Sunday will be Super in more ways than mere marketing hype from Sky Sports.
Jobs are on the line, future contracts will be won and lost, and for punters there is an excellent chance to make some late-season profit with conventional logic going out of the window with so much at stake.
There is so much going on in all four corners of the UK, so let’s take a look at some Premier League final day predictions.
Tough at the Top
It has been an excellent campaign for both Manchester teams, with City crowned as one of the most comprehensive Premier League champions in recent years. They could, mathematically at least, claim the title by a whopping 23-point margin if other results go their way, and they may yet have a say in matters at the other end of the table too as they travel to relegation-haunted Southampton on Sunday.
As for their Mancunian rivals United, they will finish second in the league come what may, but they be looking to sign off in style with victory over Watford at Old Trafford. Punters tap into omens and gut instincts, and you sense with the club’s legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson struggling with ill health, they will be desperate to put in a winning performance.
From there, it gets rather more exciting. Tottenham will leapfrog Liverpool into third – the last automatic Champions League qualification place – if they beat Newcastle at home on Wednesday. And that would leave a Sunday shootout between Spurs and the Reds for a top three finish: anything less than three points for Mauricio Pochettino’s men at Wembley against Leicester would leave the door ajar for Jurgen Klopp’s side, who host Brighton.
Adding an extra layer of interest are Chelsea, who could potentially still sneak in through the back door. If they win their remaining games against Huddersfield (home) and Newcastle (away), they would go to 75 points; meaning they could finish above both Spurs and Liverpool.
It’s all very complicated, but that’s why we love the last day of Premier League so much!
In addition to fifth place grabbing a Europa League place, sixth and seventh can also start planning for some continental fixtures next term. Those two teams are already confirmed as Arsenal and Burnley, and you wonder if a couple of betting opportunities exist here….
The Gunners put on a fantastic farewell for Arsene Wenger, their manager for 22 years who will depart the club in the summer. It was an emotional, impassioned affair, and their 5-0 win over the Clarets was wholly expected. However, we can expect a typical ‘after the lord mayor’s show’ style performance from the Londoners on Sunday, and Huddersfield – fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table – should prove a tough nut to crack.
Meanwhile Burnley take on Bournemouth with a ringing in their ears; their manager Sean Dyche is a no-nonsense type, and he will not have taken kindly to his side’s rather flaccid effort at the Emirates Stadium last time out.
The Best of the Rest
There is very little at stake for those ensconced safely in mid-table, but in the context that there is just three points separating Leicester in ninth and Watford in thirteenth it is worth considering the battle for mediocrity in our Premier League final day predictions….especially as there is a difference of roughly £11 million in prize money between finishing 9th or 13th.
Leicester are tanking pretty hard at the minute, with no win in four and no goal scored in three. Claude Puel has not won over the Foxes fans as yet, and with games against Arsenal and Tottenham to come his task does not get any easier.
Newcastle have lost three on the spin too, so perhaps the side most likely to capitalise in the top flight’s middle reaches are Crystal Palace, who have been exceptional this term. Remember, they lost seven games in a row at the start of the season without scoring, and now they are potentially one win away from a top half finish. Arise, Sir Roy Hodgson.
On Sunday, the Eagles host a West Brom outfit with rather different concerns on their mind….
The Dreaded Drop
Stoke City have been relegated, and will play Championship football for the first time since 2007/08 next term. The Potteries outfit have the worst defensive record in the division, a dismal goal difference and an away record that features just one win in eighteen attempts.
A host of sides are doing their best not to join them. West Brom are the most in peril; even accounting for their renaissance under Darren Moore, they will need to win at Crystal Palace on Sunday and hope that either Swansea or Southampton lose their two remaining games. Not impossible then, but certainly improbable.
Swansea and Southampton are locked on 33 points, and so they face a straight shootout to avoid the drop. Their meeting at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday is likely to prove conclusive….
And, of course, Huddersfield, on 36 points, are far from safe. Their last two games are against Chelsea and Arsenal, and so the last day of Premier League action could feature four teams battling it out for survival.
As is often the case, Premier League final day predictions can often go out of the window given how madcap the final throes can be, so just sit back and enjoy watching the drama unfold!
Written by Craig Simpkin
A sports journalist with a smorgasbord of experience writing for a variety of publications, Craig is a Leicester fan hoping that England can also achieve the impossible this summer.