The boys at Football Form Labs have all the best bets from the final round of fixtures.
Arsenal v Aston Villa
Arsenal can celebrate another top four spot after Man Utd’s latest unsurprising slip. They still have an outside chance of pipping Spurs for second as well, although they’d need the Lilywhites to lose for that to happen. They shouldn’t have any problem with their part of the equation though, with Aston Villa on course for the third worst Premier League season in history. Since a win at Bournemouth on the opening day Villa have picked up just three away points and have lost to nil on five of their last seven away days. Don’t expect a big flourish from the Gunners though; it’s been 15 years since they last had so few goals going into the final day and Arsenal to win with Under 2.5 Goals looks a big price given they’ve scored more than twice just once in their last 11 home games.
Chelsea v Leicester
Chelsea picked up a point at Liverpool in midweek to secure their top-half finish. With one clean sheet in 13 games and selection problems in defence we doubt they’ll keep the new champions out but with Eden Hazard finally finding some form their attack should also score. Chelsea have failed to find the net just twice in 37 home games since the start of last season and both teams have scored in nine of their last 10 matches here as they’ve racked up seven score-draws and 7/10 have had at least four goals. Ranieri can expect a rousing reception back at Stamford Bridge and his Foxes showed no signs of easing up when thrashing Everton last week. Three of their last four matches have had at least four goals, as is the case with Chelsea, and they are also missing a key centre-back with Robert Huth suspended so our money is on goals for this one.
Everton v Norwich
If the Premier League was Game of Thrones then Everton must be the Night’s Watch as they ‘vow to wear no crowns and win no glory’, with Roberto Martinez as their Lord Commander. Well not any more, as now his watch has ended. Norwich season, meanwhile, was ended on Wednesday night as Sunderland’s win over the Toffees rendered their own win meaningless. With 12 defeats in their last 14 road games it’s easy to see why Norwich’s stay in the top flight will be a brief one, and they’ve failed to even score in nine of the last 10 of those defeats. Everton have had their worst ever season at home but they’ve bullied the weaker teams and their results here against the rest of the bottom five have been 4-0, 3-0, 6-2 and 2-1 respectively. With a W8-D2-L1 record when hosting promoted teams since 2012/13 we’ll back Everton to pick up the three points at 1.91, but prefer the longer price on them to win by more than one as the Canaries struggle to pick themselves up after their midweek disappointment.
Man Utd v Bournemouth
Louis van Gaal needs a win here to avoid United’s lowest points tally in a Premier League season (a draw would match David Moyes’ side). However, they’ll have to go some to avoid their lowest goals total. That was 58 in 2004/05 – the only time they’ve finished with fewer than 60 goals – as this time around they’ve hit the net just 46 times. So with 10 of their last 14 home games having fewer than three goals Under 2.5 looks interesting at 2.2. The Cherries have definitely been an ‘overs’ side this term as their matches have averaged almost three goals per game. However, five of their nine trips to the top-half have settled as Under 2.5 and with an atmosphere that could be quite flat after United’s midweek failure that’s our best bet.
Newcastle v Spurs
Spurs need a point to guarantee second place while Newcastle are down. The Toon are unbeaten in five but that was when they had something to play for and it’ll take more character than they’ve shown for most of this season to pick themselves up now. Spurs have gone W9-D7-L1 in their last 17 away games as they’ve only failed to score once and they’ve won six of their seven trips to the bottom eight this season with four of those wins coming by more than one goal. Furthermore, they’ve won 10 of 15 trips (W10-D4-L1) trips to bottom-four finishers since 2012/13 which makes their current price look decent value.
Southampton v Crystal Palace
Southampton are finishing the season on fire while Palace are only thinking about the FA Cup Final next Saturday. So we should see a home win and with 11 of Palace’s last 12 away defeats coming to nil that looks too big at 2.5. Southampton’s defence isn’t all that at the moment though, and its 11 games since they last kept a clean sheet. We still fancy them to do so here but even if they don’t they’ve been scoring for fun and with nine wins by at least two clear goals in their last 15 home games against bottom-half teams they should cover the handicap.
Stoke v West Ham
After the drama of Tuesday night’s farewell to the Boleyn Ground West Ham will hope to ensure they at least finish sixth by beating Stoke. With the Potters having picked up just two points in their last six games they should have every chance of doing so, but the best bet here looks to be in the goals markets. The Hammers’ last nine games have seen 40 goals with eight seeing at least four strikes and four having five or more. There have also been at least three goals in seven of Stoke’s last eight matches and after their 6-1 win here against Liverpool on the final day last season this looks sure to be another goal-filled thriller.
Swansea v Man City
One win in four had looked to be sending City into the Europa League but fortunately for them United’s failings have been even bigger, so they just need a point to claim fourth. However, it won’t necessarily be handed to them as Swansea have won four in a row at home and thrashed West Ham at Upton Park last weekend. In fact, they could still sneak into the top half despite being threatened by relegation until quite recently. Four wins in 15 away games suggests City are too short at 1.62. Particularly given Liverpool, Chelsea, and Man Utd have all lost here this season, while Spurs and West Ham also dropped points. Given the Swans have conceded just three times in their last seven home games we’re happy to back them on the asian handicap +1, so even if they lose by one our stake will be returned.
Watford v Sunderland
Sunderland are safe after thrashing Everton and there will probably be a few sore heads in their dressing room. Having scored three times in three of their last five games during this survival push we would expect to see the Black Cats continue to play on the front foot. Both teams have scored in nine of their last 11 away games, with six of those having at least four goals. Watford’s form, particularly defensively, seemed to be affected by their cup run and they’ve conceded 18 times in their last eight games. However, just two of their seven home defeats this season have come against teams outside the top five and they will hope to take advantage of any loss of focus from Sunderland. Three of their last four games have had at least four goals and both teams could look to provide some entertainment for the final day.
West Brom v Liverpool
Liverpool went off at about 1.75 on Wednesday, significantly shorter than the 2.05 we suggested was value. However, a point typified their league campaign as every time they look to be improving they let you down. They’ll probably have to win the Europa Cup to get back into Europe now and given that comes with a Champions League space we expect to see significant rotation. Regardless, the Baggies have a W2-D2-L1 record hosting Liverpool during their current spell in the Premier League and can be a frustrating presence for the bigger sides. The Reds’ last seven away games have averaged 4.6 goals per game and they’ve scored in each of their last 13 home or away, so while West Brom may prove too strong here we wouldn’t be surprised to see Liverpool score, though their season should end the same way as the last three times they’ve played away on the final day; in defeat.