Premier League Preview - Game Week 38Friday, May 11 2018
Matt Nesbitt has got that Final Day Friday feeling. It's tipping time...
The best tip I could give this weekend is: don't whistle with blancmange in your mouth. Oh and - keep a lid on your punting spend.
Results over the last couple of weeks – Huddersfield at City AND Chelsea, Tottenham v West Brom, Man United at Brighton, to name a few – illustrate the perils of trying to predict matches at this stage of the season. Motivation varies, agendas don’t align and us punters pay the price.
With nothing more to be settled (really), Final Day is all about testimonials, laps of honour and keeping out the way of any spiteful fuckers trying to ruin your summer tab by putting a bit of you in plaster.
But we’re here now…
The Tap Ins are included regardless of price, so I’d reserve them for topping up Accas at best. Or even bypass them totally.
The Smart Money bets are the best way of dredging a bit of value out of the bookies. And any Long Shots are decent priced punts that have some statistical merit.
3pm Burnley v Bournemouth
Lap of honour time for Burnley. Untouchable in 7th place, their season has been over for a week or two in truth. Just two points from the last four – earned at Stoke and at home to Brighton - that would probably have translated into 4pts, perhaps 6pts a month ago. But they will enjoy a well-deserved end-of-season friendly.
Bournemouth could play themselves into the Top Half, depending on other results. But have only mustered two wins from their last 11 – one v relegated West Brom, the other v teetering on the brink Swansea – so I’m not expected a party pooping display.
Scorecast: 2-1 at 15/2.
Tap In: Burnley Draw No Bet at 8/15.
Smart Money: Burnley & BTTS at 3/1.
3pm Crystal Palace v West Brom
Over the last six matches, these two are 5th and 6th in the form table. It’s a case of too little too late for the Baggies, but all timed rather nicely for Palace. In fact, a win could give them a Top Half finish – depending on other results (I’ve a feeling that phrase is going to get a few airings this week…).
And now that West Brom are confirmed as relegated, there could be an absence of wind from their sails. So Palace might whiff the chance of a third consecutive win for the first time since March last year. West Brom could also win a third on the spin – which will be their first since… wait for it… November 2012.
Scorecast: 2-1 at 7/1.
Tap In: Palace Draw No Bet at 1/3.
Smart Money: Palace & BTTS at 12/5.
3pm Huddersfield Town v Arsenal
This could’ve been a very different season finale if Huddersfield hadn’t smuggled a point out of Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. But with another season at the top table sorted, they can enjoy Arsene Wenger’s farewell as much as the man himself.
I doubt either team has seen much of the training ground this week and daresay the players will have the bar/ beach (choose one) on their minds as much as the result here.
But Arsenal won’t be proud of their 2018 away record of zero points and Huddersfield will fancy adding the Gunners to the list of Man Utd, City and Chelsea – all teams they have taken points from.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 15/2.
Tap In: Huddersfield (+2) Handicap at 8/15.
Smart Money: Double chance - Huddersfield or Draw at 7/5.
Long Shot: Huddersfield Win & BTTS at 15/2.
3pm Liverpool v Brighton
Liverpool are perhaps the only team on the coupon who will be anywhere near full-tilt on Sunday afternoon. (Even Swansea must know the game is up). With the big one still two weeks away, Klopp will roll out all his big guns and want to go into the Champions League Final on the back of a good show. As it stands, two defeats and a dour 0-0 at home to the PL’s worst team isn’t the way to prepare for mission Real Madrid.
Plus, there is a chance – albeit slim – that Chelsea could still tip-toe into fourth place. And that wouldn’t do at all.
Brighton have taken just 2pts and scored a single goal away to Top Half teams so far. But won’t worry about that today.
Scorecast: 3-0 at 13/2.
Tap In: Liverpool Win at 2/11.
Smart Money: Liverpool Win to Ni at Evens.
3pm Man United v Watford
A win for United will mean only noisy neighbours City can boast a better Home record. And only a couple of teams have been better on the road. Which is good. They might even win the FA Cup, which would be very good. But there has been an unconvincing vibe about Jose and his team this season. Seeing them beaten by West Brom (at home), Brighton and Huddersfield mean you wouldn’t be surprised to see Watford take the points here. Even though it would only their second win at a Top Half team all season.
Not one to bet the farm on, that’s for shizzle.
Scorecast: 1-0 at 15/2.
Smart Money: Under 2.5 Goals at 29/20.
Long Shot: Michael Carrick to Score last at 12/1.
3pm Newcastle United v Chelsea
Chelsea’s lap of (dis) honour barely strayed outside the centre circle after being held by Huddersfield in the week (who were quite rightly going mental). Failing to finish Top Four just a year after finishing as champions clearly stung. They can still qualify for the Champions, if Liverpool lose at home to Brighton and they win at Newcastle. But neither look likely.
In fact, Chelsea have failed to win their last four trips to Toon (D1 L3). And despite looking leggy in their last four, Newcastle have been decent at home in 2018 (W4 D3 L1) and want to finish on a Why Aye high.
Scorecast: 0-0 at 11/1.
Smart Money: Double Chance - Newcastle or Draw at 7/5.
Long Shot: Newcastle Win to Nil at 10/1.
3pm Southampton v Man City
A point will do for Southampton. A defeat might too, so long as there is not a nine-goal shift between this match and Swansea v Stoke. So it might depend on what kind of mood Man City turn up in.
City have already broken the goal-scoring record for a 38-game season, but needed a 90th minute winner to get past the Saints back in December. And Southampton’s tails will be up after four matches unbeaten – their best form of the season – including two wins, which could easily been three (in three) but for a late heart-breaker at Everton. Snatching relegation from the jaws of survival here is unthinkable. Isn’t it?
Scorecast: 2-4 at 33/1.
Tap In: Man City to Win at 4/9.
Smart Money: Man City & BTTS at 7/4.
3pm Swansea City v Stoke City
After taking 13pts from six matches in their winter revival, Swansea looked to have written the story of their season. But since beating West Ham on March 3rd - eight matches ago - they have only added three more points, firing no fewer than six blanks. And seem to have pinned their happy ending on their final two matches v relegation bedfellows Southampton and Stoke. The first was lost last week and in between Huddersfield have gone off script at Man City, then Chelsea. So now the Swans are looking for a drubbing here and a drubbing at Southampton, delivering a nine-goal swing in their favour. Oops.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 6/1.
Tap in: Swansea Draw No Bet at 2/5.
Long Shot: Draw & Under 2.5 Goals at 4/1.
3pm Tottenham v Leicester City
The wheels have come off both teams in the last six matches. Or, more accurately, slowed to a crawl. Leicester’s four defeats were less costly, restricting them to a more than acceptable ninth place finish. Tottenham suffered one less defeat, but it cost them a Cup Final place and a runner-up spot that would’ve marked progress.
Anything less than a win could see them drop to fourth and ends the campaign just 1pt better off than Chelsea. And they are better than that.
Leicester enjoyed one last hurrah at home to Arsenal, but it was prompted more by the visitor’s team selection – particularly the one who decided to get himself red carded 15 minutes in – than any fire in bellies.
Scorecast: 2-0 at 7/1.
Tap In: Tottenham Win at 3/10.
Smart Money: HT/FT Draw/ Tottenham at 3/1.
3pm West Ham v Everton
Not sure which set of fans have been less satisfied this season. West Ham will be grateful for the handful of even worse teams below them for their survival. Likewise, Everton might wonder just how they have found themselves in 8th place this season – which is just about their average finishing position over the past six season (7.83rd to be precise).
The answer is their form v teams below them. At home their 30pts from a possible 36pts v teams outside the Top Eight was only topped by Man City, Liverpool and Arsenal. On the road, their three unbeaten (W2 D1) suggest they can take something away from West Ham. If not the season as a whole.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 11/2.
Long Shot: HT/FT Draw/ Draw at 21/5.
Final Day Coupon Busters can be equally tricky to pick – like punching smoke. But there are a couple of big prices around, so we’ll get gloved up and have a go.
Meet you back here about 3pm.
Ben is football’s leading injury specialist. The ‘go-to’ guru for big hitters like Sky Sports, ESPN and NBC Sports when they need data. Or the BBC, talkSPORT and the broadsheets when a quote is required. His unique insight has helped provide a better understanding of what is really happening in the treatment rooms.
Johnny is a respected physiotherapist and sports scientist, specialising in football injuries and rehab. Johnny has headed up the medical departments at Chesterfield, Scunthorpe and Notts County. Overseeing everything from player-specific training loads to pre-signing medicals. He has a proven record working with elite athletes in Private Practice and is regularly called upon throughout Europe to deliver presentations on the latest rehab innovations.
Matt's short, unremarkable football career was ended by his own bad driving. His long, distinguished career as a football tipster was ended by his own good advice. Because bookmakers don’t like a winner. First, they closed his accounts. Then his members’ accounts. Then his tipping service. And now they employ him as a consultant. Funny old game.