Sunday is the finale of the English Premier League, after which John Newsome will be taking a well-earned rest! Will Liverpool fluff their lines and potentially miss-out on next season’s Champions League?
SOUTHAMPTON v MAN CITY
Southampton took a big step towards cementing their Premier League status on Monday night with a 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Swansea. Manolo Gabbiadini came off the bench to score a vital goal which, although not Mathematically, secures their position in the division for next season.
The only drawback is they face Champions City in their final game and if City click and want to put on a show for their visiting fans, the Saints might get drawn into a goal difference battle with Swansea. Man City played Wednesday night against Brighton so have a day less to recover, but that shouldn’t really make a difference this late in the season so will go all out to try and get the highest number of goals in a season.
After the 0-0 draw with Huddersfield last Sunday, they got back to winning ways beating the Seagulls 3-1 with goals from Danilo, Bernard Silva and Fernandinho. Mark Hughes will want to perform against the club that sacked him a couple of seasons back but effectively the Saints only have to prevent City from scoring a shed load of goals.
Mathematically Southampton are not safe, but theoretically, if they do lose to City, need Swansea to win and overturn a 10 goal swing. In November at the Etihad, Southampton were holding onto a 1-1 draw with an Oriol Romeu goal cancelling out Kevin De Bruyne’s opener, unfortunately for the Saints, a 96th minute Raheem Sterling goal gave City all 3 points.
Away Win 0-4
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WEST HAM v EVERTON
West Ham beat Leicester easily on Sunday 2-0, then hosted Manchester United midweek and now being safe, will relish this final game against Everton. Sunday afternoon, at the London Stadium, in the sunshine, knowing you are safe and will play Premier League football next season. What more do the Hammers faithful want? No doubt a few beverages will be taken prior to and after the game.
Joe Hart will want to put in a performance to try and force his way into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Russia 2018 coming up pretty soon. Unfortunately for him, this might be his last chance to shine. The good news for Joe is that his fiercest rival for the England number 1 spot will be at the opposite end today, so if Joe puts in a decent performance and Jordan has a nightmare, Mr Hart might be back in between the sticks for England.
Everton didn’t play midweek and like the Hammers are guaranteed Premier League Football for next season. The aforementioned Jordan Pickford will, like Joe, want to put in a good show so that he is in goal for the first game against Tunisia on June 18th. It really is a battle of the England number 1s. Big Sam Allardyce has done what he does best and saved a club from relegation. However, it could be argued, the Toffee’s were never going to be relegated and the fans appear split on Big Sam’s Football theory.
Wayne Rooney has a big choice to make over the summer, will he stay at his boyhood club or will he decide to play his football elsewhere. At 32 he is still young enough to do a job for someone in this country, but the lure of American or Chinese Dollar might persuade Wayne to move abroad.
That’s for the future, at Goodson in November, Wayne had one of his most productive games in a 4-0 win against the Hammers. Initially missing a penalty, he followed the rebound in to score, he got his 2nd a few minutes later with a cool finish past Joe. In the 2nd half, Wayne completed his hat-trick with a superb long-range finish after Joe had tried to clear the ball. This should be a lot closer game in the Capital with both goalkeepers trying to put on a show.
TOTTENHAM v LEICESTER
Tottenham beat Newcastle 1-0 on Wednesday night at their temporary home of Wembley, did a lap of honour and said goodbye to everyone. However, they forgot they were back here for the final game of the season and will have the chance to really say goodbye to Wembley Stadium, before they start next season at the swanky new White Hart Lane.
Due to marketing rights, it’s unlikely the new stadium will be called that and depending on who pays the most money, could be called anything. Harry Kane got on the scoresheet again in his bid to try and overtake Mo Salah. Harry is still 3 goals behind Mo, with only this game to play. The good news for Kane is Leicester are not as good away from the King Power, so it’s conceivable he may get the goals required to catch Salah. Midweek, in front of their home fans for the final time this season Leicester ended a dreadful run of results after losing the previous 4 out of 5 games, goals from Kelechi Iheanacho, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, comfortably beat the other North London club Arsenal.
The Foxes also beat Spurs at the King Power back in November and again the Foxes mercurial duo, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez got the goals in a 2-1 win. Harry got Tottenham’s consolation that day. A win in this final game will guarantee Spurs 3rd place in the table and Champions League Football for the new White Hart Lane.
Home Win 4-0
NEWCASTLE v CHELSEA
What a fitting end to a superb season for Newcastle, to round off the campaign in front of the Toon Army against dethroned Premier League Champions Chelsea. Newcastle lost away at Tottenham on Wednesday and whilst no disgrace in that result it is their 4th loss in a row and Rafa Benitez won’t want to make it 5, especially against his former employees Chelsea.
At Stamford Bridge in December, the Blues got a 3-1 win against the Magpies, Alvaro Morata got a goal, sandwiched between 2 Eden Hazard strikes. Dwight Gayle had put Newcastle in front that day. Chelsea cling to the glimmer of hope of catching Liverpool to the final Champions League spot. On Wednesday night against Huddersfield they could only manage a draw, and with Tottenham winning can no longer overtake their London rivals.
However, a win here at St James and a Liverpool loss, will see them finish 4th. In theory, Chelsea have the harder game of the 2 with this one away to Newcastle, whilst Liverpool play at Anfield against Brighton. However, Newcastle have got the suntan lotion out too so the Blues will go all out for the 3 points and hope for a Seagulls miracle.
Away Win 1-2
MANCHESTER UNITED v WATFORD
Manchester United play West Ham at the London Stadium on Thursday night and a point will mean they are confirmed as this year’s runners-up to noisy neighbours City. Whilst an excellent position and the highest since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013, it will still sting a little not being a match to Pep’s High Flying City. Old Trafford will give a final send off to United Captain and Legend Michael Carrick. Quite simply the best English midfielder of his generation.
Liverpool and Chelsea fans will argue their own favourites of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are better than Carrick and whilst these 2 won more England caps then Michael, that was down to the shortsightedness of a number of England Managers. The Greatest Manager ever, Sir Alex Ferguson picked Carrick continuously and Gerrard and Lampard can’t match Michael’s domestic honours. He has enjoyed phenomenal success, winning 5 Premier League title’s, 1 FA Cup, 1 UEFA Champions League, 3 League Cup’s, 6 FA Community Shield’s, 1 UEFA Europa League and 1 FIFA Club World Cup. As well as numerous individual honours.
A true Legend, shame England Manager’s thought they knew better then Sir Alex. Watford got a win against Newcastle last Saturday and confirmed their Premier League status for next season. Roberto Pereyra and Andre Gray got the goals against the Magpies, however, Troy Deeney did miss a penalty. That would have annoyed Big Troy. At Vicarage Rd back in November, Manchester were 3 nil up and comfortable at halftime with 2 superb goals from ex-Hornet Ashley Young and Anthony Martial. However, Watford got back into the game in the 2nd half with a Troy Deeney penalty and an Abdoulaye Doucoure goal giving them late hope.
Jesse Lingard scored a superb solo goal in the 86th minute to dent any hopes of a comeback. United should give the Old Trafford faithful and Michael Carrick a fine send-off in preparation for the Ray Wilkins FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Home Win 3-0
LIVERPOOL v BRIGHTON
Liverpool were chasing United for 2nd place a couple of weeks back, now, with Tottenham winning midweek and Chelsea getting a draw, they could miss out on a Top 4 finish if they lose today. That said they have a far superior goal difference to the 2 London clubs and are awesome at Anfield, so won’t be panicking just yet.
The Reds were one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to play midweek so will be fresh for this final battle against a very good Brighton side who’s last 2 games were against the Manchester clubs. Liverpool were beaten by Chelsea last Sunday and haven’t won a league game in 3 now so will go all out to beat the Seagulls and get that all important Champions League place and then look forward to playing Real Madrid in this seasons final of that competition.
As mentioned Brighton have played both the Manchester clubs this last week with mixed results. They beat United at The Amex then went to the Etihad and lost to Champions City. Leonardo Ulloa getting his first goal for the Seagulls. They got to the magic 40 points with that win against United which means they will be back for a 2nd season in the Premier League.
At The Amex in December, Brighton suffered their worst defeat of the season when Liverpool beat them 5–1. Emre Can, Philip Coutinho, a couple from Roberto Firminho and a Lewis Dunk own goal did the damage. Glenn Murray got the consolation for Brighton. With Anfield advantage, the Reds should get all 3 points and that final Champions League spot.
Home Win 3-0
HUDDERSFIELD v ARSENAL
Huddersfield got arguably 2 of their best results of the season in their last 2 away trips. They did beat Manchester United earlier in the season but, although a wonderful result, that was at the John Smiths Stadium.
Their latest superb results were both away from home getting a cracking 0-0 draw at Man City and a 1-1 draw at Chelsea, Laurent Depoitre getting the goal. That result, like Brighton and Newcastle, guarantees all 3 promoted to the Premier League last season another term. Given that they are now safe and at home in front of their loyal fans, they should now be able to play with freedom. Arsenal are on a dreadful run of results away from the Emirates and that run continued on Wednesday losing away to Leicester.
What makes it worse is Leicester are the worst team in the league on current form and the Gooners couldn’t beat them. This is Arsene Wenger’s last game in charge of Arsenal and even though the fans have turned on him recently, they do realise how important Mr Wenger has been in the History of Arsenal Football Club and should give him the respect he deserves.
In the 20s and 30s, Herbert Chapman managed both of these clubs. At the Emirates in November, Arsenal ran out resounding winners beating the Terriers 5-0. Goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and a couple from Olivier Giroud. One thing for certain is Alexis and Olivier won’t be scoring for the Gunners today.
CRYSTAL PALACE v WEST BROM
Crystal Palace are safe and will bow out of this season’s Premier League in front of the loyal eagle fans. After 7 games, no points and no goals the loyal eagle fans must have feared the worse. In stepped Roy Hodgson to steady the ship and with the help of Wilfried Zaha, got his reputation back on track after a disastrous spell as England Manager, wonder if he ever shops in Iceland.
This game is technically a freebie. Palace are safe and West Brom are relegated so both teams should now be able to play with freedom. What will the Baggies board be thinking after appointing Alan Pardew who should never be allowed to manage a Premier League team again. Big Darren Moore has worked wonders and maybe if appointed 5 games earlier, Albion would be safe. He’s got a team together who have beaten Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham and drawn with Liverpool and Swansea after an 8 game losing streak before Pardew was sacked. The unfortunate thing for Big Darren is he got the dreaded Manager of the Month and then due to Southampton beating Swansea, was relegated the same day.
The West Brom board should just give him the job now and then he can build for next season. They were promoted to the Premier League in 2008 along with Stoke. Both teams are making the trip back to the Championship at the same time. Isn’t it Ironic? Both teams were recently managed by Tony Pulis too. At the Hawthorns in December this finished 0-0. There should be goals today.
BURNLEY v BOURNEMOUTH
Burnley got hammered last Sunday at the Emirates, losing to closest rivals Arsenal 5-0. All in all though, a fantastic season for the Clarets who will play European football at Turf Moor next season. The Europa League is a long hard tournament when you have to qualify early doors which is what Burnley will have to do, but the Turf Moor faithful won’t mind that. Both these teams we’re without a midweek game so should be fresh for this finale.
Bournemouth beat Swansea last Saturday in front of their loyal fans at the Vitality and can now rest easy knowing they will be back in the Premier League next season. Will Eddie Howe be in charge? or will Arsenal come calling? Last season, Jack Wilshire spent the season on loan at Bournemouth.
It’s a theory that he was there to do a scouting report on Eddie to see if he had the tools to take over from Arsene Wenger. Let’s see who the Gunners appoint over the summer. Goals from Chris Wood and Robbie Brady gave Burnley a 2-1 away win in November. Josh King got the Cherries goal. With safety assured for both teams, this should be entertaining, with goals
SWANSEA v STOKE
Between these 2 sides, the fans haven’t seen either of them win for a combined total of 22 games. That’s bleak for the fans and is the reason Stoke are relegated and Swansea are almost relegated barring a miracle on Sunday. Swansea need to win and score lots of goals and hope and pray Man City beat Southampton at St Mary’s by lots goals too.
Sounds impossible but if you break it down and look into it, it may not be as far-fetched as it does sound. Stoke were managed by Mark Hughes for the majority of the season. Southampton are now managed by Mark Hughes. Stoke are relegated and can easily blame Mark Hughes for this. Mark Hughes had a go at Swansea for the cancellation of the Saints hotel on Monday night and refused to shake the Swans manager Carlos Carvalhal’s hand after the game. Man City were also managed by Mark Hughes. Mark Hughes is the common denominator for all 4 sides so here is a scenario which might come to fruition.
Stoke don’t care as they are relegated and would not want to see Mark Hughes’s Southampton side stay up so may just let the Swansea strikers have an easy game. Swansea could quite easily get 4 or 5 goals if, say, for example, Ryan Shawcross gets a silly red card early on. High Flying Man City, once managed by Mark Hughes could quite easily turn on the boosters and score 6 or 7. History does show a Premier League title winning side scoring a lot of goals on the last day. In 2010 Chelsea beat Wigan 8-0 after securing the title. It can happen especially when one individual is prevalent in all the teams.
These are just scenarios which could happen to keep Swansea in the division. However, the old adage ‘the league doesn’t lie’ will show if these scenarios do or don’t come to fruition. The Potters beat Swansea in November 2-1 with goals from Xherdan Shaqiri and Mame Diouf , Wilfried Bony had given the Swans the lead. Stoke, away from home and nothing to play for can get a final day win over a very nervous Swansea who will be going all out to score goals leaving them exposed at the back.
Away Win 1-4
Contact John Newsome, with your own predictions, requests and feedback, at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org