Brentford v Leeds
What a season Thomas Frank has had for Brentford, and it’s been enough to see him nominated for manager of the season. A mid-table finish is something they would have bitten your hand off for at the start of the campaign, and after a rocky patch at the start of the year where it looked like they may be dragged into a relegation scrap after one point from a possible 24, they’ve since gone W7-D1-L2. They’re looking extremely strong on home soil, keeping four consecutive clean sheets at the Brentford Community Stadium over Burnley, West Ham, Spurs and Southampton.
Leeds are fighting for their lives at the moment, and a last gasp draw at Brighton may prove vital in this survival race. There’s been something of a manager bounce under Jesse Marsch, and although they’re currently winless in five, looking back a bit further they’re a balanced W3-D3-L3 from their last nine outings, with their only defeats in that run coming against big six sides Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Leeds have lost all 12 matches against top six sides, while they’ve gone W5-D1-L0 against sides in the relegation zone. It’s therefore unsurprising that they’ve drawn over half of their outings with sides in between-those brackets. A point would be a good result for the visitors, and the value seems to lie in the stalemate.
Norwich v Spurs
A point is all that’s required for Spurs to secure top four, and in theory that shouldn’t be a problem at all against an already relegated Norwich side, though nerves can get the better of these sides at times and Norwich won’t roll over easy.
Antonio Conte’s men have lost just one of their last 10 outings, and while they’ve now drawn two consecutive away games and are just W4-D2-L3 on the road going back to late January, those two draws came away at Anfield and in a London Derby against an in-form Brentford side, so it would be a real shock to see Norwich claim anything here.
The Canaries have lost all 13 matches against sides currently in the top-seven, with 10 of those coming to nil, though it’s also true that 10 of those saw over 2.5 goals land, with eight seeing at least four strikes in the match. With the likes of Harry Kane and Heung-Min-Son looking to get their side over the line, especially with the latter vying for the golden boot this season, we’d expect Spurs to not leave anything up to chance and go gung-ho for the victory here.
SPURS TO WIN AND OVER 2.5 GOALS
Liverpool v Wolves
The title out of Liverpool’s hands, though all they can do is take three points from this outing and hope there’s a slip up from City at the Etihad. It’s unclear whether or not Jurgen Klopp will risk some of his star players with the Champions League final next weekend, though even a rotated side should prove too much for the visitors here.
Wolves have had a stellar first season under Bruno Lage, keeping games extremely closed off with fine margins deciding most. They’re set for a top half finish, and they’ll be looking to press on next season and push for a European spot, which has eluded them this term owing to their end of season form. Indeed, the Midlands side are now winless in six outings (D2-L6), with their only points in that time coming against already relegated Norwich and against Chelsea after a last gasp equaliser.
With that said, they have a very respectable away record against the big six, going W2-D1-L2 against such sides on the road, while Crystal Palace are the only side to beat them by more than a single strike on home soil, so the value could be with Wolves keeping this close.
Jurgen Klopp’s side remain unbeaten in 2022 (League), and at Anfield alone they’ve won seven of nine unbeaten outings to nil. We wouldn’t be overly confident with that outcome again though, with Virgil van Dijk potentially not being risked with a slight injury, as the Reds have conceded in all three games he’s failed to start this season, while they’ve only conceded in three of the last 11 that he has started from the off, and we’ll stick to the winning margin here.
LIVERPOOL -1 HANDICAP DRAW
Crystal Palace v Manchester United
Palace go into the final game of the season fresh of a loss against Everton at Goodison Park. The Eagles were 2-0 up at one point and looked sure to get the win but the Toffee’s had other ideas, three unanswered goals from Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Michael Keane meant that Everton have secured their place in the Premier League (PL) for next season.
The Red Devils have had a year to forget this season, they got knocked out of the first elimination round of the UCL and without a win here United could be in trouble if West Ham get the better of Brighton. If they finish the season in the Conference League it would of been the worst season for Manchester United in the PL era.
The Eagles have only lost four PL home games this season, Selhurst Park has always been a tricky place to play for the big teams because of the atmosphere generated by the 25,000 fans inside the small stadium. A 3-0 win against Arsenal and Spurs and a 0-0 draw against League leaders Manchester City proves they have what it takes to get a result here. Palace have won or drawn 13 out of 17 games at Selhurst Park.
PALACE-DRAW DOUBLE CHANCE
Arsenal v Everton
Arsenal fans will be extremely disappointed in how the last few weeks have developed for their team, Champions League football whilst still mathematically possible is extremely unlikely because Tottenham will need to lose to bottom of the table Norwich in order to have a chance at qualifying.
Everton will be very happy with their result against Palace on Thursday night, a dream comeback from 2 goals down to win the game means that they are safe to fight another year in the Premier League.
This is good news for the Arsenal supporters out there because the Toffee’s will come to the Emirates with nothing to play for and after a horrid season they will want to just get it over with. Everton have only won two away games this year and have the joint worst away record in the league this season with only 10 points from their 17 road fixtures.
Last time these two teams met was at Goodison where Demarai Gray stole the game with a late stunner but considering how poor the Toffees away record is this looks unlikely. Everton concede an average of 2 goals per away game whilst scoring 0.83. Arsenal have had an impeccable home record (38 points from 17 games) this year and it’s the only thing that has kept them in CL race for so long.
ARSENAL TO WIN AND OVER 2.5 GOALS
Chelsea v Watford
Chelsea produced a surprise draw against Leicester on Thursday night, maybe less surprising when you consider that they’ve secured Champions League qualification for next year so are not fighting for anything.
Watford were confirmed as being relegated a few weeks ago and it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone. They started the season on the back foot and never really managed to get going. The Hornets have only managed four points from their 21 games against Top 11 opponents (W1-D1-L19) this year, their goal difference for these games is -37.
Chelsea have had a pretty poor home record, for their standards, this year (W7-D7-L3) with the Blues only managing to beat two sides (West Ham and Spurs) inside the top 11 places. But despite this Watford have a poor away record and are obviously not as good as the Blues with the Hornets only scoring three goals in their nine games away games against top 10 sides, they also failed to score on seven of these nine games.
CHELSEA TO WIN TO NIL
Leicester v Southampton
James Maddison put Leicester 1-0 up against Chelsea on Thursday with a fantastic strike which curled around Mendy like he wasn’t even there. The Foxes have had an up and down season with them really struggling to get a good spell of wins going, they only managed to win back-to-back games on three occasions and never managed to win three in a row.
Southampton have only won one game in their last ten outings which was a 1-0 win against Arsenal at St. Mary’s. The Saints have finished the season poorly and they will need some investment and/or a change in backroom staff in order to progress in the Premier League next season.
Leicester have only lost one home game in their nine matches against teams in the bottom half of the table (2-1 against Everton) and with a record which stands W6-D3-L1 they are the clear favourites to take all three points here. However, the bookies don’t seem to think so which is extremely surprising considering that Southampton’s away record against the same opponents is W1-D4-L5.
LEICESTER TO WIN
Burnley v Newcastle
Burnley picked up a point away at Aston Villa midweek to lift themselves out of the drop zone and with a sizeable goal difference over Leeds, only need to match the latter’s result to secure survival. They will however need to improve their record against Newcastle if they want to avoid a final day scare, losing three of four winless encounters with the Magpies since the start of last season in all competitions.
Newcastle have ben safe from trouble for some time but it hasn’t seen them drop their standards, crushing Arsenal’s top-four hopes last time out to leave them with five wins from their past seven outings, as the exceptions came against Liverpool and Man City. In fact, those are the only two sides to have registered a first-half lead against the Magpies across their past 19 league games, as they went in level at the break in 11 of these.
Burnley have only led at half time in four of their past 27 league games, and just once in the 13 of these at Turf Moor. They’ve also led at the break in just one of 10 clashes with Newcastle in all competitions since 2017/18 (W4-D5-L1), and given Newcastle have drawn the first half in nine of 15 matches against the teams below them in the table this season, the half time draw appears quite a likely prospect.
Man City v Aston Villa
Steven Gerrard will be desperate to help out Liverpool here and his Aston Villa side enter this clash with just one defeat across their last six. However, that did come against Liverpool, while elsewhere they’ve beaten bottom-four sides Norwich and Burnley, as well as taking points from Leicester, Palace and Burnley again.
Villa must however be concerned by their record against the better teams this season, with a W1-D1-L13 record when facing the top eight in the table in the league this season. They did find the net in 11 of these games though, and Pep Guardiola does have some potential absentees at the back. Ruben Dias won’t feature, while John Stones and Kyle Walker have only just returned to training and are both doubts ahead of this fixture.
Man City are W7-D3 across their past 10 league games, but whereas they won all four that Ruben Dias featured in by an aggregate 17-1 scoreline, the six that he missed entirely saw them draw three times and concede six goals.
They’ve conceded 0.66 goals per game when the Portuguese defender has started since the start of last season, compared to 0.79 when he hasn’t, so Aston Villa do stand a reasonable chance of making it onto the scoreboard. Indeed, since the start of 2020, both sides have scored in four of five clashes between Villa and City across all competitions, with Pep Guardiola’s side winning three of these 2-1.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
Brighton v West Ham
Brighton are seeking to hold on to their top-half position and with a better goal difference than the two sides directly below them, a point should be enough to secure 10th place. They’ve been in stellar form during the run-in with just one defeat from eight games, away at Man City, as they’ve beaten the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, Wolves and Man Utd.
West Ham can still qualify for the Europa League should they win here and Man Utd fail to win at Palace, but they’ll need to improve on recent form if they’re to stand a chance. The Hammers have won just twice across their past 10 outings across all competitions, coming against Lyon and Norwich, as they’ve lost five times during this period.
Graham Potter must be a little concerned at his side’s inability to pick points up on home turf however. The Seagulls are down in 17th place when limited to home results this season, and fourth when restricted to road trips. They’ve won just two of their last 15 at the Amex, and just one of the past nine, as they’ve failed to score in half of their 18 home games in total this season.
Although Brighton’s home record gives cause for concern, it’s hardly as though the Hammers have been excelling on their travels of late either. They’ve lost seven of nine trips in all competitions since the start of March, failing to score in over half of these games, while in the league alone, they’ve lost seven of eight winless trips to top-half teams this season.
Brighton may only just squeeze into that bracket, but they’ve certainly been able to get results against West Ham in recent times. The Seagulls have won three of nine head-to-heads with the Hammers since joining the top flight, with each of the past six ending in stalemates.
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