Premier League Preview - Game Week 37Friday, May 4 2018
Matt Nesbitt has been reading the Tarot cards again...
I’ll be glad when this is all over…
Another horrible week of dead rubbers, testimonials and teams with agendas so different (beach v PL survival) that gawd knows what we’re going to get.
I’ve hedged with value and just know that I’ve done my best. I. Did. My. Best.
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.
No diving, bombing or heavy petting.
8pm Brighton v Man United
Brighton’s point at Burnley last week – their 37th – could be the last they get this season. After United it’s away trips to record-chasing Man City and potential Champions League winners Liverpool. But it should be enough to keep them on the Premier League island for another season, so this could be something of a lap of honour in front of the home crowd.
That will suit United, who have played at testimonial pace most of the season. But it has taken them to second place in the table and the Cup Final. And they are likely to do enough again here.
Scorecast: 1-2 at 7/1.
Tap in: Man United to Win at 3/4..
Smart Money: Man United Win & Under 3.5 Goals at 6/4.
12.30pm Stoke v Crystal Palace
If results had gone differently last weekend, this could’ve been a six-pointer – with Stoke having the chance to drag Palace back into the relegation mire for the final weekend. As it is, Stoke’s draw at Liverpool and Palace’s drubbing of Leicester has put 8pts and eight places between the teams. So expect contrasting moods in the camps.
Stoke need to win to give themselves a slither of a chance of survival. Palace are on easy street, but will be buoyed by the confidence of a decent final quarter of the season – their last six form puts them eighth in the PL. Fancy to Stoke to nick it – and value is on our side.
Scorecast: 1-0 at 6/1.
Tap in: Stoke Draw No Bet at 4/5.
Smart Money: Stoke Win & Under 3.5 Goals at 5/2.
3pm Bournemouth v Swansea
Another contrast in dressing room vibes here. Swansea find themselves once again scrapping for their lives after six without a win, whereas Bournemouth are breathing the rarefied air of mid-table (12th). An away win would take Swansea to within 2pts of their hosts and all but guarantee another meeting next season. But defeat could see them level with Stoke, leapfrogged by Southampton and below the dreaded red dotted line by bedtime.
On the plus side, Bournemouth’s form is only marginally better than the visitors – losing the last three and failing to score in two of them. Swansea have the safety net of two home six-pointers v Southampton and Stoke to come, but would love to get their business done here. Can’t see it.
Scorecast: 2-2 at 6/1.
Tap In: Both Teams to Score at 7/10.
Smart Money: Draw & BTTS at 10/3.
3pm Leicester v West Ham
Leicester seem to have clocked off early for the season, taking just 1pt from their last four (at home to Southampton). There’s even talk of changing the manager – but it has been six months, I s’pose. A mixture of mid-table comfort and one or two keeping themselves injury-free for summer engagements in Russia, or La Manga means Leicester can’t be trusted to squeeze anything more out of this season.
Which will, of course, be music to West Ham’s collective ears who could still get caught up in the relegation bun-fight, especially if they leave Leicester empty handed. If results don’t go their way, Moyes’ boys could be in the Bottom Three with two to play – both v former clubs Man United and Everton.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 11/2.
Smart Money: Draw at 12/5.
Long Shot: West Ham & Under 3.5 Goals at 16/5.
3pm Watford v Newcastle United
It’s been a funny old season for Watford; stared well and looked Top Half material, then died and threatened to spiral into a relegation scrap. Then rallied, then died. Their 38pts will see them live to fight another Premier League campaign but it is hard to see where their next point – or even goal – is coming from after just 2pts and five blanks from their last seven.
Unless Newcastle have run out of steam, which I have an inkling they might have. Their excellent run of four wins – in the midst of 16pts from a possible 21pts – has come to an inglorious end, stumbling to drab defeats at Everton and at home to West Brom. Hard to see anything more than a draw here.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 5/1.
Tap In: Double Chance Newcastle or Draw at 4/7.
Long Shot: Newcastle Win to Nil at 21/5.
3pm West Brom v Tottenham
West Brom could stay up y’know. I’ll say that again… West Brom could stay up. It would take results to go their way – most notably Southampton to only register one more point – and beating both Tottenham then Palace on the final day. But the fact that it could means Darren Moore has already been the Baggies’ best manager for years.
Tottenham looked to be motoring towards a strong finish until a bad week at the hands of the Manc pair rendered third place the best they can hope for. So their mood will be tricky to gauge. The next big game for most of the players – if they’re honest – will be in Russia in June. But they should have enough quality in hand to get something, despite obvious coupon stopper potential.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 15/2.
Tap In: West Brom (+2) Handicap at 4/6.
Smart Money: West Brom Draw No Bet at 4/1.
5.30pm Everton v Southampton
Everton’s home record tells the story of their season. They have won ten of the 11 v teams below them (9th place down), but taken just 2pts from the seven above. The seven they’ve spent the last ten years and a summer fortune trying to penetrate.
And there’s more bad news… they’ve looked every inch a Big Sam team in the last couple of weeks. So the Top Seven looks safe.
In their last four they’ve have been dour, physical, hard to beat – exactly what Southampton could do without at the moment. The Saints need 4pts, possibly 6pts from their last three – and can probably write off the Man City game on final day. So it’s all on this.
Scorecast: 1-0 at 7/1.
Tap In: Everton Draw No Bet at 19/20.
Long Shot: Everton Win to Nil at 15/4.
1.30pm Man City v Huddersfield Town
The bookmakers are quoting 1/10 for a Home Win and I reckon that’s decent value. Huddersfield have taken 1pt from their eight matches away to Top Half teams and are yet to score. They look far and away the heaviest and clumsiest of the teams currently tip-toeing around the PL trap door. Their 35pts really should’ve been topped up at Newcastle, Brighton or at home to Everton because it’s a trip to Chelsea up next. So come last day their survival will depend on spoiling Arsene Wenger’s swansong.
As for City, they could win at a canter but I have a feeling watching Liverpool in Europe might make them spiteful.
Scorecast: 5-0 at 9/1.
Tap In: HT/FT City/City at 2/5.
Long Shot: City Win, Both Teams to Score: NO, Under 10.5 Corners & Under 35.5 Booking Points at 7/2. (Coral #YourCall)
4.30pm Arsenal v Burnley
You say ‘dead’, I’ll ‘rubber’. While Arsenal have been good at home – excellent, in fact. Only Man City have been better – coming off the back of a crushing Europa League exit, that form can’t be trusted. Chelsea and fifth place are out of reach so the only incentive here is keeping their foot on Burnley’s head in sixth. Aside from it being Arsene’s last home game and all that.
Clambering past Arsenal in the table would support Sean Dyche’s (already decent) claims tfor Manager of the Year, but his team has looked leggy in the last couple of matches. They wilted late to Chelsea and couldn’t stir up the grit to put away Stoke or Brighton. Bit of a testimonial feel here.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 7/1.
Tap In: Burnley (+2) Handicap at 8/15.
Smart Money: Total Booking Points – Under 15 at 3/1.
4.30pm Chelsea v Liverpool
Chelsea look interested again now. Perhaps the thought of the FA Cup Final has perked them up a bit. Although it’s true that there best work has taken place on the road recently – Swansea have been better at home over the last four matches.
Of course, Liverpool can trump Chelsea’s Cup Final – but it could have the opposite effect. So long as Liverpool can beat Brighton on the final day, a draw will secure a top four finish – keeping Chelsea in fifth. So they can afford a slip here, but you suspect there’ll be enough swagger from Wednesday to nick a share of the spoils.
Scorecast: 2-2 at 11/1.
Tap In: Both teams to Score at 8/13.
Smart Money: Draw & Both Teams to Score at 13/4.
Long Shot: Liverpool Win & BTTS at 9/2.
Would you care for some Coupon Busters to follow, sir? No problem. Watch this space...
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.