Swansea secured their Premier League status last week with a 2-0 win over Sunderland, although they had an anxious 24 hours to wait for it to be confirmed. Crystal Palace’s 4-0 defeat of Hull consigned the Tigers to the final relegation spot and enabled the Swans to breathe easy.
Sunday sees the Premier League’s final games, and it’s one of the rare occasions when all fixtures kick off at the same time. The Welsh club take on West Brom at home and it promises to be a party atmosphere for fans and players alike as they can finish the season without pressure. My colleague has highlighted some of the best bets concerning teams at the top of the table, but it’s more of the ‘dead rubber’ games that interest this tipster as well.
The old adage of players thinking about their summer holidays very much applies to the last day of the season, and it could pay to side with home teams this weekend. For the fans it’s a last day out in the sun before the close season, and those teams playing at home will want to finish on a high so that they can celebrate after the final whistle. Football managers will see things rather differently of course. There are just six points separating 8th and 17th in the Premier League, in what has been an incredibly tight ‘middle third’ of the table this season. With millions in prize money up for grabs, bosses will be doing all they can to convince their players of the need for three points.
Burnley and West Ham both sit in the bottom half of the table, but it’s been arguably a better season for the former than the latter. The Hammers are missing a number of influential players through injury, and despite their lowly status Burnley have the 7th best home record in the league. Leicester have had one of the more remarkable seasons in their recent history, and it took another twist with a 6-1 home defeat to Spurs in midweek. The Foxes return to home soil to take on Bournemouth, and they are fancied to bounce back with a final day win.
Swansea v West Brom
Firstly Swansea can celebrate a place in next year’s Premier League with victory over West Brom at 11/102.10+1101.101.10-0.91 with Bet365, William Hill and Betfair
Paul Clement was Swansea’s third manager of the season, but he looks to have done enough to hold onto the position for another year. It was the away win at Sunderland which secured survival, but it’s been home form under the new boss which helped them pull away from danger. The Swans have won five of the last seven at the Liberty stadium, beating Southampton, Leicester, Burnley, Stoke and Everton. They’ve also beaten West Brom on four of their last five visits.
Tony Pulis’ side can snatch 8th place from Southampton if they better the Saints’ results, but little about recent form suggests an away win here. The Baggies have lost six of the last seven games – perhaps mentally switching off after survival was achieved. They’ve also been pretty awful on their travels this term, with just three road victories all season.
Burnley v West Ham
Burnley are a huge price at 7/52.40+1401.401.40-0.71 with Betfair for a home victory over West Ham.
Noble, Kouyate and Reid have all had operations in the last week, thus ruling them out of action until next season. Sakho, Obiang, Antonio and Ogbonna are all on the long term injury list, while Andy Carroll has been besotted by minor niggles all season. That’s a lot of big players missing for a Hammers squad which doesn’t possess great depth, and a second-string side was swept aside 4-0 at the London stadium by Liverpool last week.
Burnley may have limped to the 40 point mark in recent weeks, but they haven’t been in the bottom three since the first day of the season. That they’ve never looked in contention to go down is testament to the job done by Sean Dyche and his staff, and they can finish the season with a bang. Impressively, the Clarets home record reads 10-3-5 from 18 games this season, and although they’ve suffered defeats to Spurs and Manchester United at home in the last few fixtures, they tend to have a good record against the teams around them.
Leicester v Bournemouth
Finally, we’re backing Leicester to finish on a high with a win over Bournemouth at 19/201.95-1050.95-1.050.95 with Betway and Ladbrokes.
The Foxes topsy-turvy season may well continue into the summer. The future of Craig Shakespeare is yet to be resolved, and there are bound to be transfer rumours about the likes of Schmeichel, Mahrez and Vardy. If the Leicester players want Shakespeare to remain in charge they didn’t make much of a case for it in the 6-1 defeat to Spurs, but they can make amends in calmer waters. Home form has still been generally good in a season where they flirted with relegation, with a 10-3-5 record from 18 games in the Premier League.
Bournemouth have won just three on the road all year, and probably celebrated the end of their season with last week’s 2-1 home win over Burnley. The Cherries are among the worst defensive away teams in the division, and if any Leicester players do have plans to move on in the summer, this may turn into an opportunity to ‘say goodbye’.
Swansea to beat West Brom
Sunday 21st May, 15:00 GMT
Burnley to beat West Ham
Sunday 21st May, 15:00 GMT
Leicester to beat Bournemouth
Sunday 21st May, 15:00 GMT
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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