Premier League predictions - Man City to pip Liverpool to the title
This weekend sees the final round of Premier League fixtures, with all games being played at the same time on Sunday afternoon to thoroughly round off what few can argue has been an excellent season, at least for entertainment purposes from a neutral’s perspective. Some teams have had campaigns they wish to forget, while others have exceeded expectations and will recall the 2013/14 season fondly. Going into Sunday’s fixtures, there are still some loose ends to tie up – there is, of course, the small matter of the identity of this season’s Premier League champions to decide.
Only Man City or Liverpool are now able to lift the trophy now, in what would prove City’s second Premier League title win or Liverpool’s first. Both sides have had the title race in their own hands at one point or another, but it is the Citizens who hold the upper hand going into their final match following their 4-0 thumping of Aston Villa on Tuesday. A two point advantage, coupled with a far superior goal difference, means a draw will likely be enough to see the trophy arrive at Eastlands after a year’s absence. They must first overcome West Ham, however, who have not had their best ever Premier League season but have appeared solid enough to at least stay away from immediate danger in recent months. City, however, are 1/7 to take the win outright to put any lingering doubts to bed and claim their second Premier League crown.
Liverpool have to go all out if they are to cling on to any hope of taking their first Premier League title, in what would also be their first English championship in well over 20 years. Even if they win by a large score, it still relies on results elsewhere. They welcome Newcastle to Anfield, and the Toon Army have experienced a very similar season to City’s opponents West Ham in many respects – they sit well above the Hammers, but the current campaign has been one of turbulence and disappointments as much as it has been about celebrating three points on any given day. The Kop are 1/5 to oust the Geordies and keep the pressure on City.
At the other end of the table, Norwich are praying for a miracle if they are to survive relegation, but the sight of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal marching towards them from the horizon must surely have fans of the club wondering whether things can really get much worse at the moment. They managed to take a point back with them from Stamford Bridge by battling out a 0-0 draw with Chelsea, but considering they must win the game outright and somehow play their part in closing the goal difference tally to the tune of a whopping 17 goals, the Canaries, with all due respect, look doomed to claim that third dreaded drop spot. Norwich won’t just roll over and take it – they will fight, make no mistake – but it’s a big ask, and Arsenal are 4/5 to finish the season by taking all three points at Carrow Road.
The only other team that can mathematically be relegated, albeit only by means of some sort of wizarding intervention, is West Brom, and they are also at home as Stoke travel to the Hawthorns. Realistically the Baggies’ goal difference keeps them safe save for a monstrous display up front for the Potters. Stoke have only scored one more than West Brom all season, and have only conceded six less, so the actual tallies between these two teams is fairly tight, but results have certainly gone more in Stoke’s favour. The Baggies are Evens to take the win, but the realistic outcome of a draw is 5/2 – that’s certainly tempting.
Seventh placed Man United travel to eighth Southampton in what could well be Ryan Giggs’ final game in charge of the club, at least for the time being. United are eight points clear of Saints with a better goal difference, so position isn’t really something either side will be battling directly, though the Red Devils would leapfrog Tottenham should Spurs lose, so there is something to play for as far as the Old Trafford outfit are concerned. Sixth place means Europa League football next season owing to Man City’s Capital One Cup triumph, and so if Spurs lose at home to Villa and United win this one, the former European champions will be competing on that front next season. It’s tough to call with the bookies, with Saints actually being slight favourites going in, but only marginally. 8/5 says Southampton win, 13/8 represent United’s odds, though they are drifting at present, with the draw at 12/5. Go for a United win, simply because they have more to play for.