With the title already in Chelsea’s hands and the relegation battle over, the only remaining drama left in the Premier League season comes from the battle for top four. Hoping to sneak in are fifth placed Arsenal who need to beat Everton at the Emirates Stadium and hope other results go their way. The main side Arsenal are relying on is Middlesbrough who are in action against Liverpool. It’s big ask for the relegated side to leave Anfield with some points but stranger things have happened this season.
Manchester City aren’t guaranteed a top four finish yet either but they would need to have an absolute nightmare of a Sunday to slip down to fifth. A visit to Watford awaits Pep Guardiola’s side in a game where several City players may be making their last appearance for the club. Slightly further south and it is top versus bottom as Chelsea host Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. The Blues will be aiming to increase their season total to an emphatic 93 points against a side who, by stark contrast, sit on just a mere 24.
Sunday 21st May 2017
Arsenal v Everton (15:00) – Arsenal to win with a -1 handicap (11/8 with Coral)
Arsenal needed a bit more time than expected to see off Sunderland on Tuesday night but once again Alexis Sanchez came to the rescue. With the Chilean in hot form of late, he should be able to guide Arsenal to what would be there 14th home league win of the season at the Emirates Stadium. Sometimes the Gunners have looked vulnerable at the other end but with Laurent Koscienly due for an appearance here and Rob Holding proving he’s up to standard, defence shouldn’t be an issue this time.
This is a bit of a nothing game for Everton so you can’t blame them for not being as motivated as their opponents here. Goals have dried up for the Toffees, just one in their last four games and it would be odd if they suddenly showed up for this game after such a lacklustre run of performances. Their record against the top six sides isn’t too bad but they’ve never won at the Emirates before. You’ll struggle to get more than 1/2 on an Arsenal win so for a more lucrative, but still sensible bet, back the Gunners with a -1 handicap.
Chelsea v Sunderland (15:00) – Chelsea to win to nil (4/6 with BetVictor)
It’s a game which won’t alter the finishing position for either side regardless of the outcome so both managers can afford to experiment here. Chelsea did so against Watford and should do again while David Moyes may be looking at which players are worth keeping hold of for next season. Chelsea’s fringe players possess a lot of quality however and with Antonio Conte keen to secure a record 30th league win of the season for Chelsea, this surely must end with three points to the home side.
Chelsea may have let in three against Watford on Monday night but the Hornets do pack a far greater punch in attack than Sunderland. The Black Cats have scored in just two of their last 13 matches, a truly awful record which doesn’t look like being improved at this late stage. You are going to get some incredibly skinny princes for a Chelsea win here but by combining it with a clean sheet, it makes for a smart wager with decent returns.
Liverpool v Middlesbrough (15:00) – Liverpool to win with a -1 handicap (8/15 with Sky Bet)
Only a win guarantees Liverpool Champions League football next year and they couldn’t have asked for a much easier fixture on paper. The Reds have dropped points to Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Southampton in their last three league games at Anfield though so this has the potential to be a nervy afternoon. It’s worth bearing in mind Boro are particularly bad away from home however, grabbing just one point from the last 21 available. They were previously a tough side to break down but that no longer seems to be the case since the departure of Aitor Karanka.
Jurgen Klopp should have learned a lot from recent frustrations at home and the way they confidently dismantled West Ham makes you think they can see out this game. The return of Daniel Sturridge to the starting line-up did wonders then and you’d expect the Englishman to keep his place again. At the back, problems still remain but Middlesbrough have managed just the 10 goals away from home this season. A little patience may be required from the Merseysiders but if they have that then this should be a straightforward contest for them.
Watford v Man City (15:00) – Man City to win and both teams to score (9/4 with Ladbrokes)
Avoiding a heavy defeat should be enough to see Man City in Europe’s top competition next season. Rather than limping over the line however, expect them to end this campaign in some style. Gabriel Jesus’ return to the side and to full fitness seems to be just what Pep Guardiola’s troops needed, that, and an injury-free spell for Vincent Kompany. With City looking not too far from their best at the moment, a fourth consecutive victory looks a very realistic possibility.
Watford won’t be making life too easy for the travelling side though. Their record at Vicarage Road is respectable and they’ve only lost on two occasions by more than one goal there since October 2015. Added to this is that they regained their scoring touch which had previously gone missing for a while on Monday night when knocking three past Chelsea. The game ended in defeat but it’s unlikely to have dented their confidence at all for this clash. Ultimately, City should be able to assert their dominance but you can expect Watford to at least grab themselves a goal of their own.