THE 2015/16 Premier League season reaches it’s conclusion on Sunday. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) shares his three best bets.
Arsenal v Aston Villa | Sunday 15:00
This will be a weird old game eh? Neither side will take to the field with much relish you’d imagine, especially the visitors. For the home side it’s been a disappointing season despite the fact they could end the day in second place. The effect of back to back FA Cups has not been powerful enough to see them kick on and grab Premier League glory.
For Aston Villa it’s been one of the worst seasons in the club’s history. Just three wins from their 37 league matches have been accrued and the Midland club have lacked spirit. effort, character, organisation, bravery, balls, bottle, maturity…(repeat to fade).
For weeks now I’ve been waiting for Arsenal to kick the shit out of someone and it might just happen on Sunday. The Gunners must be down. There’s a palpable sense of frustration amongst their fanbase and serious question marks over their manager Arsene Wenger. This provides a chance to let that angst convert into goals.
Amidst the pent-up frustration is an outside chance of humiliating their local rivals Spurs and overtaking them on the final day of the season by finishing in second place.
For that outcome to occur Arsenal need to win here and hope relegated Newcastle beat Spurs at St James Park. Yes, it’s unlikely but not impossible if you believe in all things Spursy.
So expect Arsenal to play with real freedom here. I was at the Emirates on the final day of last season when the Gunners played with real thrust in a 4-1 win over West Brom. I’d expect something similar here.
Aston Villa haven’t won since early-February and snapped a run of 11 straight defeats last week when they drew 0-0 with Newcastle. In their defence they’ve been more prolific in front of goal with scores registered in three of their last five matches.
Arsenal Over 2.5 Goals appeals to me here at 4/6 but it’s just a little too short to be putting up so instead I’ll go with Over 3.5 Goals at 20/21 with Boylesports.
I’m hoping Arsenal can run riot here but it’s not utterly absurd to suggest this pathetic Aston Villa side can contribute to the scoreline. Over 3.5 for me.
Everton v Norwich | Sunday 15:00
Another odd game here with lots of gloom in the air, but also a wee bit of hope. Roberto Martinez has been relieved of his duties at Everton and that really was the most humane thing the club could do faced with this fixture.
His exit will surely lift the negative Goodison gloom and offer the home crowd a chance to dream ahead to 2016/17 and what could be achieved with a new man at the helm.
Norwich’s performance on Wednesday against Watford was buoyant but sadly all in vain as the Canaries had relegation confirmed. Despite this there’s a lot of pragmatism kicking about the club.
For starters it looks like manager Alex Neil is staying on to fight another day. The sheer honesty from the man has been a joy to behold this season and I’m delighted he’s getting another chance.
Neil will already be plotting and planning for 2016/17 and he seems to be the kind of guy who won’t sulk for too long and instead will focus on the future. I’m expecting his Norwich side to go out with dignity on Sunday although it’s likely to be in defeat.
I’m taking a punt on Everton scoring Over 1.5 Goals here. It’s a pretty skinny price of 4/6 but I’ve gone for bigger options elsewhere. It looks certain to be Romelu Lukaku’s last game at Goodison and he’ll surely be hoping to go out on a high.
This bet has copped just once in Everton’s last 10 games but I think we’ll see a different feel to the side on Sunday as they are unleashed from the chains of Martinez.
Manchester United v Bournemouth | Sunday 15:00 | Sky Sports 1
For a bet that’s paid out in the last seven games at Old Trafford it’s pretty remarkable to see Under 2.5 Goals trading as big as 11/8 here on Sunday. It’s not a price I can refuse.
With Manchester United 4/9 to beat Bournemouth it’s clear that the prices indicate a strong performance from the home side, one replete with goals perhaps. As we know though, United don’t really work like that.
For all they’ve been impressive at Old Trafford this season (just two defeats in all competitions) it’s been rare for them to rack up a ball-busting scoreline.
In their last 22 home matches (since the final day of September) they’ve scored Over 2.5 Goals on just three occasions and remarkably 15 times they’ve dipped Under 1.5 Goals. Yes, 15 times out of 22 they’ve failed to score more than one goal in the game.
The 15 games I mention have been up against the likes of Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Norwich and Watford. Hardly world-beaters, so why should we assume they’ll crank up the goals against Bournemouth.
It’s worth pointing out that as well as being weak in the final third Manchester United are also pretty frugal when it comes to conceding. Louis Van Gaal’s side have kept three clean sheets in their last four home matches and registered six consecutive Old Trafford shutouts earlier in the season.
So yeah it might be tough for Bournemouth on Sunday. Eddie Howe’s side have had an excellent season and whatever happens here will leave with their 2015/16 heads held high.
The Cherries may have scored in three of their last five away matches but the level of opposition has been easier than this when you consider they’ve met two relegated sides plus out of form Everton and Watford. Their only strong challenge was at White Hart Lane were they failed to score. That may be the case as well on Sunday.
With Manchester United scoring low on not only home goals but also home goals conceded and Bournemouth’s work done for the season I fear we’ll see a low-scoring game here and at 11/8 Under 2.5 Goals is too good to turn down.
Arsenal v Aston Villa – Over 3.5 Goals (20/21 Boylesports)
Everton v Norwich – Over 1.5 Everton Goals (4/6 Boylesports)
Manchester United v Bournemouth – Under 2.5 Goals (11/8 Betfair Sportsbook)