CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) posts his final Premier League column of the season as he pinpoints his three best bets from Sunday’s card.
Burnley v West Ham | Sunday 15:00
It’s a double edged sword. As resident Saturday 3pm man, there’s more choice than ever this weekend to get stuck into, but of course the vast majority of these games matter not a jot and unravelling them proves a tricky test.
I’ll start with a side who I’ve sidled up to a lot this season. Burnley. It felt like I was backing them every fortnight between November and January this season. While their home record continued to inspire, bookmakers made no effort to shorten their odds.
They won seven of their eight home league games between late-October and late-January and it’s because of that form that they’ll be in the Premier League next season.
I’ve heaped so many superlatives on Sean Dyche and Burnley this season that it feels appropriate to back them on final day at Turf Moor.
Let’s look at the home side. Bar that opening day defeat to Swansea, the Clarets have only lost to Tottenham, Man City, Arsenal and Man Utd at home in the league.
It’s fair to say they’ve dropped off from the levels of mid-season as a 2-2 draw at Turf Moor against West Brom two weeks ago indicates. But let’s give them a break, safety was assured by that point and the drop off was natural.
Even a reproduction of that form though may be good enough to beat West Ham on Sunday. The Hammers are fresh from an abysmal display against Liverpool on Sunday where they were beaten 4-0.
West Ham have won just two of their last 13 league matches. One was against a Swansea side that had lost their way and the other of course against Spurs where they killed off their opponents title hopes.
The Spurs game was an absolute one off and was teed up beautifully for them to hurt a side they hate and secure their own Premier League survival. This match is a million miles from that.
I expect the Hammers to retreat back into their shell on Sunday as they count down the minutes till the full-time whistle, while I think Burnley will send their loyal fans home happy. They’ve excelled at Turf Moor all season, this match provides a wonderful opportunity to have one last party.
Swansea v West Brom | Sunday 15:00
There are similar reasons to why I like Burnley as to why I’ll be backing Swansea on Sunday. The club should be on Cloud 9 after escaping relegation last week and will surely want to say thanks to their fans.
Okay, it could go the other way at the Liberty and they may mentally down tools this weekend but with Paul Clement as their General I’ll steer against that.
I’ve heard a few interviews from the former Derby manager this week and he strikes me as an impressive guy. He made it clear in one interview that the hard work that has got them out the bottom three while continue until the end of this game on Sunday. And I believed him!
The Swans have taken 10 points out of a possible 12 in their last four games and have won five of their last seven home matches.
Since Clement came in at the turn of the year, the only sides to beat them at the Liberty have been Tottenham and Arsenal. They’ve beaten the likes of Everton, Southampton and Leicester in that run.
Their test on Sunday is to get the better of a West Brom side who have taken just two points from a possible 24 since the dawn of April.
Their last victory came back in mid-March against Arsenal and they’ve limped through their remaining fixtures with little aplomb.
I think it’s fair to say they improved their levels last week against Chelsea at The Hawthorns and gave them a stern examination before succumbing 1-0.
I’m happy to take them on on Sunday as I expect them to post one, final sloppy effort. Clement’s Swans though will hopefully feed off the adrenaline of the last few days.
Watford v Manchester City | Sunday 15:00
Two of the most uninspiring sides of the season clash on final day at Vicarage Road and ironically I think we could see a bucketful of goals.
Watford of course have rather predictably giving Walter Mazzari his orders and he’ll leave after this match. I doubt he’ll care about the result, and I doubt his players will care about what he (or his interpreter) have to say tactics wise. It could be anarchy.
Manchester City are likely to wrap up third place and close the book on what’s been a disappointing season. Pep Guardiola has some serious work to do over the summer and some of it may be about looking in the mirror.
City have come with a late rattle and have lost just one of their last 16 matches. Against sides outside the Top 7 they’ve gone P25 W20 D4 L1 – the epitome of a flat track bully.
That form should continue and they should be too strong for the Hornets on Sunday. That’s represented in the prices with City as short as 2/9.
Because of that, it pushes the Both Teams To Score price to a reasonable level as bookmakers suggest Watford won’t be able to notch.
Their recent form certainly suggests that, but their 4-3 loss to Chelsea on Monday night pointed to a side who (when arsed) can be dangerous.
With Mazzari heading out and the players hopeful of sending the fans home happy after another year of Premier League survival, I’ll back them to score here and take Both Teams To Score at 10/11 with Betfair.
Thanks for reading this season, hope you all have a great summer x