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bet365 English Premier League Preview - penultimate round

3 minute read

Man City has the early Saturday kick-off at Fulham and must win to maintain the advantage in the title race. Arsenal then go to Old Trafford on Sunday, hoping Man U don’t pull a big performance out of the bag that would effectively ruin their challenge.

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At the other end, Luton, Forest and Burnley all contest must-win games, although Forest do look to be firmly in the driver's seat to survive.

Some of this weekend's games are tricky as they hold little or no importance to qualification or relegation – it's matter of knowing which team's mind is on football and which is on a beach somewhere.

FULHAM v MANCHESTER CITY: Saturday 11 May 9.30pm

FULHAM FORM: Very good on their day but unable to string together enough quality performances to threaten the top six. At the last home game, they managed to what Man U, Liverpool, West Ham and Newcastle couldn't do recently, and that is take a point off Crystal Palace. Only one win in the last seven though, not a great return for a side that had a whiff of European qualification in March.

MANCHESTER CITY FORM: Putting in the familiar post-Xmas shift and are now 270 minutes away from an unprecedented fourth consecutive top-tier title. Since a draw with Arsenal on 31 March the Sky Blues have belted home 24 goals on the way to six straight wins. De Bruyne and Haaland are running on fresh legs after extended time off through the first two/thirds of the season, and it shows.

HISTORY: A 5-1 thumping City's way in the reverse clash in September made it a remarkable 15 straight wins in all competitions against the Cottagers. The aggregate scores in those meetings … 45-7.

Prediction: Manchester City win ($1.22 with bet365*)

BOURNEMOUTH v BRENTFORD: Sunday 12 May 12.00am

BOURNEMOUTH FORM: Few would have tipped the Cherries to finish top-ten this season but it's a real possibility. A couple of wins over fellow mid-table rivals Wolves and Brighton have been book-ended by sound defeats against top-four opposition. They sat deep against Arsenal last weekend and made a good fist of holding the Gunners out until a poor penalty decision broke the deadlock. From then on, the result was never in doubt.

BRENTFORD FORM: Consecutive wins over strugglers Sheffield Utd and Luton secured safety in early April, but the Bees have failed to find the net in two subsequent games. They have been giant killers in recent seasons, however in this campaign Thomas Frank's side has struggled against sides in the top half.

HISTORY: Bryan Mbeumo grabbed a late equaliser in the September meeting in London. Incredibly, these sides met as recently as 2009 in League Two. Since they both found their way to the penthouse of English football, Brentford has won once, with the other two meetings finishing all square.

Prediction: Bournemouth win ($1.95 with bet365*)

EVERTON v SHEFFIELD UTD: Sunday 12 May 12.00am

EVERTON FORM: Save for a 6-0 spanking at the hands of Chelsea, The Toffees have been excellent since the beginning of April and are safe from relegation despite FFP sanctions. Just one goal conceded in their last four fixtures that included that famous Merseyside derby win at Goodison three weeks ago.

SHEFFIELD UTD FORM: Dismal. Since relegation was confirmed a couple of weeks ago there has been no respite. The Blades has picked up just three points in the last 12 games, and the 'against column' is now in triple figures. Swindon Town in 1993/94 conceded 100, so perhaps all Chris Wilder's side now has to play for is a couple of clean sheets to stop them from claiming the title of 'worst ever'.

HISTORY: This ended 2-2 in the first meeting this season.

Prediction: Everton win ($1.40 with bet365*)

NEWCASTLE v BRIGHTON: Sunday 12 May 12.00am

NEWCASTLE FORM: Europa League qualification wasn't looking great a month ago, but four wins from their last five gets them to sixth. With a sorry Man U, and Brentford, to come after this, nine points to end the campaign is a reality. With Isak the spearhead, the Magpies have been relentless at St James' Park of late, scoring 17 times in the last five games there and picking up 13 points.

BRIGHTON FORM: Ended a woeful run with a surprising but deserved win over Villa at home last weekend. The Seagulls have found the net just twice in six games which is symptomatic of a side missing the likes of March, Mitoma, and Ferguson for so much of the season. Nothing to play for now except pride – Tyneside is not the place to be if you aren't 100% switched on.

HISTORY: Brighton won 3-1 on the south coast in the fourth round when things were much brighter for them. Newcastle has won the last two clashes at St James, scoring six along the way.

Prediction: Newcastle win ($1.61 with bet365*)

TOTTENHAM v BURNLEY: Sunday 12 May 12.00am

TOTTENHAM FORM: Not only is the Ange honeymoon over, but there are also now rumblings about divorce court. The four most recent fixtures looked tough on paper, but picking up no points and conceding 13 in the process is an unacceptable return for a side that had hoped for a return to Champions League football. This fixture will be a welcomed change of pace, but with fourth spot firmly in Villa's control, this match might be purely academical.

BURNLEY FORM: Thoroughly outclassed by Newcastle at Turf Moor last weekend, ending a revival that saw the Clarets collect 11 points in eight games. They must win this, and hope Forest lose at home to Chelsea, to set up a monster clash with Forest on final day. Kompany has never waivered from his aggressive approach and his side are good entertainment value, but the last clean sheet came before Xmas. Don't expect one here against a team that also knows just one way to play.

HISTORY: Spurs scored three in 12 minutes in the second half to secure a 5-2 win in September. The last time Burnley defeated Tottenham in a league match away from home was 5 October 1974!

Prediction: Tottenham win ($1.33 with bet365*)

WEST HAM v LUTON: Sunday 12 May 12.00am

WEST HAM FORM: The gutsy performance to hold the mighty Beyer Leverkusen to a draw in the Europa League in mid-April was seemingly the last throw of the 23/24 dice for the Hammers. The 2-2 draw at home to an out-of-form Liverpool was a fine result, but surrounded by some awful displays, none worse than the 5-0 drubbing handed out by Chelsea last weekend. Moyes' departure has been confirmed, and this final home game of the season might be the right occasion for a weary squad to raise one last effort.

LUTON FORM: Huffed and puffed against Everton last weekend but couldn't break them down a second time to secure what would have been an invaluable win. Like West Ham, they look to have run out of steam after so many crucial games with a thin squad in their battle to survive. This is huge though – win this and they might face the prospect of requiring just a draw at home to Fulham on final day to stay up.

HISTORY: West Ham got home 2-1 at Kenilworth Road in the reverse fixture.

Prediction: West Ham win ($1.80 with bet365*)

WOLVES v CRYSTAL PALACE: Sunday 12 May 12.00am

WOLVES FORM: A fairytale season is losing its gloss week-by-week. Wolves have scored just six goals in open play in their last eight matches and picked up only five points in that time. The loss of Neto for the second time this season hasn't helped at all. They will finish somewhere between 10th and 13th which, for a side who took on a new manager just days before a ball was kicked this season, is a decent achievement.

PALACE FORM: Outside Man City and Arsenal, this is the form side of the league. Led by a front three of Olise, Eke and Mateta, and ably supported by the likes of Wharton (England squad smokey?) and Daniel Munoz, Palace is humming under new manager Oliver Glasner. It's a shame the post-match talk after their demolition of Man U on Monday has been dominated by the Ten Hag soap opera and navel gazing by the glamour club. Truth is, they out enthused, and frankly outclassed, the visitors. If management could miraculously keep this squad together in 24/25, they could push for a top-ten finish. 

HISTORY: Wolves have struggled against Palace of late, losing five of the last six encounters. The Eagles won 3-2 at Selhurst Park in September, with all five goals coming in a thrilling second half.

Prediction: Crystal Palace win ($2.45 with bet365*)

NOTTINGHAM FOREST v CHELSEA: Sunday 12 May 2.30am

FOREST FORM: The last two matches have been encouraging. Served it up to City at home two games back and but for some howling misses from Chris Wood could have got a result. Went to Sheffield last weekend and outclassed the Blades. A win here secures their safety, save some outrageous goal difference swings. Plenty to play for, and at home their only defeats in 2024 have come against top-six opposition.

CHELSEA FORM: Just one defeat since early February has catapulted the Blues into European qualification territory. Goals have been easy to come by, with at least two on the board in nine of their last ten. Absolutely toyed with West Ham at home last time around, although the level of enthusiasm they face in this one will be off the charts compared to that encounter.

HISTORY: Both matches were drawn last season, then Forest surprised Chelsea 1-0 at the Bridge earlier this campaign.

Prediction: Draw ($3.90 with bet365*)

MANCHESTER UTD v ARSENAL: Monday 13 May 1.30am

MANCHESTER UTD FORM: An horrendous injury toll cannot be understated, but the effort of the squad that took on Palace at Selhurst Park last Monday was pitiful. Casemiro and Erikson looked like old men against the sprite of the home side. 50/50 challenges were generally lost, positionally they were a dog's breakfast, and energy levels were low. Fans will be hoping that the side shows up for this one – a similar display against the Gunners and it could be very ugly. With just one win from their last seven, there is a real possibility Man U won't be in Europe at all in 24/25.

ARSENAL FORM: Since the Villa loss they have regathered and done what they must do to maintain pressure on City, winning four in a row and building on a terrific goal difference which might be premiership-deciding. Although some questionable decision went their way at home to Bournemouth last weekend, they dominated a side that had been in decent form and deserved the three points. They would hate for their title quest to peter out at Old Trafford against their greatest foe of the EPL era.

HISTORY: Man U has won only two of the last ten clashes, although those wins were the two most recent encounters at Old Trafford. There has been plenty of action of late, with 22 goals in the past five games.

Prediction: Arsenal win ($1.40 with bet365*)

ASTON VILLA v LIVERPOOL: Tuesday 14 May 5.00am

VILLA FORM: Luckily for Villa their place in the Champions League looks like it has been secured through Tottenham's poor form as the Villains have stumbled recently, yielding a 2-0 at home to Chelsea then losing against an out-of-sorts Brighton last time. To add to that, a disappointing exit from the Conference League at the hands of Olympiakos has made it a sombre fortnight for Emery's side.

LIVERPOOL FORM: After poor results at Everton and West Ham, the Reds looked something like their old selves when they dismantled Spurs at Anfield last weekend. There is little to play for now, except sending Klopp out on a bright note. That will come next weekend at home against Wolves.

HISTORY: Liverpool has won six and drawn one of the seven clashes with Villa since they memorably lost 7-2 at Villa Park in 2020.

Prediction: Liverpool win ($1.72 with bet365*)

SUGGESTED WAGER:

Accumulator – Manchester City to win, Newcastle to win, Tottenham to win, West Ham to win at $4.70* with bet365.

*Odds correct at 7.15am 10 May 2024.


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