PL predictions: Chelsea to miss out on top four

Jones Knows provides his predictions and betting insights for the final day as he thinks Leicester should be backed to finish in the top four.

Aston Villa vs Chelsea, Sunday 4pm, live on Sky Sports


Sunday 23rd May 3:50pm


Kick off 4:00pm

Sky Sports Action
Sky Sports Action

This is by no-means a gimme for Chelsea as they look to secure their top-four place by taking three points at Villa Park.

I would much rather be in Leicester’s shoes and play Tottenham at home rather than Aston Villa away. When playing with confidence and at full strength, Villa have shown this season they are a team capable of mixing it towards the top end of the Premier League, as shown in their impressive win at Spurs in midweek. Obviously, Jack Grealish makes a huge difference to their process. With him, their expected goals data has them as the seventh-best team in the league but without him, that process drops them to 14th. He really is vital.

Playing Chelsea is obviously a step up from beating Spurs but there is a significant bit of juice about getting them onside in this match, especially with Grealish returning to full throttle. The 13/8 with Sky Bet for a Villa win or draw certainly is tempting.

CORRECT SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Aston Villa to win or draw (13/8 with Sky Bet)

Leicester vs Tottenham, Sunday 4pm, live on Sky Sports


Sunday 23rd May 3:50pm


Kick off 4:00pm

Sky Sports Football
Sky Sports Football

If there is any justice for doing the right things in football then Leicester – arguably the soundest run club in the country – will get a helping hand from elsewhere to grab them a Champions League qualification spot. The Foxes have been in the top four for 242 days this season – the most of any other club. It was the same story last season, too, before missing out.

Brendan Rodgers and his team deserve Champions League football. I see no reason why they cannot deliver on their end of the bargain and beat Spurs.

The brilliance of Harry Kane and Heung Min-Son has papered over the cracks at the club this season. The squad looks in need of a reboot and they have a huge summer of work ahead.

Leicester’s cohesion, counter-attacking play and defensive solidarity can get them over the line in this one.

CORRECT SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1

BETTING ANGLE: Leicester to finish in the top four (13/5 with Sky Bet)

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace, Sunday 4pm, live on Sky Sports

Jurgen Klopp’s machine is functioning smoothly again. One more win will be enough to salvage what’s been a miserable title defence. They can get it here.

Palace just might make a game of this at some point during the 90 minutes though.

Since assuring their safety, Roy Hodgson has allowed his players a bit more freedom in attacking areas. Only Liverpool have fired more shots at goal than Palace in their last four fixtures. The 10/11 for them to have 10 or more shots at Anfield is quite appealing for those that like a short price but I would rather take the 21/10 with Sky Bet for Andros Townsend to register a shot on target. In his last three starts from an attack-minded position on the left, Townsend has hit nine shots at goal with two of those on target. With Eberechi Eze and Luka Milivojevic both out, he’s also on free-kick duties.

CORRECT SCORE PREDICTION: 3-1

BETTING ANGLE: Andros Townsend to have one or more shots on target (21/10 with Sky Bet)

West Ham vs Southampton, Sunday 4pm, live on Sky Sports

Regular readers will not be surprised to know I cannot back West Ham here at odds-on.

However, this decision is more to do with the scenario surrounding the game rather than a dig at the Hammers, who have continued to prove me wrong all season and are just one point away from securing an amazing top-six finish.

Southampton can be a fiddly side to keep quiet if bringing their usual pressing game to the party, so this will not be an easy one for David Moyes’ team. A draw is all they need to cap a remarkable season and that is where my money will be going.

I do like the odds for James Ward-Prowse to end his season with a bang and score the opening goal. His durability has rocketed to ridiculous levels – playing every minute of every Premier League game for the past two seasons – as has his ability from set pieces. He will be on free-kicks and penalties in this one and looks overpriced to score first.

CORRECT SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: James Ward-Prowse to score first (14/1 with Sky Bet)

Jamie Redknapp praised James Ward-Prowse's free-kick technique
Image:
James Ward-Prowse’s free-kicks are a potent weapon

Arsenal vs Brighton, Sunday 4pm, live on Sky Sports


Sunday 23rd May 3:50pm


Kick off 4:00pm

Sky Sports Arena HD
Sky Sports Arena HD

Arsenal somehow still have a chance of making it into Europe and have been backed accordingly in the market to win this game with that incentive on the line. The Gunners must beat Brighton on the final day, and hope Tottenham and Everton fail to win their matches against Leicester and Man City, respectively. Whether or not the Europa Conference League is enough of a motivation is debatable but the opportunity to finish above Tottenham surely will get the pulses racing.

However, I cannot have the Gunners at such short odds. Brighton do not win many but they do not lose many either – they have lost the fewest amount of games of all the teams in the bottom 10, drawing a whopping 14 games along the way. Another draw could be on the cards here.

Graham Potter will have them expertly organised as ever and dangerous in transition with Leandro Trossard likely to play in a very advanced role with no Danny Welbeck or Neal Maupay available. Fresh from a well-taken goal in the win over Manchester City, he can score again at 9/2 with Sky Bet.

CORRECT SCORE PREDICTION: 2-2

BETTING ANGLE: Leandro Trossard to score (9/2 with Sky Bet)

Manchester City vs Everton, Sunday 4pm, live on Sky Sports

Everton are worth chucking a few quid at here at 6/1 with Sky Bet.

Pep Guardiola’s team will be in party mood in front of their own fans. The result will not be as important as making sure fringe players get a run-out and the big guns will not be risked with the biggest game in the club’s history on the horizon. Meanwhile, for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, qualification for the Europa Conference League is a possibility. To do that they would have to displace Tottenham in seventh by bettering their result and that of Arsenal.

Everton’s style of defending deep and playing direct to their front two is exactly the type of team that can cause City issues. I like their chances.

Guardiola is likely to give the defensive axis of John Stones and Ruben Dias a rest which does significantly weaken them when defending their box. Nathan Ake and Ayermic Laporte looked all at sea against Newcastle from direct balls. This is an area where Everton are notoriously strong. No team have scored more headed goals than them this season (14). All this adds up to the dangerous Yerry Mina becoming a bet to score the first goal at a juicy 33/1 with Sky Bet.

CORRECT SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2

BETTING ANGLE: Yerry Mina to score first (33/1 with Sky Bet)

Yerry Mina celebrates after restoring Everton's lead against Arsenal
Image:
Yerry Mina can find the net at 33/1 with Sky Bet

Fulham vs Newcastle, Sunday 4pm, live on Sky Sports

How different this occasion could have been. Instead of a tension-fuelled, winner-takes-all relegation scrap, we now have a proper end-of-season encounter that just might produce plenty of action in both boxes. How annoying.

Scott Parker will be keen on giving the home fans something to shout about after what must have been a miserable experience watching their side from home. Only Sheffield United have scored fewer goals in the Premier League and Fulham have not scored more than one goal in any of the last 13 league games. I am not exactly selling this for a goal-fest am I? But goals always are seen in unlikely places on the final day. With Newcastle expected to continue playing in their front-foot style, this game could explode.

CORRECT SCORE PREDICTION: 2-3

BETTING ANGLE: Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals (7/4 with Sky Bet)

Leeds vs West Brom, Sunday 4pm

You can only guarantee three things in this life: death, taxes and a goal-bonanza on the final day of a Premier League season. The goal per game ratio always sails above the season average on the final day. Teams are more likely to play with a bit more freedom in a sunshine-filled no-pressure environment. Of all the fixtures on the final day, this looks the game that could go a bit bonkers on the goal front.

Only Manchester United’s games have averaged more goals than Leeds’ this season with Marcelo Bielsa’s style reaping rewards at the top level. West Brom, meanwhile, have also become a team under Sam Allardyce that produce action at both ends of the pitch with seven of their last eight matches seeing over 2.5 goals scored. I am happy to play the over 5.5 goals angle at 5/1 with Sky Bet.

CORRECT SCORE PREDICTION: 4-2

BETTING ANGLE: Over 5.5 goals (5/1 with Sky Bet)

Sheffield United vs Burnley, Sunday 4pm

I am genuinely gutted Sheffield United are exiting the top level with such a whimper.

I covered many of their impressive away performances in London last season. It’s mind-boggling to think they went an entire season without losing to Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham, playing with such organisation and class under Chris Wilder. They feel like a completely different club now and one that might not see the top level again for many seasons. It will be an odd occasion for the home fans in attendance. Do they give their team hell for such a poor showing this season or will they be in forgiving mood and try to help get one last positive result?

Either way, they are impossible to back against a dangerous Burnley side, who have tempted me in at a price of 7/5 with Sky Bet. Despite being soundly beaten in their last two matches to an aggregate score of 7-0, performances, especially in forward areas, have merited more than that. Sean Dyche’s team can take maximum points.

CORRECT SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2

BETTING ANGLE: Burnley to win to nil (7/2 with Sky Bet)

Wolves vs Manchester United, Sunday 4pm

With a Europa League final on the horizon, the price around an away win here has taken a big walk in the market with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer likely to manage his squad accordingly. But perhaps what the money has failed to realise is that United’s second string should be able to beat this current Wolves team without Pedro Neto, Raul Jimenez and Daniel Podence.

It’s a Wolves attack that has not scored in its last two matches and one that has registered an average expected goals figure of just 0.74 per 90 minutes in their last five matches. It’s the lowest figure in that period in the Premier League.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will just want to see the back of this campaign and an away win with a clean sheet looks a smart play.

CORRECT SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2

BETTING ANGLE: Manchester United to win to nil (4/1 with Sky Bet)

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