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David Preston’s Sunday Pick 8 Preview

Southampton

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Well it’s the final round of games in this seasons English Premier League and Sunday’s Pick 8 features 5 of those games and also includes matches for Juventus, Barcelona, and Napoli. Getting past the first two games that featured Fulham, and Cardiff last weekend was my downfall as after that the remaining 6 games all went as planned, so here’s hoping that for this weekend, I have a little more success as I look to end the season in style.

So here we go with my predictions.

 

Southampton v Man City

Well it will come as no surprise to see that I am going for an away win here as newly crowned Champions City continue to create new records in just about every game they play. Having already won a staggering 31 league games this season, it’s hard to see Southampton being able to stop it from becoming 32, and a win for City will take them to an astonishing 100 points for the campaign.

Having lost just once on the road all season and facing a team that has gained just 19 points – the second worst in the league – from their home games, City will look to end their season in style and if they manage to score 3 or more goals they will break the club’s all time league scoring record set back in the 1936-37 season. The home side are as safe as can be from relegation, and this must surely be a banker away win.

Prediction: Away win

 

Huddersfield v Arsenal

There is nothing at stake in this game as Huddersfield confirmed their Premier League status in midweek but the game will go on to be remembered – whatever the result – for the game that saw Arsene Wenger’s reign as Arsenal manager finally come to an end after 22 years. His current team have really struggled away from the Emirates since the turn of the year, having yet to take a single point, but I am sure his players will want to give him a final winning send off, and I think they might be good enough to get the win.

Huddersfield will be able to relax and enjoy their remarkable achievement of staying up against the odds, but their record of failing to score in 20 Premier League games might be added to this weekend. Since joining in January, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has found the net on 9 occasions, a figure that is only bettered by Mo Salah over the same period, and I expect Arsenal to make it 8 wins from their last 10 meetings against Huddersfield.

Prediction: Away win

 

Newcastle v Chelsea

Although there are only 5 places between Chelsea in 5th and Newcastle in 10th, there is a gap of 29 points between the sides and this game should be one where Chelsea avoid defeat. With Champions League football looking practically impossible to achieve, all focus will now be on the FA Cup Final for Antonio Conte’s team, and with places in the team up for grabs, the away team will be keen to put on a show to enhance their chances of being selected for the upcoming glamour showdown.

Chelsea have already beaten the Geordies twice this season, and have won their last 3 away games and are currently unbeaten in 6 Premier League games. By contrast Newcastle have lost their last 4 league games, and have only a single Ayoze Perez goal at Watford to show for their efforts. However, they are unbeaten at home in their last 4 games against Chelsea, and have only conceded 6 goals in their last 10 home Premier League games. I don’t see Chelsea losing, but Newcastle might be able to prevent them from taking all three points.

Prediction: Draw or Away win

 

West Ham v Everton

This game sees both managers go up against their former clubs and there is a strong reality that this game may well be the last for the respective managers with their current teams. Everton’s league position has been revived under Sam Allardyce, and they go into their final game of the season on an unbeaten run of 5 games and are sure to finish in the top 10 after a real struggle in the earlier part of the campaign.

Wayne Rooney was the hat-trick hero in the game between the sides earlier in the season, but Everton will have to make do without their top scorer for this one as he will be missing through injury. West Ham will be looking to end what has been a season to forget in positive style, and record only a 7th league win at the London Stadium this campaign, although since the turn of the year, only Burnley, and Manchester City have won there. This could go either way although my preference is that West Ham could just end the season with a win.

Prediction: Home win

 

Sunday Pick 8

 

Burnley v Bournemouth

Turf Moor should be the scene of celebration late on Sunday afternoon as Burnley conclude what has been a fantastic season, and I am hoping that the conclusion provides us with a home win. Many people had Burnley down to be amongst the bottom teams this season and for the Clarets to be going into their final game of the season assured of European football next season is a tribute to all connected with the club.

Unbeaten against Bournemouth at Turf Moor in their last 14 meetings, the home side just have the edge over a Bournemouth side who have only won once away from home in their last 12 attempts. It is unlikely that there will be an avalanche of goals in this encounter and I tip Burnley to edge a close game.

Prediction: Home win

 

Roma v Juventus

Juventus go into this game in the capital needing just a single point from their remaining 2 games to be crowned Serie A Champions for the seventh season in a row, but they will not have things all their own way as hosts Roma are still needing points to guarantee a Champions League spot for next season. Juventus have been solid on the road though having lost just one league game away from Turin, and their goals tally on the road of 41 is only bettered by Lazio’s 42.

Roma are on good form and their only defeat in their last 8 games across all competitions was the loss at Anfield, and their recent form in Serie A sees them having won 4 on the spin. Roma don’t appear to do draws at home – only one in the league this season – and it is possible that they may be able to cause an upset. Juventus are obvious favourites and should win, but I will hope that a winner emerges and the game is not drawn.

Prediction: Home win or Away win

 

Sampdoria v Napoli

This game is probably the hardest to call after Napoli’s strong challenge to overhaul Juventus has unfortunately run out of steam at the most crucial point. After claiming that famous win in Turin, Sarri’s side failed to capitalise on that victory, and defeat at Fiorentina, and then failing to win last weekend’s game at home to Torino has ended what has been a spirited challenge from the team from Naples.

They will be expected to end their away campaign with victory here, and a win would be their 14th on the road, but Sampdoria are pretty decent at home having recorded 12 wins and only Inter have won there in the last 10 games, and they are the only team to have handed out an away defeat to Champions elect, Juventus. As stated above I think this could go any way so I will cover all three possible outcomes.

Prediction: Home win, Draw or Away win

 

Levante v Barcelona

The final game of this weekend’s Pick 8 features Spanish Champions Barca is they continue their aim for an unbeaten league campaign, but against a very improved Levante team, they may well face a really tough test to stay undefeated. The hosts have ended the season in really good form, and have taken 23 points from the last 30 available, and are on a current run of 4 successive victories.

The reverse game saw Barca cruise to a comfortable 3-0 victory, but that was back on January 7, and it started a run of 10 games without a win for the home team, but since then they have been one of La Liga’s form teams and although this should go down as an away win, Levante are playing well enough to suggest they might be able to take a surprise point from this encounter with the Champions.

Prediction: Draw or Away win

 

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