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Premier League Preview: Shocks on the cards as cup finals become the priority

And so it comes down to this, the end of season finale. Every Premier League side will be in action at the same time on Sunday as we find out who will become champions. Ed Acteson casts his eye over three of the fixtures, with a view to tackling the £5,000 1X2 Win pool.

 

Tottenham vs. Everton

Spurs were magnificent in the second half of their Champions League triumph over Ajax on Wednesday, as they shocked the Dutch side to reach the Champions League final.

The final doesn’t take place until the June 1st and Tottenham will be looking forward to a well-earned rest for a few weeks before travelling to Madrid, having played an absurd 11 times since the 31st March.

They have one hurdle to clear before that break though, hosting in-form Everton who are finishing the season strongly, having lost just once in their last seven matches, winning five of them.

In terms of league position, neither side has much to play for. Everton are eighth and can no longer catch Wolves but could potentially slip down to tenth if results go against them. Spurs have effectively qualified for next season’s Champions League, unless Arsenal manage to swing the goal difference in their favour by eight, which is highly unlikely.

After navigating some turbulent waters earlier in the season, I think Marco Silva will want to end on a high with a view to staging an assault on the top six next year.

Spurs, already depleted by injuries and exhausted through the amount of games they’ve played, are surely going to put a second string in this fixture and as such I can see Everton nicking the points.

Verdict: Everton

 

Leicester vs. Chelsea

A fairly similar set up to the previous game pits a flagging European finalist against a side who are finishing the season well, with a view to mounting a stronger challenge next season.

Once again there isn’t too much at stake. Leicester can no longer qualify for the Europa League whereas Chelsea, somehow, look set to finish third in addition to reaching two cup finals. It’s a bizarrely high return for a season in which their manager has seemingly constantly been on the brink.

For Chelsea, form and confidence is paramount after such a turbulent year and I do think that Sarri will deem it important to end the season with a strong result, especially after they only narrowly scraped past a poor Eintracht Frankfurt side into the Europa League final.

Leicester, though, have been transformed under Brendan Rodgers, the star of a thousand memes. He has turned the Foxes into formidable opponents and it took a wonder-strike from Vincent Kompany to overcome them on Monday night.

Chelsea are certainly no Man City these days and Leicester also have home advantage in this fixture. I think it will be a well contested match, despite being fundementally irrelevant, but envisage the two sides will restrict one another to a season-closing draw.

Verdict: Draw

 

Watford vs. West Ham

Whilst Everton and Leicester can no longer qualify for the Europa League, Watford still can, and that’s why I feel very strongly that they will lose this one. Hear me out.

Watford are out of reach of the Europa League spots in the league but can qualify by defeating Manchester City in the FA Cup Final next week. With a cup and a European place at stake, the Hornets will almost certainly field a weakened team and West Ham can capitalise.

Manuel Pellegrini’s first season in charge has been a mixed one. Some promising results have been interspersed with plenty of poor ones as well.

There is only one league position at stake for West Ham but I feel it is a symbolic one as a win would take them from 11th in the table, in the bottom half, up to tenth, the top half.

Having finished 13th with 42 points last season, finishing in the top half with 52 points would represent tangible progress for the year. The Hammers will feel that they are right up there with Everton and Leicester in that chasing pack who will try to challenge the top six next season and this would be a decent springboard.

West Ham will want the win and Watford, with bigger fish to fry, probably won’t care. I’m definitely with the Hammers on this one.

Verdict: West Ham

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