Pearson’s Premier League Preview

Pearson Previews Liverpool

Liverpool go into the final day of the season knowing that a win at home to Middlesbrough will see them qualify for the Champions League next season. If they can get their first home league win in four games then they will finish no lower than 4th, however, relegated Middlesbrough may prove difficult to break down. For the past few weeks now it has been the case that if Liverpool keep winning then they finish in the top four and they have made it more difficult than it needed to be. If they can get over this final hurdle though the long season will be rewarded. Middlesbrough will finish the season in 19th and must start to prepare for Championship football again next season. They have lost three of their last five games and have not scored away since early April.

Chelsea invite Sunderland to join them for the Premier League party as they look to end the season in style before receiving the crown. The champion’s midweek win over Watford was their fifth in a row and there remains a seven-point gap at the top. The goals conceded against Watford were the first in four games but it was a much-changed starting XI. Sunderland have just the one win in 12 games but they may be able to spring a surprise here if they catch Chelsea celebrating a little too early. It is now confirmed that they will be the season’s bottom side as they sit four points adrift of Middlesbrough. Defeat here would be their 26th of the season.

Spurs put six past Leicester in midweek to win their 25th game of the season. Tottenham have lost just once in 12 games in the run in and will finish second. They have little to play for but the same is true of their opponents Hull. It is their final home game before relegation to the Championship next season and they may be looking to end on a high. With Harry Kane chasing the golden boot however they may find Spurs in the mood to score. Hull’s failure to score in their last three has ultimately cost them their place in the top division but the damage was done earlier in the season. They will finish 18th and have lost the same number of games as Swansea but two fewer wins left them short on points.

Manchester City need a point away to Watford to secure a top four finish for this season. They are currently 3rd following their midweek win at home to West Brom. A defeat may still be enough given the three points and plus-five goal difference advantage they have over Arsenal but they will not want to leave it to chance. Watford have little to play for but league places and they now have no manager since the midweek, parting with Mazzarri. They showed some fight away to Chelsea in the week scoring three past a heavily changed side, but before that, they had failed to score in their previous four. A loss in this game could see Watford finish as low as 17th.

Arsenal still need to rely on other sides slipping up if they are to finish inside the top four for the 21st season in a row. A victory at home to Everton on Sunday may still not be enough given and could hand them their worst league finish since 1996. Four straight wins have put Arsenal in a position to take advantage should City or Liverpool drop points, but it may be too little too late. Everton will finish 7th this season but have just one win in their last four. They have not won away since late January and scored only once in their last four games.

Manchester United finish their league season at home to Crystal Palace this weekend but of course, it is not their final game. They will have one eye on the Europa League final and so will likely rotate players ahead of that. United are certain to finish in 6th place but have been on a poor run having not won in their last five league games. They face a Palace side who secured safety last weekend with their first win in four. Already having won away at Anfield and Stamford Bridge this season they will be looking to add another big scalp. If they do win then they could move as high as 11th place.

Southampton play host to Stoke in their final league game for this season. A 0-0 draw with Man United in the week means they go into the final day in 8th and ‘best of the rest’. A win here would see them finish well but far down on last season’s points total. Southampton have failed to score in

four of their last five games but face an out of form Stoke side. The away side have not won in the last four and have not beaten a top half side all season. They are on course for their worst league finish in the last four years and could finish as low as 16th.

West Brom head into the final day of the season having picked up just two points since the start of April. They have scored just three times in the last eight games and dropped out of 8th place for the first time since late December. They could now finish outside the top half if they fail to beat Swansea on the final day. Swansea’s safety was confirmed last weekend as they are four points above Hull. If they can beat West Brom at home then they could move as high as 15th, a strong end to the season.

Bournemouth are unbeaten in four games and travel to Leicester looking to finish the season on a high. They currently occupy a top half place and a point this weekend will see them finish there. They are two points ahead of last year’s champions but could also overcome West Brom and push further up the league. Leicester go into this game on the back of a midweek hammering by Spurs. It is the final home game of what has been a turbulent season at times and it could have been much worse. To finish in mid-table was something which looked very unlikely half way through the season. They have lost two in a row but both were against sides from the top four.

West Ham travel to Burnley having lost just once in six league games. Although it has been a run which has seen them move to safety they have scored just one goal in four games. 12th place is theirs for the moment but Burnley can overtake them if they win and with prize money increasing as you move up the league, there is a lot to play for. Burnley have one win in six games but have failed to score only once in that time. They could still finish as low as 17th but could also finish just outside the top half with a comfortable win.

All of Liverpool’s season comes down to one final game. They need to put aside any pressure behind them and play their normal game against Middlesbrough. They have the advantage heading into the final day and just need to match Arsenal’s result to confirm a top four finish.