STAR PREVIEW Sun: Premier League Final Day

Premier League Final Day
All Games Kick off at 16:00
Sky One / Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD / Pick

This has been an extraordinary Premier League season and we have the final day with a battle for the Top 4 still on our hands whilst we’ve also got a battle for survival between Aston Villa, Watford, and Bournemouth, even if Aston Vila appear to hold all the cards in that situation.

it promises much excitement for neutrals – as well as some palpations for fans watching at home – and it offers an enticing challenge for punters too with a big card and a different set of prices compared to most normal gameweeks.

Clubs that have something to play with are often well supported – particularly if they’re facing clubs that aren’t a million miles ahead of them in the table – but that often isn’t the quick fix to finding winners. On a remarkable final day of the Championship only two teams who had a greater need for points managed to win their games, with Leeds relegating Charlton whilst West Brom drew at home to QPR and were promoted thanks to results elsewhere – so don’t be put off if you have a fancy in a game where there’s nothing on the line (or indeed here your selection needs the win less than others).

One thing that is notable on the final day is goals – more often than not teams with nothing and everything on the line will throw hell for leather going forward in a league where attack has often had the advantage. Last season’s final day had 36 goals in the Premier League and Only Hull and Charlton failed to score in the Championship’s final round of games, despite 18 attempts between them. With that in mind, individual goal scorer bets can often pay off and a few make interest on the final day.

Southampton are definitely a side that can look forward to next season. They’ve lost just one game since the restart – a 2-0 loss to Arsenal – and Ralph Hasenhüttl has a side full of technique and promise which should arguably have taken more points in their late season charge. They were the better side against Everton (drew 1-1, won Infogol’s expected goals count 2.30 – 1.04) Brighton (also drew 1-1, won Infogol’s expected goals count 2.53 – 0.82) and they deserved their point at Manchester United when becoming the first side to really unsettle the Reds at Old Trafford. Alex McCarthy, Kyle Walker-Peters, James Ward-Prowse, Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong have all impressed in the second half of the season and are fine prospects to go to war with when the next campaign comes in September, but Danny Ings has been the standout and he can make his mark against Sheffield United this afternoon.

Ings’s 21 goals – with just one penalty – constitute the best goal scoring season for Southampton since 2002/03 and the third best in Premier League history, which is due reward for his hard work as an integral part of the Saints’ pressing system, and also a stack of shots taken inside the six yard box compared to the last season.

Ings has scored six times since the restart, and on four occasions those have been the first goal of the match – 14/5 on him breaking the deadlock appeals against a Sheffield United defence that has been undone by moments of quality in the last week against Leicester and Everton. Chris Wilder’s men have had a fantastic season and deserve huge credit, but games with them are so notoriously tight that any goalscorer will often have an enhanced chance of being first.

Liverpool celebrated their title in style with a 5-3 win against Chelsea thanks to some clinical finishing combined with some slapdash keeping, and there may be more goals coming at Newcastle for them.

The hosts’ main job – staying up – has been done, and for that credit should go to Steve Bruce and his key players, although ideally the Premier League will give clarity regarding Newcastle’s takeover at some point in the future given the approaching transfer window.

Much of their hard work had been done pre lockdown, however, and they’ve also been helped by the struggles of Norwich, Bournemouth and Watford especially after the break. Newcastle’s two wins have come against an off colour Sheffield United and a desperate Bournemouth; In other games they were slightly lucky to draw against West Ham and have lost to Manchester City (5-0), Watford (2-1) and Tottenham (3-1) before a drab 0-0 draw against Brighton earlier.

Their defence can be got at by the best sides and Liverpool, who are unlucky not to be in with a shout of breaking Manchester City’s record having dominated Burnley and Arsenal before failing to come away with results on both occasions, can take advantage. Mo Salah didn’t get on the scoresheet in Liverpool’s midweek thriller but is the leading scorer for the Reds with 19 Premier League goals and has had 59 shots on target – 14 more than next best Gabriel Jesus – and he can end his season in style with goals at St James’s Park. The 14/5 on him scoring first and the 4/5 on him scoring at any point – as he’s done in 15 games – both appeal.

Another goalscorer bet catches the eye in the shape Harry Kane for Tottenham at Crystal Palace. Kane’s tireless efforts off the ball – combined with a shoot on sight policy around the box – have contributed to a mini resurgence for Spurs, who shouldn’t fear a last day trip to a palace side that haven’t done a thing since beating Bournemouth after the restart.

Palace have lost their last seven games by scores of 4-0, 1-0, 3-0, 3-2, 2-0, 2-0, and 2-0, and with Son-Heung Min finishing the season in style, the 7/2 on him for a third successive brace or better makes appeal against a Palace side that’s been leaking goals like a sieve.

Raheem Sterling makes appeal for the same bet against Norwich – he’s been impossible to keep quiet for most defences and hit two against another basement dwelling team in Watford on Tuesday. Sterling, who hit a hat-trick against Brighton, came close to scoring twice against Arsenal and Liverpool to boot and could be value to have onside.

Elsewhere on the card, a speculative treble of Arsenal, Everton and West Ham makes appeal. Arsenal struggled with creativity against Aston Villa but they can find more gaps against a Watford side that’s conceded seven in their last two against West Ham and Manchester City, Everton have been so so since the restart but have played much better than Bournemouth, and West Ham have impressed with their late charge to seal what should be safety, with key players stepping upto plate. The treble pays around 12/1, which looks fair for an interest bet.

Manchester United are preferred to Leicester in their big clash for European football, but United may just be jaded – and certainly looked it for long parts of their game with West Ham in midweek. Chelsea would be deserving of a top four spot, but they might have a harder task than United in facing a Wolves side that are notoriously tight at the back, and they won’t find the spaces they have in other games since the restart against Nuno’s men.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Danny Ings 1st Goalscorer in Southampton v Sheffield United 1 pt at 14/5 with
BACK Mo Salah 1st Goalscorer in Newcastle v Liverpool 1 pt at 14/5 with
BACK Mo Salah Anytime Goalscorer in Newcastle v Liverpool 2 pts at 4/5 with
BACK Harry Kane for a Brace (2 goals or more) 1 pt at 7/2 with
BACK Raheem Sterling for a Brace (2 goals or more) 1 pt at 12/5 with
BACK Arsenal, Everton and West Ham treble 1 pt with

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