Friday, May 22, 2015

EPL 2014/15 - Week 38

The curtain comes down on the EPL this Sunday. Suffice to say that all the excitement had petered out several weeks ago when Chelsea was the only team able to maintain the tempo at the top. The Blues were tipped to win it all at the start of the season in these columns and it was pleasing to see them justify the confidence. The only question that remains now is which of Newcastle or Hull will go down. The Magpies need a draw in their last home match to secure survival in the EPL and whether they get it or not, I still think they will hang on to their advantage over the Tigers.

Since most teams will be playing for nothing at stake, it would not be surprising to see wholesale changes in starting elevens. So caution is warranted and surprises will certainly be on the offing.

Arsenal v/s WBA. Wenger could decide to rest star players here for the upcoming FA Cup final. They looked to be badly in need of a break after their last 3 woeful performances against Swansea, Man Utd and Sunderland. West Brom will be playing their part to stifle opponents as they usually do. It is of no surprise that they have done well since Pulis' arrival. The Gunners haven't lost in their last 9 last-day matches but although this stat means nothing, they should still look for a favourable result to confidently tackle Aston Villa at Wembley. I think they will just edge this. Home win.

Aston Villa v/s Burnley. Villa need to put their woeful performance at Southampton behind them and players will probably be looking for redemption in order to secure their places for the FA Cup final. Tim Sherwood might rest some players here although he mentioned otherwise. Burnley are toast and going back to the Championship and have nothing to play for. This match could end in a draw goal-less draw. Draw.

Chelsea v/s Sunderland. One thing that I am certain is that Chelsea will not lose this match like they did last year. The Blues will want to end this campaign on a high. Sunderland are already secure and have nothing to play for; they will have celebrated this week after getting that crucial saving point at Arsenal on Monday. That's hardly the best mindset to confront the Chelsea juggernaut; they could get trounced here. Home win.

Crystal Palace v/s Swansea. Two strong mid-table teams that can look back at this season as being positive. A draw is a good possibility. Draw.

Everton v/s Tottenham. This match could go any way. Sitting on the fence with a draw. Draw.

Hull v/s Man Utd. The hosts need an absolute win here and they will need to take their chances. With Jelavic up front, they can secure at least a goal. Man Utd don't have anything at stake and even with their first team, they would still not be certainties for the win. I think the Tigers can surprise here and can edge this encounter. Home win.

Leicester v/s QPR. I think there will be many goals in this match and most of it will be Leicester's. They should have too much speed for this Rangers team in urgent need of surgery. Home win.

Man City v/s Southampton. I can't see the hosts losing this. They will probably get the win although they have let opponents claw back in many matches before. Home win.

Newcastle v/s West Ham. It's interesting to read about conspiracy theories leading to this match. Will Allardyce try to sink the team that sacked him? Will Kevin Nolan want to see his childhood team relegated? All I know is that Newcastle are just terrible and that West Ham have the capacity to beat them at St James Park on their best day. I think they will do get the 3 points and have the Magpies fans eagerly await the Hull v/s Man Utd result. Away win.

Stoke v/s Liverpool. The Kops are in dire straits with all the talk this week having been Sterling's future at Anfield. Sterling is England's best player and Liverpool will certainly be a weaker team without him. Steven Gerrard will also be saying his goodbyes to the EPL after this match. Stoke are one of the best, although quiet, stories of this year and Mark Hughes has done wonders with this team. The hosts have a lot of upside and are strong at home, so I see them winning this. Home win.

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