Premier League Best Bets, Week 36

Gabe Morency

Thursday, April 26, 2018 9:37 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 26, 2018 9:37 PM UTC

It's still twitching this Premier League season isn't it? Having previously pronounced the death of 2017-18 on this feature previously a week on and things appear a little different. There's still a bit of a.
<p>It's still twitching this Premier League season, isn't it? Having previously pronounced the death of 2017-18 on this feature previously, a week on and things appear a little different. There's still a bit of a chance of something happening at the bottom and an outside shot of a late battle for a top four spot. The key match in all of this is Swansea City's clash with Chelsea in South Wales. Preceding that is another massive contest at the bottom as Southampton host local rivals Bournemouth, while Stoke City are propping up the bar in the last chance saloon at this juncture; it's Liverpool away for them. If we are going to get something exciting in the final weeks of the season, the groundwork will be laid this weekend.</p><p>Here's a look at what to expect. </p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Southampton vs. Bournemouth</strong></p> Their results may not be reflecting so, but there have been small signs in recent games under Mark Hughes that Southampton are making progress. Whether it'll be too late hinges on what goes on this weekend.<p></p><p>In practice, this is the perfect game for Saints. They're at home and they're against a team comfortably nestled in midtable. If they make this a battle and manifest their desperation to stay up on the field, often that's enough to get a victory in the Premier League at this point in the campaign.</p><p>Saints have definitely been unfortunate as of late. In both losses against Chelsea, refereeing decisions cost them the chance to take something from each match, while they would've disappointed not to get over the line against Leicester City in a 0-0 draw.</p><p>Still, there comes a point for Southampton when hard-luck stories won't cut it. And there's no doubt that point is on Saturday. A win here cuts the gap to Swansea, who are in 17th, to just one point ahead of their meeting with an improving Chelsea side. The potential is there for this to be very good, isn't there?</p><p>Bournemouth would love to be the team that effectively sends their south-coast rivals down and typically the Cherries aren't a team that tail off late in the season.</p><p>Southampton haven't won in eight and a strong start for the visitors will add to what is set to be a nervy atmosphere as it is. The home side can take encouragement from their recent efforts, though, and will surely find a way to victory. <strong>Score prediction: 2-1 </strong>(8.00 William Hill). </p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Swansea vs. Chelsea</strong></p> While even the most positive of Swansea supporters wouldn't have expected to get much from their trip to Manchester City last weekend, the defeat means they are still in quite a precarious position as we enter the final few games of the season.<p></p><p>The Swans have a four-point buffer to Saints and Stoke — the Potters have played a game more, though — but as aforementioned, that could easily be just one. Carlos Carvalhal's side have quietly slipped into a rut in recent weeks, as they're without a win in their last six matches in al competitions.</p><p>It feels as if they're coming up against the Blues at the worst possible time too. It's been a torrid 2018 in the main for Chelsea, although three wins in a week, including progress into an FA Cup final, have lifted spirits around Stamford Bridge.</p><p>Chelsea may feel as though their chances of a Champions League finish aren't totally over either. After all, victory here puts them to within two points of Tottenham ahead of their match on Monday. And as we know, peculiar results at this stage of the season aren't actually all too peculiar.</p><p>Swansea will still feel as though they are in a strong position to stay afloat in the top flight. In the main, their resurgence under Carvalhal has been based on a brilliant home record and they still have Southampton and Stoke to welcome to the Liberty Stadium in their final two games.</p><p>Their fate is very much in their own hands, but they won't want to go into those two games with it all on the line. However, Chelsea are likely to have just enough to ensure that'll be the case. <strong>Score prediction: 1-2 </strong>(8.50 William Hill). </p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Manchester United vs. Arsenal</strong></p> Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been involved in some intense battles with Manchester United down the years. This one, admittedly, is nowhere near as significant as some of the titanic showdowns we've seen between the two teams.<p></p><p>For Wenger it's still important. It'll be the last time he takes an Arsenal team to Old Trafford, a stadium that will stir so many emotions within the Frenchman. Wenger's team won the Premier League in United's back yard in 2002, while in 2011 they were hammered 8-2 by Sir Alex Ferguson's team.</p><p>In the present day, he takes an Arsenal team to Old Trafford that is in a rotten run of form away from home. The Gunners have yet to pick up a point on the road in 2018 and given this game is sandwiched by two semi-final matches with Atletico Madrid in the Europa League, they could probably do without it.</p><p>You sense the United fans and especially manager Jose Mourinho will want to make Wenger's final trip to Old Trafford as Arsenal boss one to forget too. It'd be fair to say neither have been particularly fond of the Frenchman down the years.</p><p>United have started to hit their straps late in the season, with their win over Tottenham in the FA Cup last weekend arguably their best performance of the campaign. Alexis Sanchez, who starred that day, will be itching to get out on the pitch against his former club too.</p><p>As much as Wenger would love to earn another big win at the home of his long-term rivals, this Arsenal side don't appear capable. United will surely have too much on the day. <strong>Score prediction: 2-0</strong> (7.50 Unibet). </p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Liverpool vs. Stoke City</strong></p> There'll be a feel good factor around Anfield after Liverpool annihilated Roma in midweek. While focus will be on Wednesday's return leg in Rome, the Reds remain heavy favourites for this one against a Stoke team that has left themselves so much to do. The Potters will battle, but to no avail in the end. <strong>Score prediction: 2-0</strong> (8.00 Betfair). <p style="text-align:center"><strong>Burnley vs. Brighton</strong></p> A challenge to Arsenal in sixth hasn't really materialised for Burnley and Sean Dyche's focus will now be on finishing off this memorable campaign as professionally as possible. Brighton are all-but safe at this point and Chris Hughton, perhaps with an eye on next season, will want to see his team make some improvements on the road. <strong>Score prediction: 1-0</strong> (6.50 William Hill). <p style="text-align:center"><strong>Crystal Palace vs. Leicester</strong></p> Palace are another of those sides that aren't quite safe, but almost certainly are. Four points from their last two matches has given Roy Hodgson and his men breathing room at the bottom and they'll view this contest, against a Leicester side struggling under Claude Puel, as the perfect chance to rubber-stamp their top-flight status. <strong>Score prediction: 2-1 </strong>(8.50 Betfair). <p style="text-align:center"><strong>Huddersfield vs. Everton</strong></p> With a last-gasp win over Watford secured, Huddersfield will also be confident of staying out of trouble in the final weeks of the campaign. With a three-game run of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal to finish, they won't want to leave anything to chance and will be at full throttle against an uninspiring Everton side. <strong>Score prediction: 2-1 </strong>(11.00 William Hill). <p style="text-align:center"><strong>Newcastle United vs. West Brom</strong></p> Despite their recent improvements, this could be the weekend West Brom's relegation to the Championship is finally confirmed. Darren Moore has give this team extra belief and organisation as of late, but it appears too little too late. Newcastle will hold them to a draw on Saturday, which would be enough to see the Baggies go down. <strong>Score prediction: 1-1 </strong>(7.00 William Hill). <p style="text-align:center"><strong>West Ham vs. Manchester City</strong></p> Any thoughts of City slacking off in the final weeks of the season were banished against Swansea last weekend, as they were mesmerising against their opponents. West Ham have staggered through recent games and simply don't have enough to contain the rampant champions here. <strong>Score prediction: 0-3 </strong>(8.50 William Hill). <p style="text-align:center"><strong>Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford</strong></p> Spurs' season will ultimately finish on a downer after they missed out on yet another FA Cup final following elimination at the semi-final stage. Still, with Chelsea on something of a charge, it's imperative they finish the season strongly and wrap up their top-four berth. Watford have been on the beach for longer than any team in the division at this point. <strong>Score prediction: 3-0</strong> (6.50 Betfair).<p></p>
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