Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace: City HT/FT (5/6, Ladbrokes)
Crystal Palace represented a formidable, resilient footballing outfit for all of two months. Mamadou Sakho’s introduction to the team changed their entire outlook; now he’s injured, recently stretchered off against Tottenham, they’ve reverted to their former, brittle selves.
That’s not a good position to be in given their weekend fixture is at the Etihad Stadium. Manchester City are now in must-win mode in order to secure Champions League football for next season and will be playing with vicious intent. Palace, already safe from relegation, can’t match them for skill and definitely won’t match them for motivation.
Burnley vs. West Brom: Both Teams To Score No (3/4, Ladbrokes)
Burnley’s victory at Selhurst Park last week was, remarkably, their first away from Turf Moor all season. Quite a time to achieve it, given it lifted them just a point shy of the vaunted 40 mark and essentially confirmed Premier League survival.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Clarets now do exactly what West Brom did when they surpassed the 40-point mark a few months ago: stop scoring, stop functioning, stop playing completely. The Baggies haven’t score since March, losing three successive games 1-0 at home.
With motivation entirely lacking, expect a low-scoring where, in all likelihood, one team wins 1-0.
AFC Bournemouth vs. Stoke City: Bournemouth Win (11/10, Ladbrokes)
Stoke City are absolutely dismal away from home. They’ve failed to score in any of their last six Premier League games away from the Bet365 Stadium, losing five and drawing one, according to WhoScored.com.
That doesn’t bode well given the team travel to Bournemouth on Saturday, who have won three of their last six at the Vitality Stadium and are finishing the season strongly. Eddie Howe refused to accept congratulations on staying up last week after the win at Sunderland, preferring to wait until they’re mathematically safe, and that can be achieved this weekend.
If the Cherries’ players are even half as determined and focused as their manager is, Stoke are in big trouble here.
Hull City vs. Sunderland: Hull HT/FT (13/10, Ladbrokes)
A simple case of measuring up motivations. Hull City, embroiled in a relegation battle knowing home victories are the key to survival, take on a team mathematically relegated who have scored twice since mid-January. It’s not difficult to choose who to back.
The odds reflect the state of play: Hull are an unappealing ⅖ to win, so to even the keel back them to be winning by half-time. They’re actually very good when backed by their home support and not being set back by ridiculous red cards.