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uptownaces.gif’s Week 38 Premier League Predictions

With a dramatic final day of the 2011/2012 Barclays Premier League season scheduled this Sunday, we walk you through the betting minefield to give you our last instalment of picks

Chelsea v Blackburn
Given the comparative form of these two sides over the past few months, one would be forgiven for thinking that on paper this looks like a home banker. Unfortunately, Chelsea have absolutely nothing to play for now that their defeat to Liverpool has extinguished any outside hopes they had of finishing fourth and – with the Champions League final on the horizon – they will treat this game as little more than a training exercise. As such, we shouldn’t expect any blood and thunder and certainly no tempo, but we could certainly see both teams lazily find the back of the net.

Bet: Both Teams To Score @ 5/6

Everton v Newcastle
Although on paper this is a match of little consequence, when you throw several other variables into the equation both sides do have quite a lot to play for. For Everton, a win would guarantee that they finish above their Merseyside rivals Liverpool, while for Newcastle victory could see them finish in the Champions League if one of Arsenal or Tottenham slip-up. Unfortunately for Alan Pardew’s men and their hopes of making Europe’s top table, Everton are currently on an eight-game unbeaten run and are nothing short of miserly at home, so expect a game in which defences are on top here.

Bet: Everton and Newcastle To Draw 0-0 @ 12/1

Manchester City v QPR
In one of the two games that everyone in the country will be glued to this Sunday, Manchester City will know that any sort of win against QPR will all but ensure the 2011/2012 Premier League title – and though Sir Alex Ferguson’s old charge Mark Hughes would love to spoil the party, the omens couldn’t be better for the home team. The Citizens have the best home record in the division with 52 points from a possible 54, while QPR have the worst away tally and are yet to pick up a single win on the road under Hughes. As such, expect United’s noisy neighbours to become louder than ever.

Bet: Aguero To Score 2+ Goals @ 5/2

Norwich v Aston Villa
It’s been said before in this feature, but while Swansea were picking up many of the early season plaudits, Norwich have been steadily picking up the points and thoroughly deserve to go into the final weekend not having to worry about securing their Premier League status. The Canaries have been nothing short of brilliant this season and manager Paul Lambert has used his squad incredibly well – something that certainly cannot be said of his opposite number Alex McLeish. With the game representing Grant Holt’s last chance to stake his England game, expect big things from the big man.

Bet: Grant Holt To Score Anytime @ 5/4

Stoke v Bolton
Given that QPR – in all likelihood – won’t get anything from their game with City, Bolton will know that a win at the Britannia will guarantee their survival at the expense of Mark Hughes’ expensively-assembled side. The good news for the Trotters is that Stoke have relatively little to play for and have not demonstrated the all-conquering home form that has been one of their major strengths in seasons gone by during this campaign. It will still be a big ask for the visitors, but with Owen Coyle having one last throw of the dice, expect a long-standing servant of the club to bail him out.

Bet: Kevin Davies To Score Last @ 8/1

Sunderland v Man Utd
This game is a tough one for Manchester United, not so much because they should be overly wary of an out-of-form Sunderland, but more because the chances are that even if they do win their efforts will probably count for nothing as Man City defeat QPR. With this in mind it may be tough for the Red Devils to truly motivate themselves, especially if news of early City goals filters through to them, but they should still be professional enough to see off a Black Cats side who haven’t won in eight games.

Bet: Manchester United to win 1-0 @ 15/2

Swansea v Liverpool
Despite having an excellent season overall, winning plaudits for both their results and style of play, Swansea have stuttered slightly of late, registering just one win in their last eight games. Liverpool meanwhile, with eight wins and nine defeats away from home, along with a solitary draw, have been inconsistent on their travels this season. The fact that Swansea don’t concede many at home and Liverpool aren’t frequent scorers away, added to the end-of-season factor, suggests a low-scoring draw is on the cards here.

Bet: 1-1 draw @ 13/2

Tottenham v Fulham
Although the pressure surrounding the race to secure a Champions League spot will undoubtedly be a factor, this one still looks like a fairly straightforward Tottenham victory. The North Londoners have won 12 of their 18 White Hart Lane league fixtures this season, while visiting Fulham have only won four of their away contests this term, scoring just 12 goals in the process. It may not be a thrashing but Spurs should have enough to take this one comfortably and secure a minimum finish of fourth in the league.

Bet: Tottenham to win to nil @ 29/20

West Brom v Arsenal
Although they’ve been fortunate enough to play four of the bottom five in their last six games, West Brom’s tally of 11 points from a possible 18 in recent weeks is still a respectable haul. Arsenal have become the draw specialists of late, sharing the spoils with Chelsea, Stoke and Norwich in the three games since their shock 2-1 defeat to Wigan. The impending departure of West Brom boss Roy Hodgson has to be a factor when assessing this fixture, as players can often struggle to motivate themselves when they know a manager is set to leave. For that reason Arsenal can be backed to end the season with a vital victory.

Bet: HT/FT: Arsenal/Arsenal @ 13/8

Wigan v Wolves
A game that for so long looked like it would be vital for at least one if not both of these sides, this contest now doesn’t count for very much. Wigan are on a high following their survival, although whether or not that will be enough of a motivating factor remains to be seen, while it’s equally questionable whether Wolves’ decision to appoint Stale Solbakken as their new manager, with the Norwegian set to start in July, will do much to lift the players for the final game of a poor season. An end-of-season stalemate is unfortunately a distinct possibility here.

Bet: 0-0 draw @ 16/1
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