The Curtain Comes Down
Where are goals expected in the final round of Premier League games?
The curtain comes down on another fascinating Premier League season on Sunday and it’s fair to say that the big clubs have had mixed fortunes. 3 of the ‘Big 6′ started the campaign with a new high profile figure in charge but it turned into something of a procession for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, as they did enough to hold off Spurs’ concerted late effort.
The Blues took advantage of a lack of European football and once their wily Italian coach switched to a ‘back 3’, they never looked like relinquishing the unassailable lead that they quickly established, .
Pep Guardiola will finish his first season at the Etihad empty-handed and Manchester City still have a bit of work to do, if they are to secure 3rd spot and automatic entry into next season’s Champions League group stage.
José Mourinho’s Manchester United have taken their foot off the gas of late but his debut season at Old Trafford will be judged by what happens in the Europa League final against Ajax. Failure to secure Champions League football next season would mean that it could only be classified as a very disappointing campaign, despite collecting some silverware in the form of the EFL Cup.
At the other end of the table, an inability to score goals, means that North East duo Sunderland and Middlesbrough will be playing their trade in the Championship next season. They have scored just 11 and 10 goals respectively since the turn of the year and this is reflected in their goal expectancies for the final matches of the season.
The Black Cats travel to Stamford Bridge to take on champions’ Chelsea, while Boro go to Anfield to face Champions League chasing Liverpool.
Liverpool cannot afford to make any mistakes, as they look to hold off a spirited late season run from Arsene Wenger’s Gunners, while Chelsea may have one eye on next week’s FA Cup final raising the specter of rotation.
There are a number of games taking place that have little at stake this weekend but that is clearly not the case at the Emirates, where the battle for the Golden Boot may well be decided. Arsenal have been installed as relatively strong favourites to see off the Toffees, as they bid to keep alive their lingering hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Watford are set to part company with head coach Walter Mazzarri following their match with Manchester City and he may not be the only managerial casualty before the start of the new season.
Whatever happens, one thing is for sure – Guardiola and Mourinho will be gunning for Conte’s Chelsea when the new season gets under way in August!