The talking point of the last game of the season is not, obviously, on who wins the Barclays Premier League (BPL) title.
Rather, the attention is on whom between Hull City and Newcastle United joins Burnley and QPR in the Championship.
It’s a straight fight between “City” and “United” so let us play the number game without involving our soccer analysts.
Of the 20 clubs in the BPL, Manchester City lead four other Cities into battle while Manchester United are in a short queue of two. And that’s 5-2 penalty score line in favour of Hull City!
Tata Newcastle United.
Welcome to BPL Preview!
ARSENAL V WEST BROM
Aisha, as a fan of champions Chelsea, you will have the honour of taking the first shot on all the fixtures. West Brom are undefeated in their last five matches in the Premier League. Can they go unscathed here?
Aisha: The Baggies will be full of confidence after beating champions Chelsea 3-0. Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fans were disappointed that the Gunners could not beat Sunderland on Wednesday and would demand a positive reaction ahead of the FA Cup final against Aston Villa. I’m backing Arsenal to win this 3-1
Kayode: Arsenal couldn’t break down Sunderland in their 0-0 draw on Wednesday night but I don’t expect the same resilience from West Brom who are virtually on holiday mood. The Gunners should end the season in a flourish ahead of next weekend’s FA Cup final. 2-0
Sunday: Final game and at home for the Gunners and a chance to say thank you to the fans. Just like West Brom did against Chelsea in midweek, they’d be on the receiving end. See you in August. 2-0
ASTON VILLA V BURNLEY
Burnley have failed to score in seven of their last eight matches in the Premier League. Aisha, can they find their scoring boot at Villa Park?
Aisha: Aston Villa know that they are safe so the 6-1 spanking they received at the hands of Southampton last weekend shouldn’t bother them much. Burnley are already relegated so I see this ending in favour of the Villans 2-1
Kayode: After the 6-1 annihilation at St Mary’s, Tim Sherwood will demand a response from his side as they prepare for the FA Cup final. A relegated Burnley shouldn’t pose much threat and moreover, home advantage could see Villa grab all points at stake. 2-1
Sunday: Aston Villa do not need to win, they have their sight on next weekend’s FA cup final. Burnley are down and out already. I think Tim Sherwood will use this encounter to keep up the fitness of his star players, therefore a win. 2-0
CHELSEA V SUNDERLAND
Sunderland have kept a clean sheet in their last three matches in the Premier League. Aisha, can they make it four in a row against the champions?
Aisha: Jose Mourinho “blamed” the other top teams in the BPL for Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat to West Brom on Monday for making it too easy for his side to win the league. The Special One, however, doesn’t like dropping points at home and he will remember that his only home defeat in two spells in the Premier League came at the hands of Sunderland last season. I think Chelsea will go for a win here. Sunderland ensured BPL status with their 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Wednesday so they don’t have much to play for. Chelsea to win this 2-0
Kayode: After the 3-0 loss to West Brom midweek, Chelsea will be keen to end the campaign with a win in front of their fans. A draw at the Emirates on Wednesday night secured Sunderland’s top-flight safety and they make the trip to Stamford Bridge with the pressure off. 2-0
Sunday: It is official: Sunderland are safe therefore no need to over-commit. Chelsea would be crowned champions on Sunday and what better way than to win it in style. Congratulations to the worthy champions. 2-0
CRYSTAL PALACE V SWANSEA CITY
Crystal Palace have conceded at least two goals in their last three home matches in the Premier League. Aisha, a two-goal margin win for the visitors?
Aisha: Two teams that had decent seasons. I feel both sides have achieved their pre-season targets so I will settle for a 1-1 draw
Kayode: The two sides have had a very good season by their standards. Despite the 4-2 loss to deposed champions Man City, Garry Monk will be hoping to end the season on a high. Palace, on the other hand, have an outside chance of finishing in the top-half of the table. It’s a tricky tie which could end either way. So, I will settle for a 0-0 draw.
Sunday: A game for the neutrals here. Free-flowing attacking football from both sides should draw plenty of goals: a befitting way to end the season. 2-1
EVERTON V TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Everton are undefeated in their last seven home matches against Tottenham in all competitions. Aisha, the Toffees to lick, sorry, nick this one?
Aisha: Tottenham have the potential to have achieved so much more this season but their recent results have been disappointing. However, the same could be said for Everton. It will be a close encounter but I think Spurs will get an away win. 1-2
Kayode: Everton will hope to end the campaign well after an indifferent season. The Toffees have been disappointing this season, but they can guarantee themselves a top half finish with a victory over Spurs. Doubt if they can achieve that, though. 1-1
Sunday: Everton improved at the business end of the season while Tottenham slowed things down in preparation for a champions league spot challenge next season. A dour encounter with the spoils shared… adios. 2-2
Let us go on a brief break.
Who will laugh last?
HULL CITY V MANCHESTER UNITED
Man United have scored at least three goals in their last five matches against Hull in all competitions. Aisha, another goal fest for the Red Devils?
Aisha: This is perhaps the most important match in the history of Hull City. They need to win or they will be relegated. A win might not even save them depending on the outcome of Newcastle United’s match. Manchester United still has a mathematical chance of finishing third but that will depend on Arsenal losing and United winning by a wide margin. I think Man United will win and Hull will be relegated. 1-2
Kayode: Hull currently occupy the final relegation spot and need a win and hope results go their way to remain in the top flight. Hull and their manager Steve Bruce, though, have a poor record against United. Previous history doesn’t favour the Tigers and Bruce has failed to win any of his 21 meetings with Manchester United as a manager, losing 17. I would really love to see Hull remain in the top flight. But then…1-3. Sorry, Steve Bruce!
Sunday: It is a pity Hull City find themselves in this situation. Sunderland’s draw in midweek made the relegation struggle a two-horse race and they are hotly tipped to win it. They won against Liverpool when it mattered and i think they can repeat the trick with some luck. Man Utd will likely field some fringe players and they could be there for the taking. Steve Bruce could have sympathy from his former club but i dont think it would be enough for the Tigers. 1-0
LEICESTER CITY V QUEENS PARK RANGERS
QPR have failed to win 21 of their last 23 away matches in the Premier League. Aisha, an easy win for Leicester?
Aisha: Leicester City will be in the BPL next season because they refused to give up when they seemed doomed for relegation. The side they are facing, QPR are already down and are notoriously poor travellers. I see Leicester winning this 2-1
Kayode: Leicester City, in a way, have been the team of the second half of the season. They have battled hard to sustain their status in the top flight. There’s nothing to play for here so a draw would be the best result. 0-0
Sunday: Two months ago both teams were hotly tipped to be relegated. Leicester, however, got the magical run that kept them up while QPR continued their downward slide into the Championship. Leicester to send the R’s off properly with a win for their fans. 2-1
MANCHESTER CITY V SOUTHAMPTON
Man City have scored at least three goals in their last three home matches against Southampton in all competitions. Aisha, will the Citizens go goals gaga yet again?
Aisha: The former champions have been in awesome form lately and one wonders why they slumped earlier. They are now guaranteed to finish second so they will be in a good mood for this tie. Southampton have been good all season and will put up a decent showing. However, I can also see only one winner here and it is Man City. 3-1
Kayode: I expect City’s fine run to continue especially as second position is now guaranteed. The Saints have nothing to play for as they are certain of a Europa League place in seventh unless Aston Villa win the FA Cup. If they win this game they will finish as high as 5th. But I don’t see them even coming out with a draw. 2-0
Sunday: Manchester City will lose their official title after this match but they should still play like champions against a close-knit Southampton side. Sergio Aguero’s goals to do it once again. 3-1
NEWCASTLE UNITED V WEST HAM UNITED
Newcastle have lost nine of their last 10 matches in the Premier League but they are undefeated in 10 of their last 11 home matches against West Ham in all competitions. Aisha, can they win this and avoid relegation?
Aisha: If Newcastle United win this game, they are safe. A draw might not be good enough. The Magpies have been very poor this season but their opponents, West Ham are safe and might not put up a stiff fight. I think the fans will demand a good showing from Newcastle so I will predict a home win. 2-1
Kayode: The Newcastle coaching crew, players and fans will be interested in this game and the one at KC Stadium. They know that if they don’t bag the full points against the Hammers and Hull beat United they can’t avoid been relegated. The Magpies, though, are in a good shape after ending a run of eight straight defeats with a draw recently but then lost having taken the lead against a QPR side that were relegated the previous weekend. But they should beat West Ham who don’t have a great deal to play for. 1-0
Sunday: I am a Newcastle fan it would be suicidal if we get relegated. The squad is thin and what is left of it would demand to leave but there’s still a chance to right some wrongs. West Ham are not particularly harmful currently with manager Sam Allardyce set to be relieved of his duty. Papiss Cisse’s goal(s) is highly needed now more than ever against a sleeping Hammers. However, Big Sam could put a clog in the wheels due to the fact that he was sacked at Newcastle before being given the chance to prove himself. I think Newcastle will scrape a win and escape relegation. 2-0
STOKE CITY V LIVERPOOL
Aisha, this one is all about Steven Gerrard yet again. What do you expect in his last game for the Reds?
Aisha: Steven Gerrard’s Anfield farewell was spoilt by Crystal Palace who thumped them 3-1 last weekend. The Reds can’t make the UEFA Champions League any more so they will have to console themselves with the Europa League. Stoke have done well this season and are usually difficult at home. I think this game will be a draw. 1-1
Kayode: A dead rubber game that looks likely to end in a draw. 1-1
Sunday: Liverpool look so ordinary in recent months, especially in attack. Where the goals will come from is a problem while the Raheem Sterling saga has been on-going in the club this week. Stoke City look more potent even with nothing at stake and I see them causing more problems than Liverpool’s defence can solve. 2-1
WEEK 37 PREDICTIONS
|Southampton v Aston Villa||1-1||2-2||2-1||6-1|
|West Ham v Everton||0-0||1-1||2-2||1-2|
|Tottenham v Hull||0-1||3-1||1-1||2-0|
|Sunderland v Leicester||1-1||1-1||1-2||0-0|
|QPR v Newcastle||0-1||1-2||1-1||2-1|
|Burnley v Stoke||2-2||1-1||1-1||0-0|
|Liverpool v Crystal Palace||3-0||2-0||2-0||1-3|
|Swansea v Man City||1-1||1-2||1-3||2-4|
|Man United v Arsenal||2-0||2-1||2-1||1-1|
|West Brom v Chelsea||0-1||1-2||1-2||3-0|
PUNDITS LEAGUE TABLE
|PUNDIT||WK 37 CORRECT RESULT (1PT)||WK 37 SCORE (2PTS)||WK 37 TOTAL POINTS||CUMMULATIVE POINTS|