THEY say all good things must come to an end, and that’s the case this weekend as the curtain falls on what has been an astonishing 2015-16 Premier League campaign.
Having pulled off an incredible escape from relegation last season, Leicester City shocked the football world by completing the most memorable title charge in living memory.
It was also a remarkable term for Tottenham Hotspur, who need only a single point to seal second place and their highest league finish since 1963.
Chelsea, on the other hand, will want to forget a disastrous campaign that will go down as the worst title defence in Premier League history.
But even the Blues wouldn’t trade places with poor old Aston Villa, whose 24-year run in the Premier League came to a pitiful end with several weeks to spare.
There won’t be any last-day drama at the foot of the table this season, as the twin fates of Newcastle United and Norwich City were sealed in midweek when Sunderland won 3-0 over Everton to secure safety yet again.
That’s not to say there isn’t anything left to play for: Manchester United have a slim chance to snatch a Champions League spot, while West Ham, Southampton and Liverpool are all in the hunt for a Europa League qualifying berth.
For the last time this season, here are Sportsbet.com.au’s top picks and value bets for this weekend’s Premier League 2015-16 fixtures.
Chelsea vs. Leicester City
3:00pm local time on Sunday, May 15, 2016 at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea – $2.25
Leicester – $3
Draw – $3.50
Finally, the Blues can put to bed their worst EPL campaign of the Roman Abramovich era. With nothing to play for and a new manager coming in over the summer, it’s almost impossible to predict which Chelsea will turn up. Eden Hazard has found some late-season form, as highlighted by his wonderful solo goal against Liverpool in midweek.
Leicester won’t want to say goodbye to 2015-16, but what could be sweeter than a final victory lap at the home of last term’s champions? The Foxes were in a partying mood against Everton last week, winning 3-1 in front of their adoring fans at the King Power Stadium. But there will be no glorious homecoming for ex-Chelsea man Robert Huth, who is serving a three-match ban for his tussle with Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini.
Chelsea had won their eight previous meetings with Leicester prior to this season. This time it’s the Foxes who are looking to complete a double, having won 2-1 in the reverse fixture.
– Leicester to win and both teams to score ($5 at Sportsbet)
– Riyad Mahrez to score first goal ($9 at Sportsbet)
Place a Chelsea vs. Leicester first goalscorer bet online at Sportsbet and get up to $50 cash back if your player’s team doesn’t score
Manchester United vs. Bournemouth
3:00pm local time on Sunday, May 15, 2016 at Old Trafford
Man United – $1.33
Bournemouth – $9
Draw – $5
The Red Devils gave up a golden chance to leapfrog Manchester City into fourth spot on Wednesday, losing 3-2 in a fractious affair at West Ham after taking the lead in the second half. Anthony Martial was the only United attacker to cause the Irons any real problems, bagging both goals and wreaking all sorts of havoc from the left flank.
Leicester’s unbelievable antics have rather taken the limelight away from Bournemouth, who have won many admirers in their debut Premier League campaign. They are limping to the finish line, however, with five defeats and only one victory in their last seven games. A win on Sunday could see the Cherries move as high as 12th.
Believe it or not, Bournemouth boast a 100 per cent winning record against Man United. They have met in competitive play only once: the 2-1 upset at Dean Court earlier this season.
– Man United to win both halves ($3.10 at Sportsbet)
– Anthony Martial to score first goal ($5 at Sportsbet)
Swansea City vs. Manchester City
3:00pm local time on Sunday, May 15, 2016 at Liberty Stadium
Swansea – $5.50
Man City – $1.53
Draw – $4.50
At long last, and on the back two horror results against Newcastle and Leicester, the Swans have rediscovered something of the early-season form that saw them slated as contenders for the top six. They made minced meat of a green Liverpool outfit two weeks ago, but the 4-1 win at West Ham was arguably their best display of EPL 2015-16. If other results should go their way, a win on Sunday could secure Swansea a top 10 finish.
Man City can’t afford to let that happen. With United right on their tails, a fall at the final hurdle could see the Citizens miss out on Champions League football altogether – a prospect that would not best please the incoming manager, Pep Guardiola. It’s up to the players to prove they belong in Europe’s premier competition under one of the game’s most successful tacticians.
History is well and truly with the visitors in this fixture, as Man City have won six of their last seven dates with Swansea. The other was a goalless draw back in 2013.
– Correct score 2-2 ($12 at Sportsbet)
– Andre Ayew to score first goal ($9 at Sportsbet)
Newcastle United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
3:00pm local time on Sunday, May 15, 2016 at St. James’ Park
Newcastle – $4.20
Tottenham – $1.80
Draw – $3.75
Set the mood dial to ‘febrile’ for this one. Newcastle were always in trouble after drawing 0-0 with Aston Villa last week, and it doesn’t help that their relegation was confirmed just as arch-rivals Sunderland secured survival. While the Geordie fans vent their frustrations at the club’s ever-popular owners and directors, the players will be hoping to get out of there alive with a not-too-embarrassing performance.
With their title hopes dashed, it is perhaps understandable that Spurs couldn’t muster the fight to see off a spirited Southampton side last weekend. Although Mauricio Pochettino suggested otherwise after the game, the club’s new directive is obvious: secure second place and finish above Arsenal. To achieve that, they need only a point on Tyneside.
Newcastle have won only eight games in Premier League 2015-16, but one of those was a 2-1 stunner at White Hart Lane – Tottenham’s first defeat in 15 outings. These two haven’t played out a draw since 2011, with Spurs winning five of nine fixtures and the Toon winning the other four.
– Spurs to win 3-0 ($15 at Sportsbet)
– Harry Kane to score first goal ($4.20 at Sportsbet)
More 2015-16 Premier League betting
Arsenal $1.17 – Draw $7 – Aston Villa $17
Everton $1.91 – Draw $3.75 – Norwich City $3.75
Southampton $1.40 – Draw $4.50 – Crystal Palace $8
Stoke City $3.20 – Draw $3.40 – West Ham United $2.20
Watford $2.25 – Draw $3.40 – Sunderland $3.10
West Bromwich Albion $2.37 – Draw $3.40 – Liverpool $2.87
Markets provided by www.Sportsbet.com – one of Australia’s most trusted online betting sites
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