Congratulations to Chelsea, worthy winners of the Premier League in 2016-17. Did I see this coming? Nope. Was it common knowledge they would win at the start of the season? Nope. But this is not a fluke win like Leicester’s last season. This is one built on a team playing to their level and structured and motivated well by a manager who has done well with what he was given even if it was not what he wanted.
Although the Champions are known and two of the three relegated are also decided, there are still places to be decided and final games to be played. Before we consider the penultimate set of fixtures, let’s just review how I did in predicting the games I looked at last week.
Man City 2-2 Crystal Palace (0 points – actual score 5-0)
Bournemouth 2-1 Stoke City (0 points – actual score 2-2)
Burnley 2-0 West Brom (0 points – actual score 2-2)
Hull City 2-1 Sunderland (0 points – actual score 0-2)
Leicester 3-1 Watford (1 point – actual score 3-0)
Swansea 1-2 Everton (0 points – actual score 1-0)
Liverpool 1-1 Southampton (1 point – actual score 0-0)
Arsenal 1-1 Man Utd (0 points – actual score 2-0)
Chelsea 4-0 Middlesbrough (1 point – actual score 3-0)
Three measly points. Just three points. Not the greatest week of predictions for me. Not the greatest at all. By a long shot.
To wash out that shower of rubbish, let’s look at the fixtures from now to Thursday.
Man City 3-1 Leicester – The home side has more to play for. Leicester may be on their hols mentally by now.
Bournemouth 2-2 Burnley – Burnley have won a game away from home finally, but that doesn’t mean they will be a threat from now on. Bournemouth still want to finish the season well.
Middlesbrough 0-1 Southampton – Boro are down, primarily because they don’t know how to score. They might want to finish their last home game well, but Puel somehow knows how to bore opposition away from home.
Sunderland 1-2 Swansea – The home side might have pride to play for, but the Swans can still stay up with a win. That might be enough to give them the incentive to get the precious three points.
Stoke 0-2 Arsenal – At this time of the season, it’s about who has the character and quality to edge games. Over the season both have lacked in these matters, but Arsenal are in form at just the right time, so should get an unusual three points from their trip to the Potteries.
Crystal Palace 2-2 Hull City – This game is the toughest to call and arguably the biggest game of the weekend. Palace can’t afford to lose. Hull must win. It’s set up for a fascinating clash.
West Ham 2-1 Liverpool – The Hammers beating Spurs to ruin their title hopes would have made the home fans very happy and if they finish the season well can feel hopeful. Liverpool will struggle against inferior opposition again.
Tottenham 1-1 Man Utd – There’s not as much riding on this game as there was a week ago. It’s still a clash of two big clubs with two great managers. I see a stalemate.
Chelsea 2-1 Watford – It would be churlish for the Champions not to lift the trophy in front of their own fans. Don’t expect the Hertfordshire side to just make up the numbers though.
Arsenal 3-0 Sunderland – Are Sunderland really going to stop the good run of the Gooners? Don’t be silly.
Man City 3-1 West Brom – Pulis doesn’t want his season to peter out like this, but there’s little to suggest that his side will stop the home side from picking up the three points they need to confirm their top four finish.
Southampton 1-1 Man Utd – People complain about Mourinho complaining about the number of games his team has to play. Is he wrong, though? Would any other club excel with the rate of fixtures they’ve faced? So don’t expect a festival of football here.
Leicester 1-2 Tottenham – The ultimate in games that mean nothing and for which managers talk about doing a professional job and playing for the fans. It will be intriguing to see the approach both teams have. Spurs should win, but that’s not straightforward.
Back to back, wall to wall Premier League football from now to Thursday as those fixtures left outstanding are sorted. All before the end of the season beckons with the games a week on Sunday. Might as well make the most of it while we have it. I know all the scores won’t go as I predicted, but how many will I get right?
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden