Premier League bite-size
No time for research? Check out our bite-size summary looking ahead at Sunday’s action in the Premier League.
Chelsea v Blackburn
Chelsea’s heaviest defeat of the season at Liverpool after victory over the Reds at Wembley ended any slim hopes of salvaging a top-four place. With one eye on Munich, the Blues have let their form slip in the league; Roberto Di Matteo’s men have won just once in five games.
Blackburn’s 11-year stay in the top flight came to an end on Monday as Wigan’s 1-0 win at Ewood Park consigned Rovers to relegation. Defeat was the seventh in nine outings for Steve Kean’s beleaguered side, who look to bow out of the Premier League by ending their three-game scoring drought on the road.
Chelsea's players will be fighting for their places in the Champions League final and, with departing Blackburn in disarray, the Blues will be aiming to sign off in style.
Verdict: Chelsea 3-0 Blackburn
Chelsea (-2) to win on the handicap at 21/10
Everton v Newcastle
Everton extended their unbeaten end to the campaign with a fourth successive draw on the road at Wolves. The Toffees have been in sparkling form at home, where they have fired four goals without reply in each of their last two games, winning six of the last seven at Goodison Park.
Newcastle’s first home defeat of 2012 against Manchester City leaves United a point outside the Champions League spots heading into the final day. Alan Pardew will hope his side can replicate their last performance on the road at Chelsea, where Papiss Cisse bagged his third brace in the Magpies’ last four away outings.
Both sides are ending on a high but Everton’s formidable home form means Newcastle may fall short of the maximum points they crave for a top-four finish.
Verdict: Everton 1-1 Newcastle
Draw at 5/2
Man City v QPR
Manchester City are 90 minutes away from their first Premier League title after Yaya Toure’s double secured victory at the expense of Newcastle. Roberto Mancini’s side haven’t conceded in over 270 minutes of play and know a sixth straight win on Sunday at home, where they haven’t lost all season, will clinch top spot.
QPR boosted their survival hopes thanks to Djibril Cisse’s late winner against Stoke moving Mark Hughes’ men two points clear of safety ahead of the final showdown. Victory was Rangers' fifth in succession at home but Rangers have lost the previous six away; shipping six at Chelsea last time on their travels.
City are proving they can handle the pressure and are unlikely to relinquish their grip on pole position at the final hurdle, leaving QPR relying on results elsewhere.
Verdict: Man City 2-0 QPR
Man City to win to nil at evens
Norwich v Aston Villa
Norwich picked up their first point in four outings after sharing a six-goal thriller with Arsenal thanks to Steve Morison’s late equaliser. The Canaries have struggled on their own patch in recent weeks, winning just one of their last six whilst leaking 11 goals in their previous three at Carrow Road.
Aston Villa guaranteed their top-flight status despite Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham extending their winless end to the season to nine games. Alex McLeish’s side have gone seven matches without victory on the road have won only once away in 2012, though four of the previous six have finished all square.
Norwich can be proud of their league finish but the same can hardly be said for Villa, who are likely to end their drab season in similar fashion now survival is assured.
Verdict: Norwich 3-1 Aston Villa
Norwich to win not to nil at 11/4
Stoke v Bolton
Stoke’s late defeat at QPR sees the Potters languishing in 14th spot after a barren run that has seen City win just once in their last ten outings. By stark contrast, Tony Pulis’ side haven’t lost at home since early February albeit three of their last four at the Britannia Stadium have ended level.
Bolton squandered a two-goal lead against West Brom to leave themselves two points adrift of safety. The Trotters will take heart from their recent away form, winning twice in their last four outings, though spirits won’t have been helped by news David Wheater faces nine months out after damaging knee ligaments.
Stoke are proving difficult to beat at home which doesn’t bode well for Bolton, who could rue blowing their big chance of escaping the drop last time out.
Verdict: Stoke 2-2 Bolton
Both teams to score at 8/11
Sunderland v Man Utd
Sunderland’s 2-1 defeat at Fulham stretched their winless end to the season to seven games, ending a run of three straight draws. Martin O’Neill’s side have lost just once in their previous ten at home despite failing to find the net in two of the last three at the Stadium of Light.
Manchester United are without Chris Smalling, who has been ruled out of Euro 2012 with a groin injury, for the trip to Wearside. Victory over Swansea leaves the Red Devils level on points at the top as the champions aim to halt back-to-back defeats on the road to keep alive their slim hopes of retaining the title.
United will be praying for the unlikely to happen in Manchester but the holders should at least keep up their end of the bargain here.
Verdict: Sunderland 1-2 Man Utd
Sunderland to score the last goal at 5/2
Swansea v Liverpool
Swansea’s impressive debut in the top flight has tailed off somewhat towards the climax after defeat at Manchester United means the Swans have won once in eight games. Brendan Rodgers’ men have rediscovered their goalscoring form on home soil, though, netting seven in their previous two at the Liberty Stadium.
Liverpool exacted small revenge on Chelsea for their FA Cup final defeat with a third league victory in five games during midweek. Maximum points mean the Reds have the opportunity to end an indifferent campaign above Merseyside rivals Everton despite just three wins in their last ten outings away from Anfield.
Swansea have performed far above expectations this term, unlike their visitors, and their forward-thinking attitude could expose Liverpool’s soft underbelly.
Verdict: Swansea 1-0 Liverpool
Swansea to win at 13/5
Tottenham v Fulham
Tottenham remain in pole position for fourth after extending their mini unbeaten run to three games with a point at Aston Villa thanks to Emmanuel Adebayor’s third goal in two games. With Benoit Assou-Ekotto out injured, Spurs are without a recognised left-back following Danny Rose’s dismissal at Villa Park.
Fulham are also missing key players, none more so than top goalscorer Clint Dempsey who misses the trip across town with a groin injury. The Cottagers still have seventh spot in their sights following Moussa Dembele’s winner earning a fifth victory in seven outings at the expense of Sunderland.
Fulham have come unstuck on five of their last seven trips to White Hart Lane and, without their talismanic American, could hand Spurs a slender advantage.
Verdict: Tottenham 2-1 Fulham
Tottenham to win 2-1 at 8/1
West Brom v Arsenal
West Brom rescued a point from 2-0 down at Bolton to maintain their four-game unbeaten run and hopes of finishing in the top half. Paul Scharner plays his final game in front of a Baggies defence that hasn’t leaked a single goal in their previous three home outings.
Arsenal’s top-four challenge hangs on a knife-edge after Robin van Persie’s sixth double of the campaign couldn’t prevent Norwich holding the Gunners to a third straight draw. Arsene Wenger’s side know victory will secure third but have won once in their last three on the road.
West Brom will be aiming to end Roy Hodgson’s tenure on a high and, with Arsenal suffering from the jitters, the Baggies might just get their wish.
Verdict: West Brom 3-2 Arsenal
West Brom to win at 9/2
Wigan v Wolves
Wigan secured safety after continuing their odds-defying end to the season with a sixth victory in eight games at the expense of Blackburn. David Jones is the Latics’ only doubt against his former club as Roberto Martinez’s side aim to record a fourth straight home win without conceding.
Wolves have improved slightly since relegation was confirmed, picking up a third draw in four games last time out against Everton. Their two wins on the road have both come at sides in the bottom four as Terry Connor’s men hope to end their Premier League stay by halting their 13-game winless run.
Wigan have achieved their goal once again, this time with a game to spare, and should celebrate by condemning sorry Wolves to one last defeat.
Verdict: Wigan 1-0 Wolves
Under 2.5 goals at 11/8
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- To be so firmly back in the focus of City fans through local media will only strengthen his position if he proves to be successful. — 3 hours 37 min ago