So, it all comes down to this. Teams toeing the start line for the final sprint. Only 7 places set in stone. The other 13 up for grabs. Who’ll be the movers and shakers?
The map of the battleground lies before you sire, see the club-crested game pieces? Let’s push them around the table with those T-shaped sticks they use in Casinos (go with us on this) …
Now, the main action will centre around the coveted 4th position. But that gulch is overcrowded – only two of Man City, Liverpool and Arsenal will make it.
City have taken the higher ground, but they face a spirited Watford. The Hornets could buzz off to 17th, or climb to 11th depending on their performance here. Backing Watford at 15/2 might prove a worthwhile gamble.
Liverpool have the easiest route through the mountain pass, through Middlesbrough. With Sturridge back in gangly-robot-popping form, we’d advise backing Liverpool’s team goals to rise above 3.5 at 5/2.
And what of Arsenal? The Gunners haven’t missed the Champions League train for 19 long years. But Liverpool’s arch rivals could do them a favour this weekend. Evertonian Toffees are stuck like gooey caramel to 7th spot – and are sure to give Arsenal a rough ride. We’d plump for the draw here at 7/2.
Here’s a one-in-a-lifetime scenario – if Arsenal draw 1-1, and Liverpool lose 2-0, the league will see its first Champions League playoff game. Such is the inseparable nature of these two’s ‘goals scored’ and ‘goal difference’ stats. Fancy tempting fate? The Liverpool loss is currently at 15/1.
On to the wider scrimmage, spread across the great plains. From 8th to 17th, this land is in constant shift.
The tied-most volatile customers here are ex-Champions Leicester City. They could end the day anywhere between 8th and 15th. Coming up against mid-table neighbours Bournemouth is sure to be a fiery affair. The Cherries can shift 4 places themselves… we’d still back Leicester to finish with a flourish though – that result is at 5/6.
Who’s the other mercurial merchant you ask? Hope this doesn’t come as a Hammer blow, but West Ham could finish as low as 16th this season. Burnley stand in their way; whose footing isn’t exactly sure either. They aim to claim 11th in the scramble. We sniff a frantic point apiece here, at 12/5.
Crystal Palace will seek to put distance between them and the badlands, down south. They meet a preoccupied Manchester United, who will be resting their prime specimens for upcoming European exploits. Look for a Palace win here at 51/20.
After securing safety on the precarious precipice above relegation, Swansea may let their foot off the gas. This lets West Brom climb to heady 8th in their impressive season: away win here lands at a very reasonable 53/20.
We’ll let you decide Southampton/Stoke – our scouts haven’t sent back reliable intelligence yet (but there are rumours that the likely draw is at 14/5).
What remains, after the smoke clears the battlefield? Two victory laps: Chelsea and Tottenham are sure to massacre Sunderland and Hull respectably. Back Kane and Costa instead, as they settle a personal score in the quest for Golden Boot glory.
There you have it, my liege. Your overview of the final battle is complete. Make sure you let our stake-making squadrons know your choices, before the Summer arrives. That season works a bad-magician’s trick on this tabled gameboard of ours, you see. He whips the tablecloth out too slow – and all pieces must reset to starting positions.