I have being running a predictions league since the start of the season, and my team is in fourth place with one round of games to go. It would seem that will be as high as I finish, and the league looks destined to be won by Stephen Bradley, who has a 170 point lead. Only a complete collapse can prevent him from winning the league, but as an Arsenal fan, he knows it's still a slight possibility. Here's a look at how the predictions league table stands.
Aston Villa v Liverpool
Villa managed a very good win away to Arsenal last week to finally end any slim chances of relegation, and they can say farewell to their fans after this game, safe in the knowledge they will be in the Premier League next season. It has still been a poor season by their recent standards, and with the players they have they should have done a lot better. Their home form isn't too bad with only four defeats in 18 games before this one.
Liverpool had the chance to wrap up fifth place, and Europa League football for next season, but their defeat at home to Tottenham last week has left them with a touch task if that is to be achieved. They have done well to climb the table since the turn of the year, but 10 defeats away from home have cost them dearly. They look capable of challenging for the Champions League places next season, and I think they will do all they can to keep the pressure on Tottenham for fifth place.
I think Liverpool should be able to take advantage of a poor Villa defence, and get the win.
Bolton v Man City
Bolton managed an excellent win against Arsenal a few weeks ago, but they have lost all four matches they have played since then. Their home form has been very good this season, which is just as well for them, as they have lost away from home more often than all of the bottom three. If they can up their game like they did against Arsenal they are capable of getting a result.
City won the FA Cup last week, and they can clinch automatic Champions League qualification in this game, as long as they at least match Arsenal's result away to Fulham. It would be an excellent season for them if they were to do so, and with the players they have it should be well within their sights. Only Arsenal have won more away games than City this season, but they have also lost seven times on their travels.
I think Bolton might just about be able to get a draw, and make City sweat over third place.
Everton v Chelsea
Everton will finish seventh in the table, as long as they don't lose this game, and their home form has been pretty good this season. They have only three defeats at home, and they managed to come from behind to beat Man City in their last home game. If only they could play well in both halves of the season.
Chelsea will finish second unless they lose, and Man City manage to turn around 12 goals in goal difference. They started so well that they were seen as odds on to retain their title, but six defeats away from home is hardly the form of potential champions. They will be disappointed to lose their title to a United team which will finish on a maximum of 80 points.
I think Chelsea's troubles on their travels will continue, and Everton will manage a hard fought victory.
Fulham v Arsenal
Fulham were well beaten in their last home game, but prior to that they had a very good defensive record at home. A win could possibly see them finish seventh, but the chances are they will finish eighth. They will see this as a game they can win though, as their opponents have gone into free fall recently.
Arsenal promised so much, but yet again they failed to deliver. They have the best away record in the Premier League, and they have scored far more goals on their travels than any other team this season. They have to get a win in this game to have any chance of finishing third, and avoiding the qualifying round for next season's Champions League.
I think Arsenal will just about edge this game with Robin Van Persie supplying the goals they need, but only because I'm an Arsenal fan.
Man Utd v Blackpool
United are league champions because of their fantastic home form, and they will want to finish the season off with 18 wins out of 19 games at home. With a Champions League final to come next week they are bound to rest most of their first team, but the players who do play will be anxious to show what they can do. I can't imagine that they will want to be the ones to end their unbeaten run at home against a team which looks destined for relegation.
Blackpool were a revelation this season, and up until the turn of the year they looked likely to finish safely in mid table. Their form since then has not been as good, and their win against Bolton last week was their first one in ten games. If they win this game the chances are they will retain their Premier League status, but as away games go they don't get much tougher than a trip to Old Trafford.
I'm sure Blackpool will attack United, but that will probably be their undoing, and I think United will win by a couple of goals.
Newcastle v West Brom
Newcastle will be in the Premier League again next season, and after promotion from the Championship last season that was their main priority. They have only managed to win six of their eighteen home games so far, but they have managed 38 goals in the process. It would seem that when they win at home they win quite handsomely, and they will want to finish their season off in the same manner.
West Brom have gone from almost relegation certainties to eleventh in the table since Roy Hodgson took over. They can finish as high as ninth if they win this game, and it would be a great season for them if they did so. They have conceded a lot of goals on their travels, and they will do well not to conceded a few in this game.
I think Newcastle should win this game by a couple of goals to send their fans home happy for the summer.
Stoke v Wigan
Stoke lost the FA Cup final to Man City last week, and they were then beaten by them in the Premier League on Tuesday night. Depending on the result of this game they can move up or down a few places in the final table, but they are safe for another season. They also have Europa League football to look forward to next season, and it has to be seen as a good season for them. They have managed 10 home wins so far, and have to be favourites to make it 11.
Wigan have to win this game if they are to have a realistic chance of staying in the Premier League, and a draw will only be good enough if both Birmingham and Blackpool lose their games. They have only lost eight times on their travels, and they showed great spirit to come from two goals down to beat West Ham last week.They are not an easy team to beat, and their defensive record away from home is comparable to Arsenal's and Tottenham's.
I think Wigan will just about have enough to get a draw, and it might just be enough to salvage a place in the Premier League for next season.
Tottenham v Birmingham
Tottenham made themselves clear favourites for fifth place in the Premier League by winning away to the only other contenders, Liverpool, last week. A win in this game will guarantee that fifth spot, and Europa League qualification for next season too. Their home form has been their downfall in the league this season, as they have managed only eight wins in 18 games so far, but they should be fired up enough to be clear favourites here.
Birmingham have had a bad time in the league since they won the Carling Cup, and only a win will guarantee Premier League survival. They have only managed two away wins this season, and their chances against a Tottenham team who also need a win are very slim in my opinion. As it stands they are just ahead of Blackpool and Wigan on goal difference, and they could stay up even if they lose, but they have to go for a win to ensure survival.
I think Tottenham will have too much for Birmingham, and it means Birmingham will be playing European football from the Championship next season unless other results go their way.
West Ham v Sunderland
West Ham looked certain to be relegated before last week's trip to Wigan, but when they led 2-0 at half time they had a lifeline. However, in true West Ham style they went on to lose, and they are now consigned to the Championship for next season. They have nothing but their pride to play for in this game, and I'm sure their fans hope they will do just that.
Sunderland have been in free fall since they sold Darren Bent in the January transfer window, and their defence has crumbled as well. Luckily for them the season has ended just in time, or they would have been dragged into the relegation battle. They have only managed seven points in their last 13 games, and I think they will do well to get anything out of this game.
I think West Ham will wave goodbye to the Premier League with a win against a Sunderland team which has become a shambles.
Wolverhampton v Blackburn
Wolves looked almost dead and buried in their battle to stay in the Premier League, but back to back wins against West Brom and Sunderland have changed all that. If they win this game they cannot be relegated, and a draw might just do the trick unless two of the teams below them manage a win. The chances are they will stay up even if they lose, but I'm sure they will give everything they have to get that win.
It's no surprise to me that Stephen Hunt has started the last two games, and I think he is a player who makes things happen for them. If he hadn't been injured for so long I think they might have avoided the drop a few weeks ago. They will still be without Kevin Doyle, but the goals from Steven Fletcher have certainly compensated for his absence.
Blackburn are in the best position of the five teams battling to stay in the Premier League on the final day. Even if they lose they will only be relegated if all of the other teams win unless Wolves beat them by seven goals. I think they are as good as safe for another season, but I'm sure they will fight until the end to make certain of that safety.
I think Wolves will manage their third win in a row, and both teams will be in the Premier League next season.
That's it for this season, but I will be back next season, and my predictions league will also be running again. As soon as the details are available I'll post them, and hopefully there will be even more people playing. If I manage to get 100 teams there will be a trophy for the winner, as there was three trophies in my Fantasy League this season.
I will of course be running my Fantasy League again next season, and I'll be aiming for even more than the 782 teams which I had in it this season. With just one week to go the league is ranked 56th out of over 223,000 leagues, and I have to thank 11Gunners for all their help in recruiting teams for it.
That's it for today, but I will be back with my preview of Arsenal's trip to Fulham on Saturday.
See You Tomorrow.
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