Charlie Nicholas has returned once again this season with his predictions on the last day of the Premier League. Who’s going down?
Leicester vs Manchester United, Sunday – 16:00, live on Sky Sports
If I’m honest in the way the league worked, it’s not my teams, but I have a lot of respect for the way this butt worked. I made Manchester United on Wednesday and thought they were horrible. Even with the speed and the forward movement, I thought that Paul Pogba was poor, Bruno Fernandes had his worst game and he seemed to be running in a vacuum.
Then I look at Leicester – and to be honest with them, they probably deserve the top four for what they’ve done this season – but obviously you don’t do it early in the season, you do it now. They seem elongated, very elongated. Everything is oriented to look at Jamie Vardy, James Maddison is missing. United have that pillow, so Leicester has to win, which doesn’t change much for Brendan Rodgers, but they will want to hold it tight for the first half hour and then see how the earth is doing.
Manchester United still know how to get a result from a game like this. I think it will be tense and dramatic, but I think they will get there, they will have a draw.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (11/2 with Sky Bet)
West Ham vs Aston Villa, Sunday – 4pm
The West Ham that ensures their survival against Manchester United changes things. I thought they were excellent. David Moyes doesn’t have the merit, because they have lost a couple of stupid games, but since then they have had great results. They showed great quality and character under Moyes since the reboot, I don’t remember them playing badly.
Jack Grealish was not exceptional for Aston Villa, he played his part but he was a real worker rather than a football genius. It was Trezeguet who dragged them here. When we all started again, I couldn’t see for my life how Villa would come out of it. I said that if they could get to West Ham and need a win to stay on their feet, it would be their way out – and that’s where we are.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (6/1 with Sky Bet)
Arsenal vs Watford, Sunday – 4pm, live on Sky Sports
Arsenal seemed rather empty of gasoline against Aston Villa, but there are some serious risks that Watford is taking in firing Nigel Pearson and throwing Hayden Mullins deep inside. Aside from the goalkeeper, Ben Foster, there is really no one in shape.
For Arsenal, the league’s emphasis is gone, it’s about being competitive for the English Cup final. I think Mikel Arteta will make a couple of changes, but they will want to end the season well. He’s doing a good job, he’s got a mess and he’s improving it. I think they will have an answer from Tuesday night – Arteta will tell the players that some are playing for their future, others for a place in the final formation of the FA Cup.
I think Watford is seriously in danger of going down, but I think Arsenal will win anyway.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 3-1 (12/1 with Sky Bet)
Everton vs Bournemouth, Sunday – 16:00, live on Sky Sports
Bournemouth needs incredible luck, they have to try – there is no other way around it. The Evertons are unpredictable, they can be a soft touch and then you watch them against Aston Villa and come alive with 10 minutes to go. You look and think, why do you have so many good players and it seems to detonate?
I think this will be a crack game because Bournemouth has to chase it. However, I don’t see them doing it, I think it’s too late for them and they will lose their goals.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 3-2 (18/1 with Sky Bet)
Burnley vs Brighton, Sunday – 4pm, live on Sky Sports
There is no give or take with Burnley. It has been a good return for them since the reboot and I think they will win here. Sean Dyche has had to include some guys in his teams, but I think as long as he has his 14 or 15 players in the first team in shape he is quite happy.
The concern for me with Brighton was that they played soccer rather from behind, but without the staff doing it. Graham Potter was faithful to his system and, to be honest with them, they did it. The late goal against Arsenal was a turning point, but work has been done to keep them on a little behind and they will be happy with the way they saw the relegation.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet)
Chelsea vs Wolves, Sunday – 4pm, live on Sky Sports
I doubt Chelsea will finish the job. The simple fact is that Chelsea are very good at moving forward, but oh my God – a back three doesn’t help them, and a back four doesn’t help them! It is quite astounding how poor they are on the defensive, especially from placed kicks.
Wolves are dangerous, they were my dark horse to enter the Champions League and they blew him up. It depends on them, but there is no doubt that there are good players there. I think Chelsea will have a draw, but they will have to sweat. The wolves are well trained on the back, but Chelsea forward, I think they will be able to score.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-2 (12/1 with Sky Bet)
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham, Sunday – 16:00, live on Sky Sports
I saw Crystal Palace against Chelsea and they didn’t do anything until Wilfried Zaha brought them back to the game 2-1, and then suddenly Zaha scored and raised the game. If you are a team with few chances, Zaha is not in good shape, Andros Townsend has fought and Christian Benteke has not scored, you will not create opportunities.
The spurs didn’t impress me at all, but what they did – and this has nothing to do with Jose Mourinho – are the results. They got a win over Arsenal and didn’t deserve it, a win over West Ham and I didn’t think they deserved it, they got a Newcastle win, and I didn’t think they deserved it. But congratulations to them, because they did it, and that’s how they put themselves in this good place to qualify for the Europa League.
I see nothing but another defeat for Palace.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-2 (13/2 with Sky Bet)
Man City vs Norwich, Sunday – 16:00, live on Sky Sports
Manchester City is Manchester City. They will never change the way they play, it will always be the same, the formula is there, but Pep Guardiola has cut and changed his team, but they have recovered Aymeric Laporte – and scoring goals – and Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne is also back .
I see this is painful to put off in Norwich. I see Manchester City being the exhibitionists this weekend.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 5-0 (17/2 with Sky Bet)
Newcastle vs Liverpool, Sunday – 4pm
Wednesday I saw Liverpool, Newcastle is probably better defensive than Chelsea! I think what we’re going to have this weekend from Liverpool is a lot of changes this weekend. I think the kids are probably celebrating well after raising the Premier League trophy, and I am convinced that Jurgen Klopp will give some children a game.
Newcastle had an excellent season and I liked the lack of tension for relegation, but there are too many injuries to rely on: here I can see an open football game.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-2 (16/1 with Sky Bet)
Southampton vs Sheffield United, Sunday – 16:00, live on Sky Sports
Some teams have done well since the restart, but Southampton has been right there. It was an extraordinary demonstration of teamwork, their defense and their goals too – Danny Ings was fantastic, but Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong are also worth mentioning. It was impressive.
On the other hand, Sheffield United had an opportunity for Europe and this is done and dusted now. They just pressed the empty button, I think. They got there and they understood, phwoar, this is a real graft. But it was a good season and if we lose Europe, we lose Europe.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-1 (7/1 with Sky Bet)
Super 6: who makes the playoffs? Who gets off?
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