Burnley and Bournemouth will both be happy with their lot as they finish the season at Turf Moor but will either side sign-off with a win? Steve Rawlings looks at the tricky tie here...
"In Burnley’s six home games since they lost 1-0 to Manchester United at the end of January, they’ve won twice, lost once, and drawn three times and given Bournemouth’s last 12 away games have yielded one win, five loses and six draws, the stalemate at an industry-wide best of 13/5 with the Sportsbook looks the sensible option in what is a very hard to predict, end of season dead rubber."
Burnley v Bournemouth
Sunday 9 May, 15:00
Clarets looking to close out in style
Irrespective of Sunday's result, having finished 18th in 2010, 19th in 2015 and 16th last year, Burnley are going to finish their fourth Premier League campaign in seventh place and they're going to be playing European football next season for the first time in 51 years. It's been an incredible campaign for the Clarets and they'll be keen to end it in style.
Burnley looked like they might finish even higher than seventh after they'd won five in-a-row between the beginning of March and the middle of April but they've lost their way a bit since they beat Leicester 2-1 on April 14. Defeat to Chelsea at Turf Moor was followed be a draw at Stoke, a goalless stalemate at home with Brighton and a 5-0 thumping at the Emirates, as Arsenal impressed in their final home game under Arsene Wegner.
Given how much they'd overachieved this season, it can't have been easy for the Clarets manager, Sean Dyche, to keep them focused over the last month or so and their form tailing off right at the end is something we probably shouldn't be surprised by.
Bumbling Bournemouth hard to fancy
Bournemouth's finish to the season has been even more uninspiring than Burnley's. The Cherries have won just two of their last 11 games since they beat relegated Stoke on February 3 and they were against the other two sides (barring a miracle) dropping through the trapdoor.
Bournemouth came from behind to beat a sorry West Brom side, with Alan Pardew still at the helm, at the Vitality Stadium back in March and then, after a run of six games without success, they beat a dire Swansea team at home last Saturday 1-0.
To avoid the drop sorry Swans need to turn around a goal difference deficit of nine with Southampton in the final game so in all probability, the Cherries' last three victories have come against the three teams on their way back to the Championship.
Draw the sensible option in season-ending dead-rubber
In 14 previous trips to Burnley, Bournemouth are yet to win. They've drawn six and lost eight and they've won just one of their last 12 away league games (3-0 at Chelsea in January). They've drawn six and lost five. Even though the Clarets are finishing their terrific season tamely, given Bournemouth's overall form and their record at Turf Moor, it's hard to imagine their sorry streak coming to an end on Sunday and they make no appeal at all at around the [3.7] mark.
Burnley fans would like to think their tremendous season can end in style against a stuttering Bournemouth side and a home wins is the most likely outcome but given they've picked up more points away from Turf Moor than they have at home this season, and that they've scored just twice in the last four games, taking just a shade of odds-against about the Clarets makes no appeal and the draw must be the value in the outright market.
In Burnley's six home games since they lost 1-0 to Manchester United at the end of January, they've won twice, lost once, and drawn three times and given Bournemouth's last 12 away games have yielded one win, five loses and six draws, the stalemate at an industry-wide best of 13/5 with the Sportsbook looks the sensible option in what is a very hard to predict, end-of-season dead rubber.
Stats suggest goals but Turf Moor yields few
Burnley have nothing to gain or lose and Bournemouth are in much the same boat. The Cherries can move up a few spots with a victory and I'm sure Eddie Howe would be delighted to finish inside the top-ten again (ninth last season) but the bottom line is that the result of the game is largely irrelevant.
Predicting the outcome is tough and predicting the score is even harder. Given the home side has enjoyed such a great season and that the away team are celebrating Premier League survival for the third year in-a-row, exactly ten years after they were relegated to division two, we should perhaps expect a relaxed, free-flowing game with plenty of goals.
This will be the fourth Premier League encounter between the two and the previous three have produced goals for both sides. Burnley won this fixture 3-2 last season and in the penultimate round of matches last season, Bournemouth won 2-1 at home, with late goals for both teams. Sam Vokes equalised Junior Stanislas' 25th minute lead in the 83rd minute before Josh King pinched all three points two minutes later. And in the reverse fixture in November, Burnley doubled their 1-0 HT lead before King grabbed what transpired to be a consolation in the 79th minute.
The relaxed spirit in which this game should be played, together with the past Premier League results between the two sides, would suggest backing Yes in the Both Teams to Score market and Over in the Over/Under 2 ½ Goals market makes sense but I'm not convinced.
There have been just 30 goals scored at Turf Moor in the Premier League this season (15 for Burnley and 15 against). That's the fewest of any ground this season and both Burnley and Bournemouth have found the net just twice in their last four games.
There were four yellows issued when these two sides first met in the Premier League but just one in each of their last two encounters and with Paul Tierney in charge on Sunday, who's one of the more restrained refs on the rota, we might witness a well-spirited game with few interruptions from the man in the middle.
Tierney has refereed 31 games in total this season and he's yet to show a red card. He's issued 81 yellows - an average of 2.6 per game - but in the 15 Premier League matches he's officiated over he's issued just 38, so his Premier League average is only 2.53 yellow cards per game.
Staked: 41.5 pts
Returned: 52.34 pts
P/L: +10.84 pts