The Premier League has reached it's final day in the 20/21 season, and Sporting Life's Jake Osgathorpe uses Infogol's expected goals (xG) model one more time to predict the likely winners and scorelines of each match in GW38...
"Spurs offer a strong attacking threat when they feel like it, with inconsistency being a huge issue, as is their away process, which is negative (1.41 xGF, 1.62 xGA per game). Leicester are the better of the two teams, and are taken to win here (47%)."
Brighton to end Gunners Conference League hopes
Arsenal v Brighton
Arsenal are finishing the season with a flourish, with victory over Crystal Palace in midweek their fourth straight in the league, a run that has moved them to within a point of 7th placed Spurs. There have been a mix bag of performances in that four match winning run, having lost the xG battle in two of those.
Brighton claimed the scalp of Manchester City in midweek, with a deserved 3-2 win again showcasing their excellent defensive process. Only City and Chelsea have a better xGA per game than Brighton (1.09) this season.
While Arsenal NEED to win, Brighton will be competitive here and are arguably the better of the two sides - well xG argues that - so the model thinks they can get at least a point (60% BHA or Draw) in a low-scoring game (57% U2.5) - 1-1.
Chelsea to secure top four
Aston Villa v Chelsea
Aston Villa were very happy to see Jack Grealish return to the starting line-up in midweek, where they rightly beat Tottenham 2-1. Dean Smith's side had been hit and miss without their talisman, but with him in the team, they were performing like a top six team, especially in attack (1.83 xGF per game).
This is a dangerous game for a Chelsea team needing to equal Leicester's result to secure Champions League qualification, but their performance in the league against the Foxes in midweek was a real statement of intent. The Blues dominated from the first whistle, winning the xG battle comprehensively (xG: CHE 3.08 - 0.98 LEI).
Defensively they continue to be incredibly robust, allowing over 1.0 xGA in just two of Tuchel's 18 League games in charge. In what is a crucial game, expect Chelsea to be on it from minute one, and the Blues are taken to win (58%) in typically Tuchel style - 0-2.
Fulham to end on a draw
Fulham v Newcastle
Fulham picked up a deserved point at Old Trafford in midweek, but the draw extended their winless run to nine. Scott Parker's side have had real issues creating chances in that time, with only Sheffield United averaging fewer xGF per game than Fulham (0.95).
Newcastle have stormed to safety over the last eight games, picking up 14 points in that time. Their attacking numbers in that time have been sensational, averaging 2.15 xGF per game.
Fulham's home form has been abysmal this term, but they can end with a point here in a surprisingly low-scoring game - 1-1.
Leeds to extend winning run
Sheffield United v Brighton
Leeds made it three straight wins by beating Southampton in medweek, a third deserved success and a third game in which they created more than 2.0 xGF. Marcelo Bielsa's side have been excellent this term, and their process at home has been solid (1.75 xGF, 1.34 xGA per game).
West Brom lost for the fourth time in six games, and will lose head coach Sam Allardyce at the end of the campaign. They have been poor all season long, especially away from home, where they have averaged 0.97 xGF and 1.91 xGA per game.
A raucous Leeds crowd will be in Elland Road to cheer on their team and celebrate their success, and they will likely witness a home win (61%) and plenty of goals (64% O2.5) - 3-1.
Foxes to do their bit
Leicester v Tottenham
Leicester are on the verge of missing out on Champions League football yet again, with defeat at Chelsea coupled with Liverpool's win meaning they are on the outside looking in. The FA Cup winners welcome fans back to the King Power for this one, and they will need a boost, as their home xG process has been average this term (1.67 xGF, 1.41 xGA per game).
Tottenham's defeat to Aston Villa on Wednesday means they need to win here and hope West Ham lose if they are to finish in the top six, and they could even miss out on the Europa Conference League (7th place) depending on results - though many may argue that would be a good thing.
Spurs offer a strong attacking threat when they feel like it, with inconsistency being a huge issue, as is their away process, which is negative (1.41 xGF, 1.62 xGA per game). Leicester are the better of the two teams, and are taken to win here (47%) in a high-scoring contest (57% O2.5) - 2-1.
Reds to clinch UCL spot
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
It has been an impressive few weeks for Liverpool, who have won four straight in the league, creating plenty of chances and scoring 11 goals. They have in fact generated over 2.0 xGF in all of their last five, so their attack has clicked into gear just at the right time, which has taken the pressure of their makeshift backline.
Crystal Palace are in town to try and spoil the party, with Roy Hodgson taking over his final game as Eagles boss at the home of one of the clubs he managed. They were impressive against Aston Villa last weekend, but tame in midweek against Arsenal.
On the road, while they do offer a counter-attacking threat, Palace have been extremely vulnerable defensively (1.86 xGA per game) and the Reds should win this comfortably (75%) - 3-0.
Champions to end Everton's European chances
Manchester City v Everton
Since clinching the Premier League title Manchester City have rotated their squad in preparation for next weeks Champions League Final, and that is likely again here. They can still call upon quality, and will have enough of an attacking threat to hurt Everton ahead of their trophy lift in front of fans.
The Toffees picked up a rare home win on Wednesday when beating Wolves 1-0, and that was the fifth game in six that featured one goal or fewer. They realistically need to avoid defeat at least to finish seventh and qualify for the Europa Conference League, but while their away results have been strong, their xG process on the road hasn't (1.26 xGF, 1.38 xGA per game).
Though they have nothing to play for, City are likely to prove too good for Everton and get the win (71%). With Everton likely needing a result, the game could open up, so goals are fancied (59% O2.5) - 3-1.
Blades to end season with a defeat
Sheffield United v Burnley
Sheffield United are definitely going to finish bottom of the Premier League, but have won more matches than Fulham and West Brom this term. They have unsurprisingly been poor all season long, with a porous defence the main issue, allowing 1.85 xGA per game.
Burnley survived the drop once again with relative ease, and while they have closed the season out winless in their last nine home games, the Clarets have won three of their last five on the road. Since early March (11 games), we have seen Burnley become a strong attacking side, averaging 1.60 xGF per game.
The Clarets created plenty against Liverpool in midweek, so should have issues doing so again at Bramall Lane, where they can get three points (46%) - 0-1.
Hammers to secure top six berth
West Ham v Southampton
West Ham's win over West Brom in midweek, coupled with Tottenham's defeat, means only a point is needed for them to secure 6th place and Europa League football. The Hammers have been back to their attacking best in recent matches, racking up 1.99 xG against Brighton and 3.48 v West Brom. Continue creating those levels of chances here and they should get the point they require.
After successive victories, Southampton were well beaten by Leeds on Wednesday, and they now hit the road where they have been especially frail defensively, allowing 1.84 xGA per game.
If West Ham continue to do what they have been doing, they should possess to much attacking firepower for the Saints, and register a win infront of their fans (57%), and qualify for Europe - 2-1.
Fringe United side to draw at Molineux
Wolves v Manchester United
Compared to recent seasons, 20/21 has been one to forget for Wolves. Raul Jimenez's injury rocked their season, and they are set for their first bottom half finish since returning to the Premier League. They have been a much better home team than road team this term though, with their process at Molineux solid (1.36 xGF, 1.20 xGA per game).
Manchester United are guaranteed to finish second in the league, and with a Europa League Final on the upcoming Wednesday, will likely rest key players. Their unbeaten away run is on the line though, which currently stands at 25,so expect a strong-ish side in an attempt to preserve that.
They are winless in their last three, all of which have come at home, but their defensive process away from home (1.18 xGA per game) suggests that they can keep this tight and get a draw in a low-scoring game - 1-1.
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