Newcastle v West Ham
Sunday 16:00, Sky Sports 1.
Match Odds: Newcastle 1.824/5, West Ham 4.77/2, The Draw 4.1.
To ensure survival, Newcastle simply require a victory over a West Ham side which has absolutely nothing to play for, a side which has won just two of its last 15 Premier League matches. Yet Newcastle's form under John Carver is even worse, and therefore there are no guarantees heading into this nervous final day.
There's also the added drama of Sam Allardyce returning to the club where he was unceremoniously sacked in 2008. He would love to get one over on Newcastle here - he owns a holiday home in Spain he sarcastically named St James' Park, a recognition that it was bought with the money he received in compensation from Newcastle. The Premier League's ultimate pantomime villain would love the last laugh, in probably his last game in charge of West Ham.
Carver seems unlikely to make significant changes from the side which was surprisingly defeated at QPR last week. While Newcastle collapsed in the second half, there were some promising moments before half-time, with wingers Remy Cabella and Ayoze Perez showing some bright moments on the flanks, and Emmanuel Riviere getting his first goal for the club - albeit in somewhat fortunate circumstances.
The major problem is at the back, however. Fabricio Coloccini's return from suspension has been unable to stabilise the Newcastle backline, and they still seem likely to allow the opposition chances despite Jack Colback and Ryan Taylor being given strict instructions to protect them keenly in front of the defence.
Jonas Gutierrez's work rate cannot be faulted and his dribbling can turn defence into attack swiftly, but he's not a great full-back defensively, while Daryl Janmaat had a couple of nervous moments at Loftus Road last weekend. It's difficult to see Newcastle keeping a clean sheet.
Allardyce's side is unlikely to contain many surprises, though he'll probably try and fit Kevin Nolan - who played under Allardyce at St James' Park - back into the side after missing last weekend's defeat to Everton for family reasons. Carlton Cole could be the man to drop out.
West Ham's most dangerous attacker will probably be Stewart Downing, who has enjoyed a good campaign. He's often given freedom to drift across the pitch, finding pockets of space from where he can send good crosses into the box. Enner Valencia will probably be the target, with Nolan likely to stereotypically arrive late and get on the end of the knock-downs.
West Ham might be capable of controlling the game in midfield, too. Mark Noble and Alex Song boast more midfield guile than Newcastle can dream of, and they'll look to play passes out to Carl Jenkinson and Aaron Cresswell, the full-backs who have both enjoyed good campaigns. They, like Downing, will look to supply crosses into the box.
Set-pieces should be important here, too. Newcastle have defended these poorly in recent weeks, particularly wide free-kicks when they can't seem to get their defensive line right. Valencia and Winston Reid would be the most obvious candidates to profit from this weakness.
Lastly, it's worth remembering that a draw is no good to Newcastle here. They start two points ahead of Hull City, and therefore Steve Bruce's side require a victory to overhaul the Magpies.
However, with Hull's goal difference better than Newcastle's, if Hull get three points, Newcastle will need more than one. Since a draw is worthless to them, it would be somehow fitting if Newcastle draw here.
The home side clearly have more motivation than West Ham to win here, but I find it staggering that Newcastle, who have lost nine and drawn one of their last ten matches, are as a short as 1.824/5. To me, that's an obvious lay.
Lay Newcastle at 1.824/5