A Swan-Dive Looking Likely
The teams at the foot of the Premier League table may only have 5 or 6 games left to play but, mathematically, much could change if one or two of the teams can string 3 or 4 wins together. Middlesbrough, Swansea and Hull City look the most likely candidates to go down alongside Sunderland, but this weekend looks a decent opportunity for all 3 teams to try and take a grip of their own destiny. We’ve tips for Bournemouth vs Middlesbrough, Hull vs Watford, and Swansea vs Stoke.
Bournemouth vs Middlesbrough (Saturday 3.00)
11-Points separate 16th-placed Bournemouth and 19th-placed Middlesbrough and, though Middlesbrough have a game in hand, they really need to win this if they’re going to have a chance of making that extra-game count. The trouble for Middlesbrough is their current way form, with two 0-0 draws giving them their only points from their last 6 away games, including defeats by fellow strugglers Crystal Palace, Hull and Swansea. Meanwhile, if Bournemouth’s confidence hasn’t been knocked too much by consecutive defeats by Chelsea and Tottenham, they should take plenty of confidence from a decent-run before those defeats, which saw them win home games against Swansea and West Ham, and take a point on each of their travels to Manchester United, Liverpool and Southampton. Despite beating Bournemouth at home 2-0 earlier in the season, Middlesbrough’s poor record of scoring away-from-home could again be their downfall, and the percentage call is to back Bournemouth, despite them being a shade of odds-on.
Bournemouth @ 20/23 (Boylesports)
Hull vs Watford (Saturday 3.00)
Watford won the reverse fixture 1-0 earlier in the season however, with both Hull and Watford having far superior home records compared to their away records, it’s no surprise that Hull are slight odds-on favourites. Indeed, as they have won 5 and drawn 1 of their last 6 Premier League home games, they should arguably be a lot shorter, especially as Watford have lost their last 3 Premier League away games. 3-points for Hull would also give them a chance to pull further clear of the bottom-3, whilst Watford have little to play for in tenth spot.
Hull @ 19/20 (Bet365, Betfair Sportsbook)
Swansea vs Stoke (Saturday 3.00)
Swansea have blown some decent chances to close the gap on the teams just above them in recent weeks, with losses games against West Ham, Bournemouth and Hull, whilst a home-draw against Middlesbrough was another wasted chance as they failed to distance themselves further from the team directly below them. However, they now host a Stoke side who have taken just 1-point from their last 5 away games. Stoke look safe, so may also be lacking a little motivation, but they’ve also only lost 1 of their last 7 games against Swansea, and that was after a sending-off changed the complexion of the match. Therefore, with 3 of the last 7 games between them being draws, I’ll take a chance on the draw at 23/10.
Draw @ 23/10 (Various Bookies)