Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Steven Beacom's Premier League predictions

The Premiership title may have been decided but going into the final day of the campaign, issues at the bottom of the table need to be resolved.

Sports Editor Steven Beacom gives his verdict on all the top flight games with Paddy Power, as per usual, supplying all the odds. All games kick-off on Sunday at 4pm — incidentally the only time this season that all TEN in the top flight start at the same time.

ARSENAL v STOKE

Unless Manchester United win the Champions League to go along with the Premier League and Carling Cup, my team of the season will be Stoke City. Tony Pulis and his players have done superbly. They enter their last game in 11th position and if results go well, the men from the Potteries could end up in top ten. Amazing, truly amazing. Not bad for a team who most critics stated only had a long throw in their locker. They have shown they have much, much more, notably heart. If Arsenal had some they would not have endured another disappointing campaign.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Arsenal to win 1-3 Stoke to win 8-1 Draw 4-1

BLACKBURN v WEST BROM

West Brom play good football. They have been relegated. Sam Allardyce’s teams don’t play good football yet Blackburn are staying up. Hopefully Tony Mowbray’s side will be back with the big boys soon.

Beacom Prediction: 2-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: Blackburn 3-4 WBA 15-4 Draw 5/2

FULHAM v EVERTON

If Fulham win they qualify for the Europa League. Don’t do it, boys, It will ruin you for next season. As for Everton, I imagine they’ll be thinking about the FA Cup final next weekend, though the Toffees are still good enough to grab a draw.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Fulham 11-10 Everton 5-2 Draw 23-10

LIVERPOOL v SPURS

So near yet so far for Liverpool. Ultimately all those draws at home against sides they should have been hammering cost them the title. This will forever be known as the if only season at Anfield, chiefly if only Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres had played more games together. Still, they have shown they have what it takes to challenge for a title. Next season they have to win it. It will be interesting to see the reception given to Robbie Keane on his return with Spurs after he flopped with the Reds. Safe to say it won’t be as warm as that for the great Sami Hyypia playing his final game in front of the Kop before moving to Bayer Leverkusen.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Liverpool 8-15 Spurs 11-2 Draw 14-5

MAN CITY v BOLTON

City are keeping Mark Hughes then. Well, until they have a few dodgy results in August anyway.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: City 8-11 Bolton 4-1 Draw 5-2

WIGAN v PORTSMOUTH

Who cares?

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Wigan 6-5 Pompey 23-10 Draw 23-10

WEST HAM v MIDDLESBROUGH

And finally to the games that really matter. Then again, this one doesn’t really because unless there is a miracle at Upton Park and at different grounds around the country, Boro will be playing Championship football next season. Ironically I reckon they might win on Sunday. Too little, too late.

Beacom Prediction; 1-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: West Ham 11-8 Boro 9-5 Draw 5-2

SUNDERLAND v CHELSEA

Now we are getting serious. Sunderland had a glorious chance to secure their Premiership future against Portsmouth on Monday but blew it big style.

Their defending was desperate and their wastefulness in front of goal was dire. Chelsea may have the FA Cup final next weekend, but even allowing for that and a passionate Stadium of Light crowd, Guus Hiddink’s men will still have too much for the Black Cats, who will have to rely on results elsewhere to keep them up.

Beacom Prediction: 1-3

PADDY POWER ODDS: Sunderland 13-5 Chelsea Evens Draw 5-2

HULL v MAN UNITED

Sir Alex Ferguson won’t field his strongest team with the Champions League decider just days away. Why should he? His team won the title and he can do what he likes in terms of team selection. It may be a second string line-up, but it will still be stronger than Hull City’s first eleven. I’ve enjoyed Hull City and the way they have gone about things this season, but I fear they will lose this match and be hoping for a home win at Villa Park.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: Hull 9-5 United 11-8 Draw 5-2

ASTON VILLA v NEWCASTLE

If the above turns out to be correct, Newcastle will need a point to stay up. They play a Villa team still in with a chance of fifth and keen to finish a disappointing second half of the season on a high.

But that Villa team are also short on confidence. So, it will be up to Alan Shearer’s side, not exactly full of self belief, to take advantage of that. It’s do or die now for the Magpies. In a season of twists and turns, I’m backing them to come up with a late equaliser to stay up, but if they go down, don’t feel sorry for them.

The Geordies will do enough of that themselves.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Villa 11-8 Newcastle 9-5 Draw 5-2

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