Premier League fixtures and free bets: Sunday 10 May

It has been an entertaining Premier League season which has featured memorable matches such as Manchester United 8 Arsenal 2, Chelsea 3 Arsenal 5 and Manchester United 1 Manchester City 6

The latter result is highly significant as it appears that City will not only pip their rivals to the title, but will do so by virtue of a better goal difference.

All ten of Sunday’s games kick off at the same time, with the Sky Sports cameras being stationed at the Etihad Stadium and Stadium of Light where we will discover which Manchester team will be celebrating.

Manchester City v QPR 15:00 BST
City are going to end the season with an amazing home record, with Roberto Mancini’s side having taken 52 points from a possible 54 to ensure that they head United on goal difference coming into their match against Queens Park Rangers.

Only Sunderland have denied the Citizens three points at Eastlands, with the recent 3-3 draw coming as a massive shock and it took two late goals to rescue a draw for Manchester City. However, wins against West Brom and United have seen them back on track.

City are a best price 1/7 (William Hill free bets) to beat the Hoops and it will form the basis for many a weekend accumulator considering that any form of victory will see Vincent Kompany hold aloft the Premier League trophy in front of a packed house.

It is noticeable that the captain, Joleon Lescott and Joe Hart have been rock solid in recent weeks, conceding just one goal in their past five matches and none in their last three. Therefore, perhaps we should dabble at the even money about City winning to nil (Sky Bet bookmaker) even if Rangers are playing for their Premier League lives.

Mark Hughes was once a popular manager of Manchester City before being deposed for Roberto Mancini and the Welshman will urge his team to be compact in a bid to claim a point which will guarantee the club’s Premier League status.

The draw is priced at 17/2 (Bet Victor) and that result would pave the way for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team to potentially steal the title up at the Stadium of Light. A QPR win is priced at 20/1 although we should note that Rangers have been defeated in each of their last six away matches.

At Newcastle last Sunday, it was a case of cometh the hour, cometh the man. Yaya Toure is a man mountain of a player who can help settle any nerves in this match and he is a 13/2 chance to score first, with Sergio Aguero on offer at 11/4.

Sunderland v Manchester United
Martin O’Neill was recently offended when Roberto Mancini suggested that Manchester United had the easier run-in, with the Italian claiming that games against Swansea and Sunderland would be something of a walkover for the Red Devils.

While Mancini was clearly playing mind games (it is only now that the City manager admits his team are title favourites), his words stuck in the craw of O’Neill who will be looking for his Black Cats team to sign off in style, having been the only team to have denied the Premier League leaders three points at Eastlands.

Sunderland will finish comfortably in mid-table thanks to the northern Irishman replacing Steve Bruce midway through the season and supporters will forgive a recent winless run which now stretches to eight games. Especially if they can beat Manchester United on Sunday and odds of 7/1 (Bet Victor) are available about that happening.

That price would normally look quite big considering the Red Devils are prone to the odd wobble on the road, having recently lost 1-0 at Wigan, although the Black Cats’ opponents have the small matter of a Premier League title to scrap for.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s team will be well backed at 4/9 (Coral £30 free bets) and the Scot will be urging the visitors to do their job and hope that Mark Hughes can steer his QPR team to at least a point at the Etihad Stadium.

Wayne Rooney didn’t have much joy with his horses at Chester this week although the England man is a 10/3 chance to sign off in style with the first goal of this game, while Ashley Young is a 7/1 poke.

Chelsea v Blackburn 15:00 BST
Something of a dead rubber taking place at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Chelsea focused on the small matter of the Champions League final six days later where they will take on Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

Roberto Di Matteo rested several players for Tuesday’s match at Anfield and it showed as Liverpool cruised to a 4-1 win, although the Italian may choose to play his strongest team here so make sure key players don’t get rusty ahead of one of the biggest games in the club’s history.

You can only really imagine one result from this contest and odds of 1/3 (Paddy Power free bets) will be snapped up by Premier League punters looking to spruce up their weekend accumulators. However, it is worth noting that the Blues have lost their last two encounters and also that a recent 6-1 win over QPR is the only victory in their last five top flight matches.

Even so, Blackburn were relegated at Wigan on Monday and morale must be at an all-time low, with Steve Kean already starting to look at what kind of Rovers squad he will have next season ahead of a Championship promotion assault.

There won’t be too many visiting supporters making the trip south to see their team potentially thrashed although the Lancashire side have won at Old Trafford this term and can be backed at 19/2 (Bet Victor) to sign off in style – it might be some time before we see Rovers back at Stamford Bridge.

Di Matteo won’t have been happy about Chelsea’s defending against Liverpool despite Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry playing in central defence and there’s the small matter of the permanent manager’s job up for grabs.

Perhaps we will see Didier Drogba return to the starting line-up, with the Ivorian available at 10/3 (bet365 £200 free bets) to score the first goal and it could be the Chelsea striker’s last ever match in the Premier League if rumours about him moving to Shanghai are proved correct.

This is the sort of match which could result in a cricket score and a 6-0 thrashing from Chelsea can be backed at 80/1 (Paddy Power), while another 6-1 is on offer at the same price with the same bookmaker.

West Brom v Arsenal 15:00
Arsenal have won just 8 of their 18 matches on the road this season, although the bookmakers are not prepared to lay the Gunners at too big a price on Sunday afternoon considering that Arsene Wenger’s team need three points to be sure of a Champions League spot next term.

Wenger will be flabbergasted that Chelsea have a chance to prevent them from playing in Europe’s elite competition next term, although perhaps the Gunners are fortunate to be in this position considering they squandered a 3-2 lead to draw with Norwich last weekend.

The best odds about the visitors winning at The Hawthorns is 7/10 (Ladbrokes £50 free bet) although Arsenal come into this match with no victory in four games and the very real possibility that West Brom will be motivated to help Roy Hodgson sign off in style.

The 64-year-old takes charge of the Baggies for one final time before heading home and preparing for a summer in eastern Europe, where he will take charge of the England senior team. Indeed, Hodgson announced his Three Lions squad just three days after this match.

Albion are a 9/2 chance (Boylesports bookmaker) to treat their fans to a final win of the campaign, having put a serious dent in Bolton’s survival hopes last weekend when coming back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at the Reebok Stadium.

The one player they need to stop is Robin van Persie, who was crowned PFA Player of the Year during the week and the Dutchman is virtually certain to claim the Golden Boot this season thanks to finding the net on 30 occasions.

Last weekend, RVP managed a brace against Norwich City and the Gunners captain is a 10/3 chance (Coral bookmaker) to score first on this occasion, although whether that gives his team the win is another matter.

Defensively, the team were at sixes and sevens against the Canaries and perhaps the only way they are going to win this match is by outscoring West Brom, with a 3-2 win available at 25/1.

Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham 15:00 BST
Harry Redknapp’s blood pressure won’t be rising to untold levels this summer considering the Tottenham manager will be watching England from a BBC studio rather than a dug-out in Ukraine and Poland. However, he will hope to be jetting out with Champions League football on the horizon next season.

Spurs have had a memorable season, although collecting points during the second half of the campaign has been tougher than the first few months, which saw Tottenham emerge as potential title challengers.

Victory against Fulham would at least give them a fighting chance of dining at the top table of European football next season, with the north London side available at 2/5 (bet365 £200 free bets) to win this derby match against a team who are safely ensconced in 9th position.

Martin Jol is likely to receive a warm welcome on his return to White Hart Lane, with the Dutchman certainly keeping alive the tradition of attacking football during his time at Tottenham, even if Juande Ramos was to eventually replace him before the Spaniard failed to make the required impact.

The Cottagers have managed to get something from half of their away matches this term and can be backed at 8/1 (Boylesports bookmaker) to put a serious dent in Tottenham’s title hopes, with the team having won four of their last six matches.

Speculation has already started on whether Clint Dempsey will remain at the Cottage next term, with the American having scored an incredible 23 goals this term including a peach of a free-kick against Sunderland last weekend.

Dempsey has been one of the Premier League’s best players this season along with Gareth Bale whose future is also uncertain and the Welshman is a 6/1 chance to break the deadlock in this particular match.

Stoke City v Bolton Wanderers 15:00 BST
Stoke wouldn’t normally be 6/4 to beat Bolton at the Britannia Stadium, but then again, Stoke aren’t normally playing a team that need to win in order to stay in the Premier League.

Not that Owen Coyle’s side have played for the draw in many of their away games this season and the Trotters’ recent point at Sunderland was their first match on the road to end all square all season.

While the season will mainly be remembered for Fabrice Muamba’s recovery from a heart attack, it has been a disappointing campaign for a Wanderers side who threw away a two-goal lead against West Brom last weekend and could end up paying the penalty.

Coyle can be fairly confident that Queens Park Rangers will be beaten at Manchester City, although will his Bolton team beat a Stoke side that certainly won’t lie down in this match. The visitors are a 15/8 chance (bet365 £200 free bets) to claim a precious three points that could see them celebrating at the final whistle.

City have not made the Brit a fortress this season, having claimed just 7 wins from their 18 home games, although they have only lost four of these matches. Some might think that the 6/4 (Sky Bet) about the Potters is too good to turn down, especially if Stoke get an early goal which will see Bolton chasing the game.

Peter Crouch will be hoping to issue one final reminder to Roy Hodgson that he can perform a valuable job for England at Euro 2012 and odds of 6/1 (Paddy Power) about him scoring looks to be an attractive price.

Everton v Newcastle 15:00 BST
At the start of the season, if you had offered Alan Pardew the chance to play Europa League football next term, he would have snapped your hand off although there will be some disappointment if Newcastle miss out on a top four place this coming Sunday.

While the Magpies have been the surprise package in the Premier League this season,  they have come desperately close to a Champions League spot thanks to amassing 65 points from 37 games, a tally that seemed inconceivable when the season got under way.

Thousands of Geordies will descend on Merseyside this Sunday hoping to see their team claim a 9th away win of the season and the visitors look a decent bet at 23/10 (Bet Victor bookmaker) considering they have the attacking weaponry to land victory.

Papiss Cisse has adjusted to the Premier League in a seamless fashion since his move from Freiburg in January and the Senegal striker is an 11/2 chance (Paddy Power) to score first, although perhaps the law of averages suggests that Demba Ba will finally get back on the scoresheet.

Talking of January signings and Nikica Jelavic has been banging in the goals since his switch from Glasgow Rangers which has helped Everton enjoy a typically strong finish to the campaign, not to mention an FA Cup semi-final appearance.

Everton will be no pushovers at Goodison Park and can be backed at 5/4 (Boylesports) to win this final match of the season, something that will ensure the Toffees finish above Liverpool in the final reckoning.

Swansea City v Liverpool 15:00 BST
The Liberty Stadium will be packed for the final occasion this season, with the home supporters hoping to see Swansea City take four points from Liverpool this term, having previously managed a goalless draw at Anfield.

The Swans have treated their fans to some excellent performances this term, particularly when beating Manchester City and Arsenal at home, with Brendan Rodgers having assembled a squad of quality players in south Wales and he will be looking to strengthen further in the summer.

City are 12/5 (Ladbrokes bookmaker) to beat Liverpool and it’s an attractive price considering that the Welsh side have only lost four at home all season. The only downside is that the wins have dried up for Swansea in recent weeks and a 3-0 drubbing of Blackburn is their only victory in eight games.

Liverpool might well end the season with a flourish and there are lots of players in the team hoping to be playing a part at Euro 2012 this summer including Andy Carroll, who has gone from being a donkey to unplayable in the space of a few weeks.

The Reds are a 6/5 chance (Stan James free bets) to win this particular contest and they have won their past two Premier League away matches, having sunk Blackburn in the final minute before a comprehensive thrashing of Norwich City.

Carroll is a 6/1 chance (Sportingbet) to score the first goal and will surely play alongside Luis Suarez although Craig Bellamy will be keen to feature against a club from his homeland, especially with the supporters likely to give the Welshman a warm welcome!

Norwich City v Aston Villa 15:00 BST
In another season, 38 points from 37 matches might have meant Aston Villa needing to secure victory at Carrow Road on Sunday in order to stay in the Premier League although Alex McLeish’s side are effectively safe after last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Tottenham.

It has been a difficult season for the managers, players and supporters who have been treading water above the relegation zone for much of the campaign despite never really getting sucked into a dogfight.

It remains to be seen whether the man known as Big Eck will be in charge next term, with odds of 5/2 (Boylesports) available that the Villans enjoy a rare away win, the last of which took place at Molineux back in January.

Robbie Keane was the scorer of two goals on that day and the Irishman has been sorely missed since returning to LA Galaxy, although perhaps he will return to the Midlands club in the summer.

Norwich are six points better off than their opponents and Paul Lambert will be hoping for a repeat of his team’s attacking performance at the Emirates last weekend which saw them claim a deserved 3-3 draw.

This result ended a run of three defeats and the Canaries will look to make amends for their last home game which saw Liverpool claim a 3-0 victory.

All eyes will be on Grant Holt who could yet claim a place in England’s Euro 2012 squad and the former Shrewsbury Town striker is a 5/1 poke to score the first goal of this particular game.

City are available at 5/4 (Bet Victor) to claim all three points and that looks a fair price considering that Villa continue to be without a win for the last few months.

Wigan Athletic v Wolves 15:00 BST
This fixture would have had relegation six-pointer written all over it at the start of the season, although Wigan have performed their Great Escape so well that they are safe in the Premier League with a game remaining.

Monday’s win at Blackburn wasn’t pretty although Roberto Martinez declared the Latics staying in the top flight as a miracle and the home team will be well backed at 8/13 (Coral free bets) to claim victory at the DW Stadium.

Wolves continue to hunt for a permanent successor to Mick McCarthy, with Terry Connor having failed to get a win for the Wanderers supporters since the former left Molineux, although three of the team’s last four games have ended in a draw.

Odds of 3/1 are available that this encounter ends all square, while an away win can be backed at 5/1 (bet365), with the Wolves supporters hoping for an instant return to the Premier League next season.

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