Premier League preview – The final weekend

Ten gruelling months of preparation, plenty of managerial changes, controversy and more.

Today marks the exciting (sort-off) end of the 2016/17 Premier League campaign, with all 20 teams in action and only a few places up for grabs at both ends of the table. Even Hull v Tottenham betting is exciting if you have something at stake with 888sport.

With that being said, we’ve already got new champions in Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side whilst Sunderland and the newly-promoted duo of Middlesbrough and Hull City will all be playing their football in the Championship next term.

This is where it gets interesting, though. Middlesbrough could potentially decide which side earns a qualification place into next season’s UEFA Champions League and who will start their campaign in the Europa League group stages.

The way the table looks at present, Manchester City and Liverpool are likely to be among Europe’s elite next season. If Arsenal beat Everton at home and manage to better Liverpool’s result against already-relegated Middlesbrough, they will snatch a top-four place once more.

If not though, it’ll be the first time in two decades that they haven’t qualified for the Champions League, which might not be such a bad thing given the new rules on coefficient and pot group organisations.

Southampton can ward off the likes of West Brom and AFC Bournemouth to secure a fourth successive top-eight finish since their return in 2012, as they face a Stoke City side that have only won once since the start of March, a 3-1 win over Hull.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has already called a plethora of youth prospects into his first-team to face Crystal Palace, mainly with one eye fixated on their Europa League final encounter with Ajax.

Tottenham will be keen to finish the season emphatically, having already thumped Leicester 6-1 during the week. They face a frustrated Hull side that have only beaten them once in their last eleven meetings, so it’s likely they’ll pick up another routine win on this occasion.

Pep Guardiola’s had a tough first season in the Premier League, his first without silverware since becoming a manager. Ahead of a reported summer overhaul, he’ll be hoping his side clinch third place with an away trip to the Hornets as Watford play their final league game under Walter Mazzarri.

West Ham’s campaign has been far from expectations when they arrived at the Olympic Stadium last summer and it’s clear that they need to rebuild their squad following Dimitri Payet’s acrimonious exit in January. Manuel Lanzini will be eager to add to his eight League goals at Turf Moor, against a rigid Burnley outfit who are notoriously hard to beat at home.

Leicester were in a possible relegation battle a few months ago and given their handling over Claudio Ranieri’s dismissal, many wanted them to drop down into the second tier. Having won the League last year, it was an even worse capitulation than previous defending champions Chelsea, reiterating just how they managed to overperform and were fortunate with a limited number of injuries.

They’ve only won two in nine since Craig Shakespeare’s revival and host Eddie Howe’s side, one who are keen to finish a decent campaign with an away victory and completing the Double over the Foxes in the process.

This weekend’s fixtures are not the most glamorous, but there are sure to be plenty of goals and potential late drama as teams jostle for positions.

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