After a run of four successive defeats that threatened to end their three-year spell in the Premier League, Burnley have steadied the ship once again. Wins against Bournemouth and Wolves in their last two games have moved the Clarets five points clear of the relegation zone and they can effectively seal their safety with a win over 18th placed Cardiff on Saturday.
Cardiff, on the other hand, are in major trouble.
Games against Chelsea and City have come at the worst possible time as their relegation rivals have all amassed points at a time when the Bluebirds have picked up none.
Victory at Turf Moor is imperative to their slim hopes of Premier League survival, but they have only taken eight points all season. Nothing suggests that they will make that 11, or even nine, on Saturday.
We have been absolutely starved of relegation battles on the final day of the season of late, and it has been years since we’ve seen the obligatory images of a fan crying as their team suffers relegation to the Championship at the last hurdle. We might have to wait a bit longer if Saturday pans out as expected.
Pick: Burnley to win @ 5/6
Fulham’s relegation last week was a long time coming. Defeat against Watford was their ninth on the spin, and their 13th consecutive Premier League game without a clean sheet. Their relegation has arguably been more pathetic than Huddersfield’s, considering they spent nearly £100 million in the summer and already had a decent squad to begin with.
Now, 11 months and three managers since their promotion to the top tier of English football, the Cottagers face an uncertain summer with many top players surely looking for a move away.
One thing that is certain, however, is that there will be goals at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Fulham have by far and away the worst defensive record in the league and only need to concede 14 more to beat Derby’s ignominious record of 89 goals conceded in a 38-game season set back in 2008.
One home clean sheet all season simply isn’t good enough, and against a resurgent Everton they are bound to concede more.
Everton have been excellent in their last three league outings and were thoroughly deserving winners against Chelsea, West Ham and Arsenal. Their upturn in form means they have an excellent chance of finishing seventh and securing European football and they should encounter little problems against the meagre challenge Fulham will provide.
Brighton probably need one more win to preserve their Premier League status and such is the difficult nature of their run in that they could probably do with getting that win on Saturday. The Seagulls have Man City, Arsenal and Tottenham to play in their last five games, along with a difficult trip to Molineux.
However, a Bournemouth team with absolutely nothing to play for is about the most ideal opponent you could hope to play against. The Cherries have no fears of being drawn into the relegation mix and have no hope of challenging for a European place (or the top half for that matter).
They have looked slack since returning from the international break, but in truth looked slack well before it. They have won just one of their last nine league games and that came against Huddersfield so does it really count?
A Brighton win would all but secure their Premier League safety and they should do it against a Bournemouth team already on holidays.
Pick: Brighton to win @ 5/4
Odds correct at time of posting.