Bournemouth vs Fulham: Bournemouth (-1) – 13/8
In the pantheon of sh*te Saturday 3pm kick-offs, this weekend’s collection might just be the worst of the lot. The four 3pm ties consist largely of teams with nothing to play for, and no game matters less than this one.
Fulham’s relegation earlier this month has them playing for pride for the remainder of the season, while their win over Everton last weekend has virtually staved off the embarrassment of finishing last. The Cottagers are basically cemented in 19th place, in what is a grim end to their one-year stay in the top flight.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, are in a battle to finish top of the bottom half in possibly the least significant climax to a season of all time.
However, they proved last week that they are not yet on their summer holidays with a 5-0 drubbing of Brighton and could bag another big win on Saturday if they’re up for it.
Fulham have undoubtedly the worst away record in the league. In fact, they are on course to record the worst away record in Premier League history. Their return of two points from 17 away games is one point worse than the record set by the mighty Derby team of 2007/08.
They have conceded 44 goals in those 17 games, at a rate of nearly three goals a game and have kept a solitary clean sheet away from home this season. That clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with Newcastle along with a 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield, are the only occasions when Fulham have managed to concede less than two goals on their travels.
A Bournemouth team with their tails up should have no problem dismantling the most brittle defence in the league and Derby’s ignominious record could come under even more serious threat.
Wolves vs Brighton: Wolves to win – 4/6
Brighton are in free fall. Consecutive home defeats to Bournemouth and Cardiff have dragged them deep into relegation trouble and they need to arrest that fall quickly if they are to extend their stay in the Premier League.
In the only 3pm game of any real meaning, they come up against a Wolves side with a great chance of securing European football next season.
Nuno Espírito Santo’s men have been a bit shaky away from Molineux of late, but have been formidable at home all season. Their last defeat of any kind at homer came at the hands of Crystal Palace on January 2 and they have been infallible there ever since.
Wins over Man United and Liverpool in the cup, along with a second victory over United in the league, have been the recent highlights for Wolves. However, their wins over West Ham and Leicester have been equally impressive.
Coming up against a Seagulls team short on confidence, Wolves should extend that impressive home record on Saturday and cast Brighton deeper into the mire in the process.
West Ham vs Leicester: Leicester to win – 5/4
By far the best game on paper, Leicester will look to maintain their European push with a victory at West Ham.
Defeat at home to Newcastle broke a sequence of four consecutive wins for the Foxes and they will need to rectify that at injury-hit West Ham if they are to retain seventh place for another week.
West Ham have now lost three games on the spin and there is a sense that their season is beginning to come to an uneventful conclusion. They were the better team at Old Trafford last weekend and were unfortunate not to come away with anything, but they certainly were not the better side in the defeats to Everton and Chelsea.
Their three-game losing streak was preceded by a last gasp 4-3 win over Huddersfield, of all teams, and it further highlights West Ham’s recent mediocrity.
Missing a number of key players, it is hard to see the Hammers coming away with anything on Saturday again.
* All odds correct at time of posting.