What do you get when you cross the Premier League’s biggest overachievers with the division’s most spineless outfit? Well, a final day Everton v Bournemouth standoff.
The likelihood of Bournemouth facing the drop has increased week on week, but for some reason, it’s never quite hit home with the Cherries players, nor their manager Eddie Howe, who presumably will be passing the ball in triangles all the way to the Championship.
And while finally Bournemouth are faced with what is a literal must-win tie, I feel like it’s too little, too late for them.
Our football tips for the final day in the Premier League:
- Man Utd to get the job done in Champions League battle at Leicester
- Chelsea to be left feeling blue as Wolves head to Stamford Bridge
- Can Villa get the job done at West Ham?
- Arsenal to seal Watford’s doom at the Emirates
What I mean is – you can’t just go from zero to one hundred simply due to the match having a defined purpose.
They’re mentally weak and it doesn’t seem like that’s changing this weekend.
Their one saving grace is that they play Everton, who, with the squad they have, should be far closer to the likes of Wolves and Sheffield United than Newcastle and Southampton.
Possessing two genuinely world-class players in Lucas Digne and Richarlison, it seemed like getting in a proven winner would do the trick to manage them.
Here are your three best bets for the final day showdown.
I was humming and hawing about this, but eventually I’ve settled on the most likely result being an Everton win. We know both of these teams can click going forward, but it’s Everton’s defensive record at home that keeps me interested.
Only shipping 18 goals, Everton have conceded just a goal more than Spurs and Manchester United at their respective home grounds this season, and I believe the emphasis from Ancelotti in this game will be about players playing for their jobs because off the back of a five-year-deal, somebody is going to need to impress the Italian or they’ll be booted out.
Bournemouth will be even more open than usual which spells all sorts of trouble, because Everton can’t break teams down – but they’re deadly on the break.
And do Eddie Howe’s men have the desire to chase people down if they lose possession? I have my doubts.
I just can’t see a situation where a goal is scored in open play, and by open play, I’m subtracting counter attacks here.
But both of these like to be on the ball, so there’ll be a weird standoff between them in the centre circle where they convince themselves they’ve got the ability in midfield to play through a defensive block and they just don’t.
Both of these teams play on relatively narrow pitches too, so while Everton try to incorporate width, it rarely works at home. And vice versa. Especially not with this respective opposition.
Go unders all day.
Both teams are in the bottom third of the Fair Play standings. One team is desperate to stay up. The other is closing out a frustrating season and some of their players probably know they’re being let go straight after.
It’s got all the classic narrative signs for things to kick off and I’d be surprised if they didn’t.
Tips for Everton v Bournemouth on the Premier League final day
- Man Utd deliver fax machines to Europe’s top clubs amid poor David de Gea form
- Peter Crouch’s guide to celebrating safely – in your bubble