The penultimate weekend in the Premier League season begins on Friday night with the race for seventh spot the centre of attention. There are much more important things to determine later in the round but for now the final possible European spot will get the headlines.
Everton are the side in question who are chasing the Europa League spot that could come available and they play host to fellow Lancashire side Burnley to get the weekend up and running. The Clarets are just playing for bonus prize money but that could be reasonably valuable to them.
It hasn’t been the best season Everton have put together. They are beginning to surge towards the finish line with the pressure off them though with four wins in their last six matches but even then any enthusiasm in them from a betting point of view is tempered by their 2-0 loss at Fulham smack in the middle of that run. They have gone well at home in recent times though which is a positive.
That game against Fulham was the only time in their last six matches that the Toffees have conceded a goal. That was their downfall in the early stages of the season when they couldn’t keep a clean sheet and looked vulnerable every time a cross came into their box. If they can finish off the campaign with a couple of wins they could yet make it into the top seven.
The threat of relegation has lingered over Burnley for much of the campaign so it is to their credit that they have been able to perform and pull themselves far enough away from danger to have their safety assured with two matches left to play. A lot of credit should go to Sean Dyche, who has stuck to his philosophies, never panicked at any point and led his side to safety.
One of the catalysts for Burnley’s improvement has been the quality that their front two have contained. Burnley failed to score against Manchester City last time out but generally they have been scoring goals regularly. They haven’t been as tight at the back as they was last year but they have still had enough in their ranks to get the job done.
Everton will be without midfielder Andre Gomes who serves the final match of his suspension. Theo Walcott has overcome illness and is set to feature while Yerry Mina could also have a part to play in proceedings.
Burnley will have Peter Crouch back in his ranks after an operation to sort out his appendix. Robbie Brady is also back in the squad after the birth of his child but the Clarets could be without Phil Bardsley after a gashed leg.
Everton feel a little on the short side to me here. If you take out the loss to Man City last weekend, Burnley are undefeated in four matches and playing some decent enough stuff with a draw against Chelsea and wins over Bournemouth and Wolves in that run. Everton are much improved from a couple of months ago but they still have shockers in them so I’m not too interested in backing them.
The bet I like though is both teams to score. Everton have tightened up a lot in recent times but Fulham put two past them and this Burnley attack is a very tough one to play against with their physicality and directness. At the other end you always need a little bit of skill and trickery to open Burnley up and that is what Everton have. There is no reason for Burnley to sit in and contain here. Hopefully they open the pitch up and if they do we should see goals at both ends.
Back Both teams to score for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Coral