Our reporters back Roberto Mancini's side to pip the Gunners in the race for the automatic Champions League spaces, while Wigan and Ian Holloway's side wave goodbyeWelcome to the final edition of Goal.com Predicts for the 2010-11 season, where we introduce you to the reporters who will be travelling the length and breadth of the country to bring you all the action from the grounds.
The weekend sees the curtain fall on this year's campaign, with Manchester United collecting their 19th league title - regardless of the result - after their home tie with Blackpool, crowning Sir Alex Ferguson's side as the most successful English club of all time.
But Ian Holloway's side are not there to make up the numbers, as the Seasiders - along with Birmingham, Blackburn, Wigan and Wolves - are each battling to avoid having to play West Ham next season, with Avram Grant's side having been relegated at the DW Stadium last time out.
In a week which saw them clinch the FA Cup and a top-four finish, Roberto Mancini's Manchester City side can cap a glorious end to their season with an automatic Champions League spot. A victory away to Bolton will see the Eastlands outfit finish above Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger's side having to settle for fourth spot - and the Champions League qualification round - after their target of four trophies well and truly backfired.
But that's not all, Tottenham - who face Alex McLeish's strugglers at White Hart Lane - can clinch Europa League football for next season as long as Liverpool (who were defeated by Harry Redknapp's side last time out) don't better their result.
While down in east London, West Ham fans wave goodbye to the Premier League, with a home clash with Sunderland.
So with 10 matches on offer, here are the predictions of the Goal.com team...
| Aston Villa
Matt Monaghan says...
Liverpool's under the microscope squad have their futures to fight for this Sunday. Since John Henry's takeover and subsequent ambitious January transfer outlay, mass change has been on the cards at Anfield.
With a reported £50 million to spend to bolster every area of his playing staff, manager Kenny Dalglish is sure to use this season's last Premier League engagement as a final examination.
While an upturn in form since the New Year has left the club narrowly adrift of European football, the Scot's judgement will not be clouded and he is acutely aware how far they remain away from pacesetters Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City.
Under Dalglish, previous terrace villains Lucas, Dirk Kuyt, Jay Spearing and even Maxi Rodriguez have blossomed, while men like Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson and Joe Cole still have their Anfield careers to fight for.
No Liverpool player should treat this Sunday's game as a final annoyance before their summer holiday. Fail to grasp this last chance and they can be assured to be shown the exit door.
| Manchester City
Steve Hewlett says...
The final game of the season often has an end of school term feel to it. For Bolton Wanderers this is the case as they have little to play for in this one except to finish the season in style against FA Cup holders Manchester City.
The Trotters should finish in the top 10 of the league and I’m sure Wanderers fans will be happy with that in the year when they lost their greatest hero in Nat Lofthouse.
Manchester City, still buzzing from lifting the FA Cup last weekend and securing Champions League football next season, will be heading up the M61 to the Reebok Stadium on Sunday standing 10 feet tall and feeling invincible. It is still possible to finish second behind Manchester United, but this is highly unlikely with Chelsea’s goal differential advantage.
I foresee that the blue moon will continue to rise and City will win here and condemn Arsene Wenger and Arsenal to fourth.
If Carlos Tevez carries over his irresistible form from Tuesday night, he could dazzle again and that is what I am most hoping for in potentially his last outing for City.
Jonathan Birchall says...
Managers argue that their players will continue giving 100 per cent up until the very last minute of the season but with defeat for the Toffees at West Brom and a disappointing home draw to Newcastle for Chelsea last weekend, there is certainly a fear that both of these sides are already thinking about their summer holidays.
Of course, the lack of pressure on either side may offer the chance for their respective managers to give some playing time to those who could benefit from the experience and the appearance of Josh McEachran at Stamford Bridge against Alan Pardew has whet my appetite for another showing from the 18-year old.
Neither side will want to be brooding over a last day defeat until August so I'm expecting a little more commitment from both sides in a tight game as Goodison says goodbye to the Premier League after another season of ups and downs.
Josh Clarke says...
I was at the Emirates for Villa’s 2-1 win and was genuinely taken aback by the amount of vitriol levelled at Arsene Wenger and certain members of the Gunners squad, both during the game and the lap of honour.
The remarkable capitulation that has characterised Arsenal’s season will surely prove the catalyst for big changes in the summer and the way in which they approach the game against Fulham will speak volumes about the team's mental fortitude.
In terms of final standings, Fulham have a lot more to lose than Arsenal – who now rely on Manchester City fluffing their lines to avoid Champions league qualification. Mark Hughes has continued the sterling job done by Roy Hodgson, though if events conspire against the Cottagers, then they could finish up with a lacklustre lower mid-table finish.
The sting will be taken out of Fulham’s tail with the fact that a low card count will result in Europa League qualification via the Fair Play award and I can’t see Arsenal wanting to end the season with three losses on the trot.
| Manchester United
Greg Stobart says...
The Premier League title may be wrapped up, but there will be plenty of incentive for the Manchester United players as Sir Alex Ferguson's side look to finish the season with a bang in front of their own fans.
The Red Devils are likely to rest players for the Champions League final and field a weakened team – and no doubt there will be an angry initial reaction from Blackpool's four relegation rivals. But just ask Schalke about United's so-called reserve team; there will be plenty of quality players trying to force their way into the manager's plans for Wembley.
Blackpool have been brilliant for the Premier League this season and it will be a long, anxious afternoon for the Tangerine army as the various factors come in to play to decide the three teams that will be playing in the Championship next season.
United signed Carlos Tevez after he scored a winner for West Ham at Old Trafford on the last day of the season – so maybe Blackpool captain Charlie Adam can use that as an incentive to produce the performance of his life. It will certainly take something incredibly special for Ian Holloway's side to take the three points that would probably keep them safe.
| West Brom
Simon Sinclair says...
Despite it being the end of the season and with both teams safe, I still expect a cracking encounter at St James’ Park. Positions in the table count for money and the higher you are in the table the more you get, so with both sides being separated by only a point their owners will be wanting them to go full throttle on the pitch.
I’m looking forward to seeing Peter Odemwingie against the Newcastle defence. The striker has been in great form all this campaign and must be one of the buys of the season. His pace and movement should cause the Magpies problems.
Alan Pardew’s side have the ability to overcome West Brom despite injury problems and backing them to carry on their good home form even though the Baggies have improved away from the Hawthorns under Hodgson.
| Wigan Athletic
Nick Price says...
For me, there are only two instances in which a man should be seen crying in public: upon the death of a family member, friend or beloved pet, or when their team gets relegated. And I fear that I'll be seeing a lot of men in blue blubbing away at the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke may have lost the cup final but the last home game of the season should still be an event to celebrate for the hosts, who have the chance to finish as the best placed team in the Midlands for the first time in their history; reason enough to ensure that the Potters will not be slacking off. Tony Pulis, always aware of the financial implications of any result, will have reminded his players that each higher league position is worth £800,000 to the club – money that could go some way to bringing in recruits for his small squad that has the rigours of European football to contend with next year.
Roberto Martinez's side have won just three times on the road this season, but that record won't be in his mind on Sunday, for anything can happen when a team is fighting for survival, and his men showed their fortitude by coming back from two goals down to beat West Ham last week, but are likely to be reliant upon other teams tripping up even if they pick up a win.
Wayne Veysey says...
I am looking forward to two things - how hard Tottenham try and whether the Birmingham players can shake off the vitriol of their other halves for long enough to produce a display that will maintain the club's top-flight status.
In theory, the match has huge meaning for both teams. In practice, with the Europa League being the party invitation that Spurs are hesitating over whether to accept, the butterflies will mostly be in the tummies of Alex McLeish's men on Sunday.
Few will be keener to produce a season-saving display than Birmingham goalkeeper Ben Foster, one half of the 'Boozegate' alliance that rolled in at 4am after the club's player-of-the-year dinner.
Any more errors of judgement from the former England international and the obituaries will be penned on what should have been the greatest year in the club's history.
| West Ham
Andrew Kennedy says...
West Ham welcome Sunderland to Upton Park on Sunday in a game which players, fans and the club top brass alike will probably prefer to be over and done with as quick as possible.
The Hammers' relegation to the Championship following last weekend’s 3-2 away defeat to Wigan was confounded by events in midweek, with players and fans allegedly clashing at the club’s end of season awards following an incident involving striker Demba Ba.
Sunderland will also be glad to see the back of a campaign which began with such promise and talk of European qualification, only to peter out to one of mid-table mediocrity after the Black Cats saw off their brief flirtation with the relegation zone a couple of months ago.
The home fans reaction to their team could be the most interesting factor arising from this fixture, with club owners David Sullivan and David Gold needing to appease the current contingent before attracting new fans ahead their prospective move to the Olympic Stadium. As for the game? I expect a 2-2 draw as both sides draw the curtain on a season to be forgotten.
Alex Fisher says...
This weekend I will be heading to Molineux to watch a match that has everything riding on it. Wolves and Blackburn are both locked on 40 points and start the weekend in 15th and 16th but they are far from safe.
I am particularly looking forward to all the inevitable twists and turns that will happen during the 90 minutes. Fans from both sides will no doubt have their ears to at least one radio listening out for the results from Birmingham, Blackpool and Wigan and praying for good news.
I expect the game to tense - unbelievably tense - and that means there probably won't be masses of quality on show but one piece of magic could secure either of these sides' place in the Premier League. A defeat in this match could mean the unthinkable.
I think Wolves will be glad they're at home, but I think it could work against them and Blackburn, playing under less pressure, will sneak a win.
||1 CORRECT 0 PERFECT 9 WRONG
By far our most disappointing week yet. Matt Monaghan's 2-1 prediction for West Ham's away trip to Wigan looked on the cards before some late Charles N'Zogbia heroics, while Wayne Veysey correctly predicted the FA Cup trophy would be travelling back on the Manchester City bus train.