Premier League final-day predictions: Chris Sutton v The National drummer Bryan Devendorf
It all comes down to the final day for Everton, Leicester and Leeds and their battle to beat the drop. Only one will stay in the Premier League, but who will it be?
“Sunday is going to be fascinating,” said BBC Sport’s football expert Chris Sutton.
“Leicester’s point against Newcastle on Monday could actually be massive. They still need to beat West Ham to have a chance but, if they survive from here, it could turn out to be one of the greatest escapes we’ve ever seen.
“That result means Everton have to beat Bournemouth to be sure of staying up, but even Leeds still have hope because they are playing a Tottenham side that are just so bad.”
Sutton has made predictions for all 380 Premier League matches this season, against a variety of guests.
For the last round of games he is taking on Bryan Devendorf, drummer with rock band The National.
The National have just started their world tour, and have dates in the UK this autumn in Leeds, Glasgow and London. Their new album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, was released earlier this month and reached number four in the UK charts.
While his bandmate Aaron Dessner is a big Liverpool fan, Devendorf describes himself as “a neutral who has jumped on the Brighton bandwagon”.
“I really enjoy their style of play and the story of their rise is pretty nice too,” he told BBC Sport. “The ownership seems pretty cool and all that too.
“They are definitely punching above their weight and despite losing Graham Potter at the start of the season they seem to have got even stronger under Roberto de Zerbi.
“Getting into the Europa League is a brilliant achievement, but it is the way they’ve done it that stands out too. Their style is so good to watch.
“Moises Caicedo has been one of the stories of the season but I’ve also been reading about their tactics and recruitment. There are all these young South American players they have got but we’ve not seen yet – there are more on the way!”
Devendorf has not been to a Premier League game yet but, in Major League Soccer, his local team Cincinnati are enjoying a successful season at the top of the Eastern Conference.
“I’ve seen them a few times,” he explained. “They have a new stadium and the club is winning a lot. They have a great goalkeeper and a great striker – Philadelphia are the tactical ‘Moneyball’ team in their league and one of their assistants came to Cinci and brought their approach, and it worked.
“I don’t really follow the United States team much though. I am a bit of a Benedict Arnold [an American-born officer who defected to the British side during the American War of Independence] when it comes to international soccer.
“I have an English grandmother so I will always root for the England squad, even with the World Cup coming to the United States next time.”
|SUNDAY, 28 MAY|
|Arsenal v Wolves||x-x||2-0||3-0|
|Aston Villa v Brighton||x-x||1-1||1-1|
|Brentford v Man City||x-x||1-2||1-2|
|Chelsea v Newcastle||x-x||0-2||0-2|
|Crystal Palace v Nottingham Forest||x-x||2-0||1-0|
|Everton v Bournemouth||x-x||1-0||2-1|
|Leeds v Tottenham||x-x||1-1||0-1|
|Leicester v West Ham||x-x||2-1||1-2|
|Man Utd v Fulham||x-x||2-1||1-0|
|Southampton v Liverpool||x-x||0-2||0-3|
A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.
All matches kick off at 16:30 BST.
SUNDAY, 28 MAY
Arsenal v Wolves
There is nothing important riding on this game for either side but Arsenal will want to finish off a successful season by putting on a show in front of their own fans.
They lost their way in the title race in the final few weeks but this is chance for them to sign off with a positive performance, and I think that’s exactly what they will do.
It is slightly worrying for Wolves that there are doubts about Julen Lopetegui’s future because he has done such a good job – they were bottom when he took charge in November. Their season turned out OK, but there could be an uncertain summer ahead at Molineux.
Sutton’s prediction: 2-0
Bryan’s prediction: I am a total newbie at predictions and this is a tough one to start with. Arsenal fell short in the title race but they are at home and they will have something to prove in front of their fans. There seems to have been a bit of a kerfuffle at Wolves, with talk of their manager leaving, so Arsenal are definitely going to win this one, it’s just a question of by how many. 3-0
Aston Villa v Brighton
Brighton’s draw with Manchester City on Wednesday has already sealed their place in the Europa League but Aston Villa still have work to do and must match Tottenham’s result at Leeds to secure a Europa Conference League spot.
Villa beat the Seagulls before the World Cup, just after Unai Emery took charge, but I am not sure they will get the better of Roberto de Zerbi’s side again this time.
De Zerbi made changes against City and left Lewis Dunk on the bench but still got a point against the champions. He will probably shuffle his squad again, but I still don’t see them losing.
Sutton’s prediction: 1-1
Bryan’s prediction: This is quite a tough one for Brighton but I think they will get a point. 1-1
Brentford v Man City
Brentford have had an absolutely brilliant season once again and they could complete the double over Manchester City after beating them at Etihad Stadium in November.
It’s never easy to make another step forward in your second season in the top flight but that’s what the Bees have done.
This is going to be a tricky afternoon for the champions – Brighton gave them a good game in midweek and I am expecting Brentford to do the same.
We know how desperate City boss Pep Guardiola is to win every game because he showed it against the Seagulls, but I just wonder if some of his players will have one eye on next week’s FA Cup final, and be thinking about the Champions League final too.
I am still going with a City win, but it is going to be close.
Sutton’s prediction: 1-2
Bryan’s prediction: City are like a juggernaut – what they are doing is deserved because the coaching from Pep is so good, but it is just total dominance. Brentford are playing really well under Thomas Frank and Bryan Mbeumo is in good form so they will get a goal, but City are just too strong. 1-2
Chelsea v Newcastle
Newcastle could well be in party mode now they are sure of Champions League football so this prediction partly depends on how motivated they are as their job is done.
Even so, you still have to consider how bad Chelsea are. They have been woeful for the entire campaign and the bottom four teams are the only ones to have won fewer home games than them this season.
There won’t be much for Blues fans to smile about at Stamford Bridge on Sunday either.
Sutton’s prediction: 0-2
Bryan’s prediction: Newcastle against Chelsea is like an apex predator approaching a raw slab of prime rib. 0-2
Crystal Palace v Nottingham Forest
I know Roy Hodgson is getting on a bit but Crystal Palace can’t be in a rush to get rid of him.
He has done a remarkable job since being appointed at the end of March, so who is going to come in and do any better?
Whatever the future holds for Roy, he will want to end this season with a win and Nottingham Forest’s awful away record makes his side heavy favourites, especially with Eberechi Eze in such fine form for the Eagles.
Forest have won only one of their 18 league games on the road so far – at Southampton in January – and have picked up seven points in total.
I don’t see them adding to their tally here, but they are staying up and that is the most important thing.
Sutton’s prediction: 2-0
Bryan’s prediction: Another tough one but Palace are at home and this could be Hodgson’s final game as a manager – yet again. I think they are going to give the old man a win. 1-0
Everton v Bournemouth
I actually feel like this is an awkward game for Everton. Their fate is in their own hands and I think they will stay up, but Bournemouth will make things difficult for them.
Everton will play with great intensity but they have a worry over whether Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be fit enough to lead their attack, and they have not been free-scoring anyway.
In contrast, Bournemouth’s position means they can play with more freedom and that makes them dangerous.
Goodison Park will be a very tense place in the final few minutes if this game is as close as I think it will be, because I expect results elsewhere to mean that Everton have to win to stay up.
Sutton’s prediction: 1-0
Bryan’s prediction: Everton had that huge win at Brighton a couple of weeks ago which has helped put them in this situation. They have definitely raised their game under Sean Dyche, even if they are not playing consistently well. They are at home, in front of their fans so they are going to be up for this and I think they will get what they need. I did have them down to win 2-0 at first but I’ve given Bournemouth a goal, because I think there will still be a bit of drama and tension. 2-1
Leeds v Tottenham
Leeds boss Sam Allardyce has been driven to despair by how bad his side are at the back and he’s only been in charge for three games.
That’s why I can’t see Leeds winning this game – and I think they are getting relegated.
Tottenham don’t deserve many plaudits either, though. They have played well so rarely this season that I don’t see them getting a win that would give them a chance of seventh place and European football next season.
Sutton’s prediction: 1-1
Bryan’s prediction: Bryce [Dessner, Aaron’s brother] supports Leeds because he likes their American connection. But my son supports Spurs so I’ve been, very casually, following their results for a while through him. Tottenham have been like a Cadillac on cruise control this season, with a string of disappointments. Leeds are so scrappy and ready for a fight, but I just don’t know if they can see this game through. Instead, I think it is going to be one of those days where they put in a lot of effort before there is a kind of heartbreaking Harry Kane header that sends them down. 0-1
Leicester v West Ham
From my last month of predictions, it feels like I have only got about one right – there have been so many strange results. Take Newcastle’s 0-0 draw against Leicester on Monday for example. We know how bad the Foxes are defensively and I would have bet my house on Newcastle scoring.
The amazing thing about Leicester and Leeds is that they both score lots of goals, more than anyone else in the bottom half of the table. Leicester have scored 49, which is as many as Aston Villa, who are seventh.
But both of them are so poor defensively, which is why they are down there.
Leicester gambled that they could draw at Newcastle, win this game and stay up. I think the first two parts will go according to plan, but sadly the last bit is out of their hands and victory here might not be enough to save them.
West Ham may rotate a few players with the Europa Conference League final in mind, but their away form has been poor anyway. They went from the end of August to the start of April without managing a single league success on the road.
Sutton’s prediction: 2-1
Bryan’s prediction: It feels like there is a certain charm about Leicester after their fairytale title win in 2016, but there won’t be a happy ending here. When West Ham play well, they are like a machine. They basically destroyed Leeds last weekend and sadly for Leicester I think they will do the same to them. 1-2
Man Utd v Fulham
Fulham gave it a really good go the last time they were at Old Trafford in the FA Cup quarter-finals in March, before things unravelled for them extremely quickly.
I think Marco Silva’s side will make a game of it this time too. United made sure of a Champions League place next season with Thursday’s 4-1 win over Chelsea and I am sure next weekend’s FA Cup final will be on their minds.
Erik ten Hag’s side have limped over the line a bit in the race for the top four, but their home form has been solid and they should have too much for the Cottagers again this time too.
Fulham will finish 10th whatever the result – they have had a brilliant season and I’ve enjoyed watching them. I must admit I thought they would get relegated so I was only slightly out there.
Sutton’s prediction: 2-1
Bryan’s prediction: I am going to go for an underwhelming United performance and a win by a lone goal. 1-0
Southampton v Liverpool
Southampton don’t have too many fond memories to look back on this season, especially at home where they have only won twice during the entire campaign.
They will be playing for pride but that won’t be enough against a Liverpool side who have built up a bit of momentum in recent weeks.
It’s been a difficult campaign for Jurgen Klopp’s side too and missing out on the Champions League is a big disappointment for them, but at least they will finish off on a bit of a high note.
I am expecting Mohamed Salah to score and Liverpool to win.
Sutton’s prediction: 0-2
Bryan’s prediction: Southampton are already down but they did not completely crumble against Brighton last week in their first game since being relegated. It could be different against Liverpool, though, because Jurgen Klopp’s side will be hungry to keep their good run going and I can see them scoring a few. 0-3
Chris Sutton and Bryan Devendorf were speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
How did Sutton do last time?
From last weekend’s Premier League fixtures, Sutton got four correct results from 10 matches with one exact score, for a total of 70 points.
Although he beat one of his downhill skateboarder guests, Jenny Jungle – who got five correct results with no exact scores for a tally of 50 points – he lost out to Anna Pixner, who got six correct results including one exact score, for a total of 90 points.
There were also two games on Wednesday and Thursday, both rearranged from week 32 because of the FA Cup semi-finals.
With only these fixtures remaining, Chris was leading his guest, Enter Shikari bassist Chris Batten by 70-60.
|When?||Result||Chris Sutton||Chris Batten|
|TUESDAY, 24 MAY|
|Brighton v Man City||1-1||1-3||1-2|
|WEDNESDAY, 25 MAY|
|Man Utd v Chelsea||4-1||1-0||3-0|
They were both wrong about Brighton’s draw with Manchester City but picked up 10 points apiece from United’s win, giving Sutton an 80-70 victory.
|Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria||230|
|Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott||150|
|Keke from 1Xtra||140|
|Ali Bruce-Ball, Modernlove drummer Cian McCluskey, Jack Rowan||110|
|Liam Fray of The Courteeners, Ronnie Huxford from Those Damn Crows||100|
|Woolf Women star Anna Pixner||90|
|Living With Chucky writer and director Kyra Gardner, Editors bassist Russell Leetch||80|
|Chris Sutton (average after 37 weeks)||71|
|Enter Shikari bassist Chris Batten, Blanco, Ian Broudie, GK from Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Corey Deshon, Joelah from 1Xtra, Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno, Aaron Moorhead, Phoenix singer Thomas Mars||70|
|AntsLive, Evil Dead Rise writer and director Lee Cronin, Ross MacDonald from The 1975, Black Honey guitarist Chris Ostler, Ryan Porteous||60|
|Justin Benson, Woolf Women star Jenny Jungle, Al Greenwood from Sports Team, Dapz on the Map, Chesney Hawkes, Maulo||50|
|Blake Bowman, Tom from Dry Cleaning||40|
|Andrew Gower, Jessica McHale, Olivia Chomczuk, Casper van Dien, DMA’S frontman Tommy O’Dell, Oli Shasha from FEET, Stereophonics guitarist Adam Zindani||30|
|Juice Menace, DJ Schak, Patrick Whelan||20|
|Trampolene frontman Jack Jones||10|
How did you get on?
Only 21% of you thought Nottingham Forest would beat Arsenal but 92% of you correctly backed Brighton to beat Southampton. With only 10 fixtures left to predict this season, you are guaranteed to finish ahead of Chris and his guests.
*Win, draw, loss prediction based on highest % of vote for each match. Anna’s score was used for these tables.
|1. You||192/370 (52%)|
|2. Chris||176/370 (48%)|
|3. Guests||174/370 (47%)|