The final day of the Premier League promises to be pure box office. Four teams’ fates hang in the balance at both the top and bottom of the table. Manchester City and Liverpool will take the title race to the final day with City in control of their own destiny. Depending on the result at Anfield, they might not even need a point, but for Guardiola it’s unlikely that failure is a considered option. They’ll welcome Aston Villa to The Etihad on Sunday at 16:00 with title winning intentions. This is not one to miss, so I’ve prepped my top 3 Bet Builder Picks and a Cheat Sheet to get you ready for the final day.
City navigated a 1st half scare against West Ham last week after going down 2-0. To their credit, they rolled out a much more convincing performance in the 2nd half to salvage a 2-2 draw. It could have ended in 3 points if Riyad Mahrez had successfully converted his late penalty kick, but Fabianski denied the Algerian. Pep would have been concerned by the defensive lapses that allowed the Hammers to get in behind and will be hoping John Stones will be fit to replace the veteran Fernandinho at centre-back.
Villa on the other hand have been playing glorified friendlies since their Premier League safety was confirmed. They put in an impressive performance last time against relegation battlers Burnley who were saved on multiple occasions by man of the match Nick Pope. They were held to a 1-1 draw thanks to an Ashley Barnes penalty and could easily have taken all 3 points. This has been true of several games under Steven Gerrard this season and The Villains with a few tweaks, have the potential to be a real contender next season.
The former Liverpool man will have his old teammate Coutinho at his disposal so there will be some motivation on and off the pitch to produce a result on Sunday with little to play for. I reckon Danny Ings couldn’t care less about who wins the title given his forgettable stint at Anfield. However, Guardiola will fully recognise the threat that this talented Villa squad pose to his title hopes and will be preparing for war.
Both Teams to Score
City’s defensive performance against West Ham’s attackers will be cause for concern going into the final day. Bowen and Antonio found considerable success playing on the shoulders of the defenders and making runs in behind. They were remarkably only caught offside once by City’s feeble offside trap. This was not an individual error, the entire backline of Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Laporte, and Cancelo were all on different pages when the ball was played through to concede the goals.
Villa’s attackers can be very easily compared to West Hams. Danny Ings, Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Buendia, and Bertrand Traore all make defence splitting runs. This is made easier for them by having master technician Coutinho playing the through balls. The absence of City’s best defender Ruben Dias and his regular partner John Stones have a noticeable impact on the entire defence. Coming up against a Villa team who’ve only failed to score in 1 of their last 6 games, means Ederson will certainly be tested on Sunday.
Villa also enter the game without their best defender Ezri Konsa and backup Kortney Hause. They will likely be dominated for large spells of the game as Pep looks to make it 5 wins from 5 final days. Coming up against Villa without their best defender are a team who have only failed to find the net in in 4 of their 37 games. In recent weeks they’ve not slowed down either, with only 1 of their 10 games in all competitions drawing a blank.
They’re almost guaranteed to score as they push for the result on Sunday which could make their defence vulnerable like last week. They’ll be favourites to get the result, but I think they won’t come out unscathed available for odds of 2.1.
Bernardo Silva to have 1+ Shots on Target
Pep Guardiola is a notoriously tricky customer when predicting line-ups. He is the bane of many Fantasy Football managers who have felt the wrath of “Pep roulette.” Besides his regular goalkeeper Ederson, no one is guaranteed a place on the team sheet. Selecting a City player for any market is a dangerous business, but I’m confident that Bernardo Silva should feature on Sunday.
The manager didn’t make a single substitution against West Ham last week. Clearly, he thought that the players on the field were working well, and he was probably right for the 2nd half in fairness. Fatigue shouldn’t be an issue either considering they played a week ago, which means the Portuguese midfielder should join Rodri and De Bruyne again in midfield. Gundogan is the only natural replacement on the bench who may pose a selection risk but there’s no reason he should concede his place based off last week’s performance.
Just missing out on the Cheat Sheet, he averages 0.61 shots on target per game. This is from an average of 1.52 shots per game which makes him quite an accurate marksman. The reason for this is that all but one of his 8 goals have come from inside the penalty area. The crafty midfielder is an expert at finding space inside the box to trouble the goalkeeper. He’s been upping his numbers recently, with 6 of his last 8 games seeing him hit the target.
City average the most shots in the league this season averaging around 16 a game. They’ll be playing with the bit between their teeth to secure all 3 points and the title. Bernardo Silva will be part of this push and looking to exploit space in the box without the calming presence of Ezri Konsa. To find the target he’s available for odds of 1.91.
John McGinn to have 1+ Shots
John Mcginn had a trademark performance last week against Burnley providing the assist for the goal against The Clarets. He dominated the middle of the park providing a buffer for his defenders and pushing on in the attacking phase. This is great news for Scotland fans who’ll be relying on the Glasgow boy to deal Ukraine another blow on June the 1st.
He’s found a new lease of life since Villa withdrew themselves from the relegation battle. He also put in a stellar performance the game week before against Crystal Palace. The Scotsman is a man playing with confidence and freedom he didn’t have when results were so desperate for Villa. Against Burnley he had 3 shots with all 3 hitting the target. There was almost 2 wondergoals to his name if not for the long arms of Nick Pope to deny him.
Against Palace he also managed to hit the target with a hilarious attempt at a volley and for the more audacious bettor a shot on target is priced generously at 3.3. However, the value bet for me is for the midfielder to have just a shot. In 9 of his last 10 games, he’s attempted at least 1 shot. This comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with John McGinn considering the vast majority of his shots come from well outside the box. As per the Cheat Sheet, he averages 1.29 shots per game.
He won’t have to deal with cracking open City’s backline when he’s shooting from 30 yards out and without fear of losing, he will happily give up possession at the expense of a screamer. It’s not going to be one way traffic at The Etihad, and he will make absolutely make sure of that in the middle of the park. To register a shot tomorrow, he’s priced at 1.5.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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Man City predicted XI (4-3-3) : Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Sterling, Jesus, Grealish
Aston Villa predicted XI (4-3-1-2) : Martinez; Cash, Chambers, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Luiz, Ramsey; Coutinho; Watkins, Ings
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* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *
How to watch Man City v Aston Villa in the Premier League
📅 When is Man City v Aston Villa? / Sunday, 22nd May 2022, 16:00
🏟 Where is Man City v Aston Villa? / The Etihad (Manchester)
📺 What TV channel is Man City v Aston Villa? / Sky Sports Main Event
🟨 …And who is the referee for Man City v Aston Villa? / M. Oliver 🏴