LIVERPOOL were the big winners from the latest round of English Premier League fixtures.
With Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal all failing to win, a 1-0 result at Watford gave the Reds a three-point buffer in the race for Champions League group stage places.
However, any hopes of a late charge for the title are long gone as we enter the final month of EPL 2016-17.
Wins for both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur mean the latter still have four points to make up if they are to snatch glory from the Blues’ grasp.
There will be no last-ditch sprint this time around for Sunderland, now officially relegated after losing an ill-spirited clash with Bournemouth.
Middlesbrough could still sneak to safety, although it would require both Swansea and Hull to come a cropper.
Here are the match odds for round 36, along with our EPL specials and goalscorer tips for this week’s featured games.
Matchweek 36 Premier League odds
West Ham +700 – Draw +375 – Tottenham --100
Man City -400 – Draw +550 – Crystal Palace --100
Bournemouth +115 – Draw +260 – Stoke --100
Burnley +120 – Draw +225 – West Brom --100
Hull -227.27 – Draw +350 – Sunderland --100
Leicester -175.44 – Draw +310 – Watford --100
Swansea +175 – Draw +250 – Everton --100
Liverpool -175.44 – Draw +333 – Southampton --100
Arsenal +100 – Draw +260 – Man United --100
Chelsea -588.24 – Draw +650 – Middlesbrough --100
West Ham United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – 5am AEST – London Stadium
- Tottenham -1 handicap – +110 at Sportsbet
- Christian Eriksen last goalscorer – +660 at CrownBet
This season cannot end soon enough for the Hammers.
Tipped as bolters for the top four after a promising 2015-16 campaign, Slaven Bilic’s men have looked far more likely to wind up in the bottom three.
Injuries have not helped, with Michail Antonio, Pedro Obiang and Angelo Ogbonna all unlikely to feature again this season.
They could have Andy Carroll back after a spell out with groin trouble, while Diafra Sakho is also a chance.
For Spurs, only three-pointers will do from here on out.
Derby delight against Arsenal last weekend took their winning streak to nine while keeping them within four points of Chelsea in the title race.
Harry Kane and Dele Alli continue to bang in goals, but Christian Eriksen is arguably the most dangerous man in Tottenham’s forward third right now.
They should have no real issues against a leaky West Ham defence.
Liverpool vs. Southampton
Sunday, May 7, 2017 – 10:30pm AEST – Anfield
- Liverpool win/both teams to score – +210 at William Hill
- Roberto Firmino first goalscorer – +480 at CrownBet
Liverpool did very well out of last week’s results, although it would have been a different story if Sebastian Prodl’s late effort at Vicarage Road had crept under the cross bar.
Already missing the influence of Sadio Mane, the Reds suffered a big scare when Philippe Coutinho was forced off early with a leg injury.
Tests have cleared the Brazilian of any serious damage, however, so he may well be available on Sunday.
Adam Lallana replaced Coutinho at Watford on his return to action and could be in the mix to start against his old club.
Things are not getting any easier for Southampton, who head to Anfield after a trio of tough fixtures against Man City, Chelsea and Hull.
They gained a solitary point in that run, so another winless weekend could see them slide out of the top 10 altogether.
In their favour is an excellent recent record against Liverpool, who have beaten them only once in their last six meetings across all competitions.
Half of those were League Cup fixtures, however, and the Reds should be fired up after some disappointing results at home.
Arsenal vs. Manchester United
Monday, May 8, 2017 – 1am AEST – Emirates Stadium
- Man United draw no bet – +179 at Sportsbet
- Marcus Rashford first goalscorer – +760 at CrownBet
It is difficult to justify backing Arsenal right now.
They were poor against Leicester City last week, so it was no surprise to see them well beaten at White Hart Lane a few days later.
The Gunners are failing to produce that fluent football for which they are famous, while star striker Alexis Sanchez has the air of a player who is counting down the days until the transfer window opens.
But are Man United any better?
It looked like things were on the up for Jose Mourinho and company, but a goalless stalemate in the Manchester derby and a home draw to Swansea has rather curbed the enthusiasm at Old Trafford.
Throw in some notable absentees and a gruelling fixture list, and it is difficult to see the Red Devils finishing in the top four from here.
They could have a few stars back for the trip to London, however, with Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Paul Pogba and Chris Smalling all in the squad to face Celta Vigo on Friday morning.
Remember that United, for all their faults, remain unbeaten in the Premier League since October 2016.
Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 – 5am AEST – Stamford Bridge
- Chelsea to win both halves – +120 at Sportsbet
- Eden Hazard first goalscorer – +400 at Bet365
After a tight first half at Goodison Park, Chelsea turned on the style to win 3-0 and take another step towards the 2016-17 Premier League title.
The late-season form of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic is very encouraging for Blues fans, while Diego Costa is looking dangerous again after a dry spell.
David Luiz and his tight groin pose a rare injury concern for coach Antonio Conte, but the Brazilian centre-back will be in contention for Middlesbrough’s visit.
After looking dead and buried a couple of weeks ago, the Teessiders suddenly have a sniff of hope.
Victory over Sunderland and a massive 2-2 result against Man City means the Boro are six points shy of 17th-placed Hull with three games to go.
That is a big gap to bridge for a side averaging 0.74 goals per game this season, especially with the league leaders up next.
An upset would be great for the competition, but it is difficult to envision Chelsea slipping on this particular banana peel.