Underwhelming quartet battle to salvage some pride | Football

Alexander Isak is one of the most feared finishers in the Premier League (Picture: Getty Images)

Four of the Premier League’s underachievers are in action in the penultimate games of their largely underwhelming seasons and the quartet are trying to discover a glimmer of light to carry through the summer and into the start of the new campaign in August.

Manchester United and Newcastle were dreaming of successful runs in the Champions League in September after finishing in the top four the previous year only to crash out in the group stages.

Brighton found the demands of being in the Europa League a lot to deal with while Chelsea spent a king’s ransom on new signings only to flop to such an extent it’s been reported there will be a board meeting to discuss the future of manager Mauricio Pochettino after Sunday’s final round of matches.

It’s possible three of the four clubs – United and the Seagulls being the other two – could have new gaffers at the helm by the time pre-season commences with Erik ten Hag on an increasingly sticky wicket and Roberto Di Zerbi allegedly eager to move on, with Bayern Munich a possible destination.

Despite the angst United and Newcastle are still trying to book a place in next season’s Europa League and Chelsea are also in the mix after their 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest lifted them three points clear of Ten Hag’s team and behind sixth-placed Newcastle only on goal difference.

Meanwhile, Brighton are tenth and hoping to salvage a modicum of respectability by finishing in the top half.

Take the draw when Newcastle visit Old Trafford at 16/5 with William Hill with Alexander Isak – if he’s fit to play -breaking the deadlock at 5/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair.

Nicolas Jackson is finishing his first season in English football in a rich vein of form

Nicolas Jackson is finishing the season in a rich vein of form (Picture: Getty Images)

Newcastle’s Sweden striker is 11/10 to score at any time with the same two firms, BoyleSports and bet365, who go 5/2 Alejandro Garnacho replies for the hosts.

Brighton may have beaten Aston Villa recently but they are limping over the line while Chelsea are actually ending the season in decent form, with a draw at Unai Emery’s Villa followed by wins against Tottenham, West Ham and Nottingham Forest.

Nicolas Jackson has scored four times in those three victories and is 13/2 with bet365 to take his tally to 18 goals in his maiden campaign for the Blues by scoring the opener at the Amex. 

Jackson is 15/8 with the same company to hit the net at any time and Chelsea are 21/20 with Ladbrokes and Coral head back to London with maximum points.

• Boxing fans have been waiting for what seems to be an eternity for Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk to fight for the right to be crownedundisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Now the big night is nearly upon us and the build-up is being overshadowed by an enthralling finish to the Premier League.

The tale of the tape indicates Fury has everything in his favour but his Ukrainian opponent has the edge in determination, desire, grit and tenacity and is 3/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair to win on points.

• All Vikings dream about going to Valhalla and Sweden’s Alex Noren can finish as the top Scandinavian at this week’s US PGA at the Kentucky golf course after seven straight placings in the top 25, including a solo third earlier in the month at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson. Row in with him at 7/1 with Betway, bet365 and Sky Bet.


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