Welcome to Shay Says, the latest football betting blog from LeoVegas’ Irish ambassador, Shay Given.
This week, the Republic of Ireland and Premier League legend previews two fixtures from the final day of the Premier League, and gives his thoughts on Saturday’s Championship Playoff Final at Wembley.
Let’s see what Shay Says!
What a game this will be! I don’t think many people expected Coventry and Luton to be in the final, particularly with what each club has gone through over the past few seasons.
Coventry only got into the playoffs on the last day of the season – how many times have you seen clubs make it very late into the playoff then go on all the way up to the Premier League?
I remember playing against Coventry during lockdown when they were based in Birmingham City’s Stadium and thinking how far they had fallen, and now they’re just one game away from the highs of the Premier League.
The job Mark Robbins has done is like a fairytale story, although you could probably say that about both clubs.
Luton Town have been amongst the playoff places for most of the season – Rob Edwards has done a brilliant job since Nathan Jones left, I actually think he’s taken them to the next level and pushed them on more.
I have a feeling Coventry are going to win this. Luton showed against Sunderland how strong they are at home with the tight and narrow pitch, but I think the big Wembley pitch and open spaces will play into Coventry’s hand.
I think it’ll be a tight game, but I’m going with 1-0 to Coventry, with Viktor Gyökeres scoring the winner.
SHAY SAYS: COVENTRY CITY 1-0 LUTON TOWN
Chelsea need to get their new manager in sooner rather than later. There’s no consistency with them at the moment – Frank Lampard is there on a short-term basis , whilst Graham Potter and Thomas Tuchel have been out of the door too.
The biggest problem they have to solve is clearing some of the players – their squad size is far too big and they’ll need to get rid of people who they don’t want.
It’s going to be a busy summer for Chelsea, but they need to get the managerial appointment right first and trust him to do the right job.
I’m buzzing for Newcastle – it’s brilliant for the club to be back playing Champions League football. I was one of the players who played the last time they were there 20 years ago, so it’s special for the club to get back there.
They’ve just been really consistent all season – they had a couple of bumps along the road but there was no panic or stress. Eddie Howe has been really smart with the way he addressed defeats, which was important to get the players’ minds fixed quickly after bad results.
They certainly haven’t finished in the top four because of luck – they deserve to be there and have had some brilliant performances, both collectively and individually.
This is a tough one to call because the pressure is off Newcastle to get a result. I think it’ll be a score draw – I’m going with 1-1 scoreline, with Callum Wilson continuing his good form in front of goal.
SHAY SAYS: CHELSEA 1-1 NEWCASTLE
The important thing for Everton is that survival is in their hands going into the final day. There’s nothing worse than needing to rely on other results going their way, the tension in the stands makes its way onto the pitch.
I think Sean Dyche would have taken this position going into the final day of the season when he took the job, particularly at home to Bournemouth with the Goodison Park crowd behind them.
Their preparation going into the game will be vital because there will be huge pressure on the players given what’s at stake – Everton have been in the Premier League for a long time, so they don’t want to lose that status.
Gary O’Neil has done an amazing job, a lot of people were asking last week why he wasn’t in the Premier League Manager of the Year awards.
I remember Scott Parker saying at the start of the season after losing 9-0 to Liverpool that the squad wasn’t good enough, so I think the work O’Neil has done has been a bit overlooked.
Credit to the owners too for giving him the job after a few games as caretaker, and the fact they’ve confirmed their survival with games to spare shows how successful the season has been.
I’m going with an Everton win here, I think they’ll sneak it from a set play or something similar. My prediction is 1-0 to Everton, with James Tarkowski getting the winner.
SHAY SAYS: EVERTON 1-0 BOURNEMOUTH
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*all odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change