It’s time for the final prediction article of the 2016/17 season, as West Ham travel to Burnley for the Sunday afternoon clash. Both teams sit comfortably mid-table in the Premier League, separated by just two points.
There is great potential for flux in the standings depending on results in the final game - ninth and sixteenth are just five points apart. The difference in prize money is £13.5 million so these fine margins can yield millions of pounds.
A win is very achievable for West Ham, as Burnley have nothing to play for and may already be on holiday mode, last week’s 1-2 loss to Bournemouth could show this. However, West Ham got battered 0-4 by Liverpool last Sunday... probably better evidence for the Hammers having poor motivation.
Last week, none of our writer’s predicted a loss to Liverpool so there are no changes in the standings of the Brace the Hammer prediction league:
It all comes down to the last game of the season to see how the top two will be separated. Let’s get into this week’s picks, starting with our top two:
I have a feeling both teams will be focused on vacation. However, neither of Bilic and Dyche like to rotate much, so unfortunately we'll probably just see some unmotivated first teasers. West Ham have the edge in quality, Burnley are in better form.
West Ham 1-1 Burnley
I want to be optimistic and say we'll end the season with a victory, but with the injuries we have I see this one being a 1-1 draw
The kids get it done! After a nervy start to the match, a West Ham side featuring the future of the squad fight back for a thrilling 3-2 win to end the season, giving Slav lots to think about over the summer.
That being said, with all the prize money on the line, I also wouldn't be surprised to see a veteran side highlighted (not really, though) by Calleri, finishing up the season with a dull 0-0 draw.
But hope springs eternal in this Hammer's heart, so I'm going to say that youth prevails, and the original 3-2 prediction sticks.
I hope it will be a wide-open barnburner, with both teams throwing caution to the wind and going for the game, and maybe get a score line like the League 2 playoffs, a 3-3 draw or a 3-2 Hammers win, but I've seen Burnley play before and so I just don't think that will happen.
It's going to be a nil-nil draw, with Burnley grinding out another slow, boring, home draw in front of fans that will be happy to be in the Premier League for another year, while their rivals, Blackburn, face the hinterlands of League 1.
Also expect every movement from any of the young Hammer players to get overanalyzed in the press. I'm sure the players will be labeled something between "future World Cup champion captain" and "so bad a random punter from the stands could do better."
Time to blood youth, I'd like to see Quina, Rice, Holland and maybe even another few. I'd happily accept a loss being safe but it's time for a few of the young guys to get a run out, they deserve it.
2-1 to Burnley
West Ham has more on the line going into this next match. Sure they're safe and all that nonsense, but it will be vital to end on a high note in a season with so many lows. West Ham have more to play for and I think we'll turn up big.
West Ham 3-0
I will never not predict a West Ham win because I know the potential this team has. Burnley are formidable at home, but I think this West Ham side should be fine. After a stupid loss to Liverpool, I could see the Hammers coming together trying to prove something against a middle-of-the-road squad.
So I'll say, once again, this match will be a 2-0 West Ham win.
Jose Fonte, Winston Reid, and James Collins will get their superb backline working well again and will get another clean sheet against a not-very-potent Burnley offense.
Burnley 1-2 West Ham
The Hammers can bounce back from last week's effort (or lack thereof) against Liverpool. If Slaven Bilic gives some younger players opportunities, we could see some impact plays leading into next year.
Ashley Fletcher, I predict, will score his first league goal for West Ham against Burnley. Also, the defense that was ripped apart late in the second half can tighten up here to give the Hammers a chance at three points.
We were on holiday last week and the same XI minus Reid will appear on Sunday, I struggle to have any confidence after that display against Liverpool.
Burnley have done well to survive and sticking to their ethos, type of side that will battle for every point plus their skipper may be wanting to impress one of the gaffers in Manchester. 2-1 Burnley, unfortunately.
Definitely a winnable game I think so I'll go for a single goal in favour of West Ham United. Not sure if it will be the only goal though, but hopefully one more than them!!
West Ham 2-0 win
I had a dream two nights ago. We lost 4-3, so I'm going with that
I remember Snodgrass and Ayew scoring, Keane scored for them. that's about all I remember. #Nostradamus
1-0 loss for the Hammers.
A disappointing season ends with yet another disappointing loss to a team that in all reality we should beat. It's going to be an ugly game with neither team really providing much in the way of chances or excitement. Burnley will score on a penalty after a lazy foul in the box.
West Ham 2-1 Burnley
Going for a West Ham win, the team will want to get some pride back after the humiliating loss to the Reds last weekend. Let’s head into the offseason on the back of a win and with room to make improvements in the transfer window.