The title-wrapping, Diop cross-dressing Premier Preview

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So it all comes down to this: one weekend of furious interplay to see who will win between the Scotsman in red seeking a fourth consecutive reign and the rich poshos in blue hated by everyone who doesn't support them.

And this is satire, is it?

Comparisons between the General Election and the Premier League title run-in have been rife – and rough – over the past month but it really is comparable. The only difference is that in the election, nobody really won. To Inside Track's knowledge, that's not a possibility in the Prem.

Anyway, we've all heard enough and will be hearing plenty more about the election to avoid more talk about it now. Besides, this is much more important, and won't keep us on the beer and ProPlus until 7 in the morning (unless, of course, there's a hell of a lot of injury time at Old Trafford).

So for the last time, let's take a look at the weekend's Premier League fixtures and see if we can get a couple of predictions right for a change.


Arsenal vs Fulham

Ahead of the Europa League final on Wednesday and after having an appeal to play 24 hours earlier turned down (good), the Cottagers are likely to field a weakened team yet again.

However, they'll probably escape the wrath of the Premier League due to being, well, Fulham and on the brink of a major European trophy. Besides, it's Roy Hodgson. You can't be mean to Roy Hodgson.

After all, it's not like chief whiner Wenger is going to complain, is it?

What won't happen: Amazingly, Arsenal could slip to fourth and Spurs steal third with the right results today. Unfortunately for 'Arry's men, that would involve the Gunners losing at home to Fulham for the first time in their history

What will happen: The Cottagers' confidence is dampened by a good old-fashioned thrashing

Aston Villa vs Blackburn

Somehow, the title race is the only one of three major Premier League battles to be decided on the final day. That's certainly not what this blog predicted.

Yet Hull, Burnley and Pompey have been relegated and Spurs have taken the fourth Champions League spot with time to spare, meaning this potential final charge for Villa is now more like a jog around the block in preparation for next season.

Villa could still finish fifth ahead of Manchester City and it doesn't take Willy Wonka to know that would taste sweet.

James Milner celebrates his 200th league start – in his career, not this season – and Ashley Young marks his 150th game for Villa, which isn't quite the same milestone, but still, clap clap.

What won't happen: No goals from Steven Nzonzi or El-Hadji Diouf today, as they're absent with wisdom teeth pain and tonsillitis respectively. Rock 'n' roll

What will happen: Big Sam operates on the pair himself but Villa ignore the screams of agony to win comfortably

Bolton vs Birmingham

Even though the final relegation places have been settled, such is the closeness of the teams who have survived that Bolton could finish anywhere from 14th to 17th after this game.

It sounds a bit pointless but the money involved can be so different, and sadly that's what it comes down to these days.

Good news for Birmingham, then, because a top-half finish is all but guaranteed. That's presuming that they don't lose, Stoke don't win and Blackburn don't win 7-0. Again: guaranteed.

What won't happen: It won't be a thriller...

What will happen: ...but it will be a score draw

Burnley vs Spurs

Wow. WOW. Spurs have finished fourth. Actually finished fourth. Even Cap'n Mad wouldn't have bet on that.

Cue some crazy scenes from The Elbow Room in Tottenham, in which Sky Sports chose to film their reaction shots.

Fortunately, your correspondent was definitely sensible enough to stay at home, get an early night and not be filmed giving everyone around him a hug and breathlessly ranting into a microphone that Arsenal are watching their backs.

What won't happen: Unlike their relegation buddies, Burnley won't crash and burn financially and freefall into League Two. They're in a good state and could even be back up in a few years. Probably not, though.

What will happen: Jermaine Jenas scores on his return to the starting XI. Eidur Gudjohnsen does not. A great performance from Burnley earns them a deserved point

Chelsea vs Wigan

It's a big game for Chelsea and they should rise to the occasion, but it will be interesting to see how Wigan approach the game. Summarily dismissed, written off like a clumsy first date with the girl next door, they have nothing to play for.

But do Martinez's men have the mental strength to spring a surprise? It hasn't looked that way all season, but you never know...

What won't happen: Actually, we do know: Wigan will not be springing any surprises.

What will happen: Chelsea wrap up the title in a big blue jumper on happy home turf

Everton vs Portsmouth

It's been a season of two halves for both teams: Everton started disastrously and improved so much they'll finish in eighth, while Portsmouth's season became steadily worse and now face debts of £135 million.

It's all right, all they need to do is dress Papa Bouba Diop as a woman, lure Cristiano Ronaldo into a hotel room, film the results and blackmail him. They'll pick up the first mil in loose change.

What won't happen: Pompey bounce back into the Prem next season.

What will happen: Home win

Hull vs Liverpool

So Liverpool's debts are in the stratosphere, Benitez may be on the move and they're going to finish seventh – good thing Portsmouth didn't apply in time for a European license or else the Reds wouldn't have been in Europe at all next year – but there's some good news for fans.

@Lucasleiva21, sadly no longer with us, has won the coveted 'Best Twitterer Pretending To Be A Footballer' award for the season.

It's a surprise snatch for the not-really-Brazilian ahead of strong contenders, but his 'updates' from the Liverpool team bus on the epic trip to Spain created some unforgettable images.

He continued for a short while into the Gerrard scandal, too, boasting "Got a text from Stevie! So pleased! I think Im winning him over. He wants the squad to go out for a drink to help him forget about something."

In second place: @dimi_berbatov, for portraying the Bulgarian stroller as "Gentleman first, footballer second." In his busy private life: "Tonight I put on ballroom class for some of the lads, I take out insurance for hargreaves" and "hopefully draw bordeaux in the champions league, cellar needs to be replenished."

Third but still brilliant: @TheBig_Sam. "Get in – my vintage WWF Legion of Doom spiky shoulderpads have arrived from the internet. Lets see that **** in Homebase throw me now."

What won't happen: Can't see him getting any worse either. Wonderful account of Big Sam on Meow Meow, involving dressing like Colonel Gaddafi, ripping off the Sky dish and trying to leap into heaven before shaving off some intimate hairs, gluing them to his upper lip and chanting "To me, to you."

What will happen: Liverpool win.

Manchester United vs Stoke

It's out of their hands now: there's nothing Manchester United can do except beat Stoke and hope. They'll miss the injured Antonio Valencia, but Owen Hargreaves might get a longer run-out than the utterly pointless 30 seconds against Sunderland, in which he just about had time to watch the ball fly over his head.

Stoke recovered from some unfortunate leaks – get your mind out of the gutter – to beat Fulham away, so hopefully for them that punch-up should be in the past. For our collective sanity, that's probably for the best.

What won't happen: Sir Alex to retire, EVER

What will happen: Home win

West Ham vs Manchester City

Scott Parker has his own little family of stalkers at Upton Park: after David Gold confessed he'd sell anyone apart from the Parkster, Gianfranco Zola has now backed Parker for the World Cup, not at all overstating his worth. Take that as sarcasm if you want – it's up to you.

Manchester City...well.  Would they have done better if Mark Hughes hadn't been booted out? Would they have done better if Roberto Mancini wore a different scarf? It's a question of ifs and buts, and sadly for their investors that's not good enough. And after they spent all that money, too.

It's a crying shame, it really is.

What won't happen: Mancini won't be sacked until at least six months' time. Maybe four. Three if they have a bad pre-season.

What will happen: Away win

Wolves vs Sunderland

"Take a look at me now," Mick McCarthy could but probably won't sing as his former club Sunderland pop down to Molineux for the day.

The Black Cats were twice relegated under the Irishman, but he's shown he can keep a weak side alive in the Premier League with the mighty Wolves, who have a shot at finishing 14th if they win here.

Of course, the other way of looking at it is that they've scored the least goals at home of any club this season (11), but let's not dwell on the negatives, shall we?

With that in mind, then, let's focus on how Sunderland have scored their highest total of points in the top flight since 2001 and not on how they've recorded only two away wins in 18 attempts.

What won't happen: Lee Cattermole won't feature due to a dislocated shoulder. Man up, Cattermole! It's your shoulder, not your feet. It's not like you need your shoulder to play football, is it?

What will happen: Home win helps McCarthy's men to finish on a high.

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