Manchester City remain top of the league on goal difference though it could have been a different story after week 11 with Manchester City almost slipping to Norwich at home with a late penalty saving them from some embarrassment. Leicester remain in hot form to deservedly sit in 3rd place after some exciting football so far though I’d question how long they can continue that run of form. Looking ahead to the weekend and it should be another turbulent round of football. Particular attention will be on the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham given just 5 points separate the two whilst Chelsea’s trip to Stoke could spell the end of Mourinho if they don’t get back to winning ways soon.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 5th November
Bournemouth ($2.3) versus Newcastle ($3.1), Draw ($3.4)
Newcastle travelling down to Bournemouth certainly isn’t a glamour matchup but it’s quite a difficult one to pick. Bournemouth have lost their last 4 games in all competitions and their last win was over a Sunderland side back in September who at the time were sitting bottom of the league. To their credit though, they do seem like a side that gives it their all and I’d expect nothing less against Newcastle here. Newcastle have been on one of their better runs the past few games by taking 4 points of their 7 in the last 3 games but still have a lot of work to do to claw their way out of the relegation zone. After seemingly solving their scoring issues with those 6 goals against Norwich, they seem to be unable to score again after failing to score against Sunderland and then Stoke at the weekend. I can’t see this one being a scoreless affair given Bournemouth have only kept the one clean sheet but equally I can’t see Newcastle winning this on current form given Bournemouth at times are capable of some defensive solidity.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.62 (85%)
Next Best: Bournemouth to win either half at $1.61
Sunderland ($4.5) versus Southampton ($1.8), Draw ($3.7)
After a morale boosting win over rivals Newcastle a few weeks back, it was back to defeats for Sunderland as they let 6 slip through against Everton at the weekend. To be fair, Sunderland were back in the game early in the second half but it unravelled after a Coates own goal that kind of opened the flood gates. It doesn’t give them much confidence for the visit of Southampton who’ve been cruising along undefeated in their last 5 with 3 wins. Perhaps what makes it even more difficult for Sunderland here is that Southampton are yet to lose away from home, even if they have only registered the 1 win from 5 with the remaining being draws. It seems as though they’ve been playing with a bit more caution away from home because that’s generally where it’s hardest to get points. Given their last two away games at Chelsea and Liverpool have been pretty tricky contests, you’d have to think they are a strong chance to take the 3 points here.
Predicted score: Southampton 2-1
Best Bet: Southampton to win at $1.8 (80%)
Next Best: Southampton to score 2 or more goals at $1.83
West Ham ($2.5) versus Everton ($2.8), Draw ($3.4)
The Hammers have been on an impressive run of form but were stopped last time out by a well-structured Watford who themselves have been impressive at times this season. It goes with the argument that the Hammers sometimes aren’t as effective against the smaller sides as shown by draws to Sunderland and Norwich, and losses to Leicester, Bournemouth, and now Watford. It makes this fixture an intriguing one because Everton are in-between those regularly fighting for top 4 and those that tend to dwell outside the top 10. Everton have been good this season but haven’t been spectacular though they have only lost away from home once in 5 games. It’s interesting too that despite West Ham’s strong season thus far, their home record is mixed with 2 wins, 2 losses, and a draw. They are undefeated in their last 3 home games so they have some momentum there that you would think they could build on. They don’t have a great record recently against Everton though with Everton winning the last 6 meetings in the Premier League. For me though I’m leaning towards this being a draw with the edge to West Ham and one where there should be a few goals.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.74 (85%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.57
Leicester ($1.85) versus Watford ($4.33), Draw ($3.6)
This is another really interesting matchup as Leicester have no doubt been excellent this season and are starting to develop a never give up attitude. Watford though are a really well drilled side and they don’t give much away as shown by their impressive defensive record of only 10 goals conceded in 11 games. In comparison, newly promoted Bournemouth (24) and Norwich (23) have both conceded more than double what Watford has. Perhaps their issue is more up front having only scored 10 times with a fair bit of reliance on Ighalo who has scored 7 of those. There’s a lot to like about Watford though and having a solid defence is the best way to start building on a successful season. Leicester of course have scored a lot of goals this season with 23 but they haven’t really convinced against typically strong defensive sides this season. Perhaps the exception is that 7 goal game with Arsenal where they scored twice whilst at home to Tottenham they only broke through for 1 goal and against Palace who’ve conceded just the 11 times they didn’t manage to score. It’s not a lot to go by but Watford’s defensive record has been impressive in my eyes. I’m not totally convinced that Watford will be able to completely shut down Leicester but I’m optimistic enough that they may be able to scramble a point from this one.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.99 (70%)
Next Best: Half with most goals – Second Half at $2.05
Manchester United ($1.33) versus West Brom ($10), Draw ($5)
There’s been some great battles between these two in recent meetings with the Baggies winning 2 of the last 5 along with 2 draws and a United win. Interestingly both of West Brom’s wins came at Old Trafford and given United haven’t impressed overly in their past few matches it wouldn’t be a huge shock if they managed to get something from this one. United had their first win in 5 matches in all competitions when they beat CSKA Moscow in the Champions League during the week but perhaps what is most alarming for LVG is that they have only scored 3 times in those 5 games. It’s becoming an issue for United that they just can’t score enough goals at the moment and it’s coming through in their league performances with just the 15 goals scored from 11 games. West Brom set up well away from home too which could make this a really tight one with West Brom conceding just the 2 goals from 5 games which came in their 2-0 loss to Palace. That will give them great confidence heading into this one. I’m not really convinced that West Brom will win but there’s no doubt they can grab a draw here if they play the way they have been away from home. Either way I’d expect this to be a low scoring contest and maybe even a scoreless one.
Predicted score: Draw 0-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.82 (80%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – No at $1.57
Norwich ($2.5) versus Swansea ($2.9), Draw ($3.25)
The struggles continue at Norwich with another loss last time out to make it 4 losses straight. To their credit they gave Manchester City a scare but the mental hurdle of another loss can be hard to get over. Swansea won’t be easy despite their indifferent form of late winning just 1 of their last 7 in the league. To be fair, they have had a pretty tough run over that period with games against Everton, Tottenham, Southampton, Stoke, and Arsenal. Swansea are clearly a much better side than what they have been dishing up lately and you’d think they could get an away win here against a Norwich side that are low on confidence. I’m not sure it will be particularly straight forward but we may see a few goals in this one given Norwich’s pretty poor defending of late.
Predicted score: Swansea 2-1
Best Bet: Swansea to win either half at $1.92 (85%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.93
Stoke ($3.75) versus Chelsea ($2.05), Draw ($3.4)
Well a win for Mourinho in the Champions League has perhaps bought him some extra time as they head back into the league fixtures this weekend when they travel to Stoke. It’s clear Chelsea are struggling after 3 losses from their last 4 and Stoke isn’t an easy place to win especially when you’re out of form and confidence isn’t that high. Stoke are a pretty physical side so you’d expect them to be getting right into this one and not giving Chelsea much room which could mean another difficult day for Mourinho. Whilst Stoke haven’t been great at home just taking the 4 points from a possible 15, it’s hard to see that as an advantage for Chelsea. They just can’t seem to get on the same page and it hasn’t helped with stars like Costa, Hazard, Matic, and Fabregas not playing at the high level they set last season. Chelsea may well come out and win this but there’s pretty low confidence that they can get that result.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.83 (75%)
Next Best: Stoke Handicap +1 at $1.72
Aston Villa ($7.5) versus Manchester City ($1.44), Draw ($4.33)
The sacking of Sherwood had to come but it came at a really tough run of fixtures for Villa and new boss Remi Garde who watched on as they lost 3-1 to Tottenham last time out. Manchester City is massive for them this weekend and we’ll get a better sense of how Garde wants his new side to play when he takes charge in this one. It’s certainly not impossible but it’s pretty difficult to see them getting much out of this one other than a competitive display in a similar fashion to what Norwich threw at City last week. City have had a pretty tough couple of contests in the league with a draw at Man United followed by a nervy win over Norwich at home. In all competitions though across their last 3 they’ve got back to scoring ways with 5 against Palace in the Capital One Cup, 2 against Norwich, and another 3 at Sevilla in the Champions League. Villa have been far from defensively solid and it points to a potentially big loss this week. One thing that may mitigate that is that Villa should be livelier under Garde for the first time so I’m expecting to see a much more positive performance from them than against Tottenham. They showed flashes of intent against Tottenham but not enough. In the end I think Villa will be competitive here but it won’t be enough.
Predicted score: Manchester City 2-1
Best Bet: A goal scored in both Halves – Yes at $1.61 (85%)
Next Best: Manchester City Half-Time/Full-Time at $2.1
Arsenal ($1.67) versus Tottenham ($5), Draw ($4)
The big fixture of the weekend sees Arsenal hosting arch rivals Tottenham. Just 5 points separate the two on the table so a win for both sides is massive with Arsenal able to extend themselves 8 points ahead with a win whilst Tottenham can close the gap to 2 points if they get the points here. I think Tottenham will fancy themselves as well after an undefeated run in the league since the opening day. For Arsenal though they could be really dangerous as they would no doubt be pretty wounded after getting thumped 5-1 by Bayern Munich away in the Champions League this week coming down from the high of beating them 2-0 in the reverse fixture. The last 3 times these two have met at the Emirates we’ve seen some pretty tight contests with no more than 2 goals scored which isn’t usually how these games go. Of the last 13 meetings in all competitions 10 have seen both sides scoring whilst 9 have seen the game end over 2.5 goals. The last two times the games have headed back in that direction and I’m inclined to think that will be the same here this week. Both have been defensively excellent this season conceding just the 17 goals between them but a lot of that will go out the window as this is a must win for both. As for a winner I’m a bit biased here as a Tottenham fan so I’m naturally going for a Tottenham win but regardless I think we’ll see goals from both sides.
Predicted score: Tottenham 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.56 (90%)
Next Best: Half time Draw at $2.3
Liverpool ($1.73) versus Crystal Palace ($5), Draw ($3.7)
The Klopp era got a first win last time out against no better an opponent to do so than against a struggling Chelsea side. They also did it away from home and whilst a lot of sides might be beating Chelsea at the moment and they had some luck go their way in the game, it’s still a win and one that could kick things into gear for Klopp. The problem is they are coming up against a better side at the moment this week in Crystal Palace. Palace sit just 1 point behind Liverpool on the table but do need to improve if they are to get something from this one. With no wins in their last 3, Palace could be up against it with Liverpool boosted by that Chelsea win last week. They will have maybe a slight advantage in that Liverpool have to travel to Russia for a Europa League fixture this week and so far haven’t registered a win after a Europa League fixture this season with 3 draws. They are however undefeated in their last 10 games and for me that first win under Klopp I think will give them a lot of confidence as well as the home support a lot of confidence for this one. Palace will be right there with them but I think Liverpool will get the 3 points.
Predicted score: Liverpool 2-1
Best Bet: Liverpool to win at $1.73 (75%)
Next Best: Liverpool to score 2 or more goals at $1.78