English Premier League – Match Day 2

English Premier League - Football

Match Day 2 gets underway this week with first kick off Saturday morning with Aston Villa hosting Manchester United. Both teams had a win last week which is the most important thing but they also had another game to bed in their new players. The remainder of the round will have a fair bit of focus on the Manchester City and Chelsea game with the prospect of a loss for Chelsea putting them 5 points off the pace in their title defence having drawn to Swansea at home last weekend. For the neutral though it makes for an enticing matchup and hopefully Mourinho’s defensive tendencies against the top sides aren’t as effective to make for an entertaining contest.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 13th August

Aston Villa ($5.5) versus Manchester United ($1.67), Draw ($3.8)

Regardless of the way in which they achieved it, 3 points for both these sides last week was a great start to the season. Villa managed to navigate their way to a 1-0 win over Bournemouth away from home in tricky circumstances with a lot of excitement and passion for the newly promoted team. Bournemouth certainly came out on top in terms of possession and shots on goal (11, 3 on target) but they didn’t take their chances in the first half which could have ultimately won them the game. In the end Villa won after registering just the 5 shots on goal which is fairly on trend with their efforts last season. Away from home last season Villa averaged the 7th lowest shots on goal per game at 10.3 and at home it wasn’t much higher. I think until they at least bed their players in and get their attacking game going that Sherwood likes, so they may struggle for the next few weeks to generate the chances they need to win games. United against Spurs last week allowed 9 shots on goal (7 on target) but despite some question marks over their new look defence, such as new keeper Romero (who looked a little nervy at times), they still managed a clean sheet. New right back Darmian looks absolute quality both offensively and defensively and will be a handful for a lot of sides this season. Villa no doubt have lot of work to do and likewise for United but United should be too strong here. They have a great record over Villa winning 5 of the last 6 and should get their 2nd win of the season.
Predicted score: Manchester United 2-0
Best Bet: Manchester United to win at $1.67 (90%)
Next Best: Manchester United to lead at Half-Time at $2.2

Southampton ($1.91) versus Everton ($4.2), Draw ($3.5)

Week 1 can always be a tricky contest and it was no exception for Southampton and Everton who drew with Newcastle and Watford respectively. The Everton game was a little more surprising of the two results given they had home advantage but it just goes to show how unpredictable this league can be at times. They now face a really tough away game here against a Southampton side that finished 7th last season. Despite losing some quality players last season, they still showed they have the quality to emulate last season despite their draw against a refreshed Newcastle side. They created a heap of chances last week with 15 shots on goal (7 on target) and they should have the upper hand against Everton this week. Everton were perhaps a little lucky to get away with a point after going 2-1 down with around 7 minutes of normal time to play with an 86th minute equaliser from Kone saving them from some embarrassment on opening day. Despite dominating possession at 67% they weren’t able to contain Watford as they should have and probably allowed them a couple too many chances on goal with 5 shots on target. Coming up against a stronger attack in Southampton away might be a little too much for them. I’d expect to see a better overall performance from Everton but the same can be said of Southampton who’ll also want to win their first home game of the season. Everton haven’t had a great time at Southampton recently either having failed to score in their last 3 visits with the Saints winning the last two.
Predicted score: Southampton 2-0
Best Bet: Southampton to win at $1.91 (80%)
Next Best: Exactly 2 or 3 goals at $1.99

Sunderland ($2.5) versus Norwich ($2.9), Draw ($3.25)

It was a shocking start to the season for Sunderland as their defence was torn to pieces by Leicester being 3-0 down at the 25 minute mark. To their credit they fought back to lose 4-2 but the damage was done and it was done early. The new defensive partnership of Coates and Kaboul will need time and patience if it’s to be persisted with this week. That is something Norwich may look to try and take advantage of this week as they were able to create enough chances against Crystal Palace but weren’t able to effectively take them by losing 3-1. It makes for an interesting contest with both sides desperate for a win but I can see Sunderland taking something from last week and being better defensively. Norwich will no doubt push hard and create some chances but Sunderland can bounce back at home with last week being a bit of a blip by an effective Leicester. It’s not to say Sunderland won’t have some defensive lapses but they should be a bit more switched on this week and I think that will be Advocaat’s focus here.
Predicted score: Sunderland 1-0
Best Bet: Half-time draw at $1.91 (75%)
Next Best: Under 2.5 goals at $1.64

Swansea ($1.95) versus Newcastle ($4), Draw ($3.5)

Swansea are making a habit of starting the season well having beaten Manchester United away last season and this season backing it up with a 2-2 draw away to Chelsea. It’s a result that will give them a boost ahead of their first home game of the season when they host Newcastle. The odds will be well in their favour as well given they’ve won 5 of the last 6 against Newcastle and should probably add another win here. In those past 6 meetings, both sides have scored in 4 of them and 5 have ended over 2.5 goals. Given Newcastle let through 2 against Southampton last week and still have work to defensively, an over 2.5 score-line is looking likely. Add to that the improvement in personal up front for Newcastle through the likes of Wijnaldum and they themselves should provide some problems defensively for Swansea. This is one for Swansea though and a home win will be the first of many for them this season.
Predicted score: Swansea 2-1
Best Bet: Swansea to win at $1.95 (85%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.8

Tottenham ($1.75) versus Stoke ($5), Draw ($3.6)

With Tottenham losing both games against Stoke last season, there’s plenty to play for here as they look to get one back from last season. Tottenham will also be looking to build on a good performance at Manchester United last week where they were perhaps unlucky to at least take a point and maybe more if not for that own goal. Regardless though, there was a significant improvement in this side that struggled defensively last season. They’ll need to be wary of the unknown of Stoke’s new signing Xherdan Shaqiri and what impact he could have here as on his day he’s an attacking genius. Stoke will be a good side this season but they’ll need some time to bed in new signings such as Afellay and Van Ginkel. What these new players will bring is the ability to create more chances and if they’re to win here they will need more than the 5 shots (3 on target) they had on goal against Liverpool last week. If Tottenham are switched on defensively they should win this. They only allowed United 2 shots on target last week and with the added bonus of the likely return of Lloris it makes it a little more difficult for Stoke. I’m not sure if there will be a lot of goals in this one but Tottenham should notch up their first win of the season.
Predicted score: Tottenham 2-0
Best Bet: Exactly 2 or 3 goals at $2
Next Best: Tottenham to win at $1.75

Watford ($2.3) versus West Brom ($3.2), Draw ($3.3)

A first home game for Watford could be dangerous for a West Brom side that were well beaten by Manchester City earlier in the week. It is of course a different level of opposition with City in great touch to start the season and to Pulis’s credit he admitted he didn’t use the right formation. By going with a 4-4-2 he allowed the likes of David Silva way too much room to create when he should have packed the midfield with 1 striker up front. It makes for an interesting approach then to this game against Watford. They obviously don’t have the quality of a Manchester City so Pulis may keep to the same formation at the start for this one. Watford though will be pretty confident after their away 2-2 draw at Everton first up and so I think West Brom can expect a tough game here. There’s some quality in this Watford side, but one of the things against them is they have a lot of new faces that will need some time still to adjust. I really like Watford have done so far and was impressed with their efforts at Everton in their first game but I’m a fan of Pulis too and I think he’ll get his side to bounce back. Berahino didn’t have a great game against Manchester City but he’ll be eager to get something out of this one. It’s difficult to underestimate Watford at home here but I can see Pulis getting his side up for a tight win here.
Predicted score: West Brom 2-1
Best Bet: West Brom Draw No Bet at $2.32 (75%)
Next Best: West Brom to win either half at $2.13

West Ham ($2.3) versus Leicester ($3.2), Draw ($3.3)

An early season top 4 clash here after both sides recorded strong wins last week with West Ham’s win at Arsenal one of the standout performances of the week if not THE standout performance. The spoils were shared between these two last season with Leicester winning their home encounter and likewise for West Ham. I don’t want to diminish Leicester’s performance last week but I wonder the result may have been if not against such a poor Sunderland side. Similarly for West Ham you have to wonder if they can back up such an excellent performance against Arsenal. There didn’t really seem to be much of a weak link across the pitch and when they had the chances they took them. For me there will be more pressure on West Ham to get the win here and not purely because it’s a home game. The way in which they won last week creates a lot of hope and with that hope comes some expectation so how they handle that will be key to a result here. For Leicester it feels like they really have nothing to lose and that creates a danger for West Ham. Leicester has great pace and Mahrez in particular will be a handful after his brace against Sunderland. As a result though you would think this is West Ham’s to lose but for me the unknown of what Leicester may throw up makes that result a little hazy. I’ll back West Ham for the win but I think it will be a close and entertaining contest.
Predicted score: West Ham 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.82 (80%)
Next Best: A goal scored in both halves – Yes at $1.72

Crystal Palace ($4.75) versus Arsenal ($1.75), Draw ($3.75)

With plenty of optimism around Crystal Palace this season and having won through their first game against Norwich 3-1, they’ll be optimistic themselves that they can beat Arsenal at home. For me I’m not as optimistic and I don’t think that there’s all of a sudden doom and gloom at Arsenal because of such a bad loss to start the season against West Ham. In 2013/14 you might remember Arsenal losing their opening day game against Villa 3-1 but they bounced back to win their next 5. Last season was a little different in that they started a little slow with 4 draws in their first 6 games but they didn’t lose until they met Chelsea in game 7. My point is that Arsenal are not a side that’s always easily beaten and whilst there’s always the possibility that Palace could cause another shock upset, I’m not so sure that will be the case. In saying that, defensively Palace were pretty good last week with Norwich controlling possession throughout and created a number of chances with the difference being Palace were more clinical with their chances. That will give them some confidence as they come into a game against an attack that looked a little lost last weekend. The key to this game will be whether Arsenal play the way we know they can. I think they’ll be better than last week and they’ll probably sneak a win here but it will be a close game.
Predicted score: Arsenal 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.81 (85%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.72

Manchester City ($2.15) versus Chelsea ($3.5), Draw ($3.4)

These are the matchups that we all look forward to but so often they end up being a bit flat and defensively focused. That’s the way Mourinho likes it though and it was a key to their success against their title rivals last season. There has been little to separate these two in their recent games with the last two being 1-1 draws and their last 4 in all competitions all ending under 2.5 goals. Adding to the intrigue for this contest though is of course how Chelsea will bounce back from their 2-2 draw at home to Swansea last week as well as the absence of Courtois thanks to a red card. Manchester City had a great run out against West Brom with a 3-0 win and regardless of the opposition, they looked in good touch in particular Silva and Toure. Likewise Kompany had a good run out after a tough 2014/15 campaign. It’ll be interesting how they go in this one as they had a lot of space to run around against West Brom last week with Pulis admitting he should have played with a 5 man midfield to reduce the impact Silva had on the game. Chelsea certainly won’t make it as easy this week so it’s going to be a pretty tough slog in the middle of the pitch to take control of the ball. There is a bit of a sense of frustration around Chelsea at the moment after last week so they’ll need to refocus quickly because losing this one will put them 5 points behind Manchester City. For me I think this will be another tight game with Chelsea not wanting to give much away and not allowing City the time and space in midfield to create too much. There will be chances for both but I can’t see this being a blowout.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.75 (80%)
Next Best: Half-time Draw at $2

Liverpool ($1.44) versus Bournemouth ($8), Draw ($4.33)

A sweet strike from Coutinho secured a late victory and revenge for that 6-1 humiliation last season for Liverpool at Stoke time out. It gives them a big boost ahead of their first home game of the season against newcomers Bournemouth and I’d be looking for a few goals in this one at least. Liverpool still need time to settle their side but a good home win here will go a long way to building that confidence they need to face the likes of Arsenal, West Ham, and Manchester United in the following 3 games. They played their best football at home last season as well although they would have been disappointed losing 4 games at home with 2 of those against Villa and Palace. They certainly didn’t reach the heights either of the 2013/14 season in their scoring power with last season down by 23 goals but through the likes of Benteke up front, a proven top flight goal scorer, you would think they should be able to add another 5-10 goals at home this season. This could be a dangerous result for Bournemouth. Despite losing 1-0 to Villa in their first game, they had plenty of positives in particular not changing the way they play. They created more chances and were probably a bit unlucky to not score. I can see them taking it up to Liverpool here and they’ll again have chances but it’s difficult to see them winning away at Anfield. Liverpool can be punishing on the counter through their pace and I think they’ll get the strong win they’re looking for.
Predicted score: Liverpool 3-0
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.74 (85%)
Next Best: Liverpool to lead at half-time at $1.91



As an Australian growing up AFL was always my no.1 sport especially given I was lucky enough to grow up a few blocks from Carlton’s home ground, Princes Park, where I was lucky enough to attend many games. That’s where my passion for sport began but it was until the early 2000’s when I discovered a real passion for football with the Socceroos 2002 World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay accelerating my football journey. From there I began to follow the Premier League and haven’t looked back since. These days I’m a massive Tottenham fan where I’ve enjoyed many sleepless nights religiously watching them without missing a game despite many roller coaster feelings. There’s just something magical and glamorous when you watch the EPL and knowing the Profits owners Drew and Euan through studies, I’m now lucky enough to be able to share my thoughts on each game each week of the season.

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