The Premier League is back with plenty of action this weekend after the International break. There’s a fair few new faces in the league with the close of the transfer window 2 weeks ago and we should see a few debuts this weekend with perhaps the most notable being the expected debut of Falcao having made his loan move to Manchester United. Add his debut to the opening game of week 4 between Arsenal and Manchester City and we’re sure to be in for some entertaining football.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 13th September
Arsenal ($2.87) versus Manchester City ($2.5), Draw ($3.3)
What a great way to kick off week 4 with a big matchup with Arsenal hosting Manchester City. Both sides have had their ups and downs this season with Arsenal struggling to really control a match and finish it off whilst after 2 wins City crashed to a 1-0 loss at home against Stoke. It sets up an exciting match here with both sides in need of a win to keep in touch with title favourites Chelsea. Looking at Arsenal, they certainly have some issues upfront with the long term injury to Giroud crippling their striking options until of course they brought in Welbeck whom whilst somewhat maligned I think can be a success at Arsenal with the likes of Sanchez and Ozil feeding him the ball. It also makes for a very quick attacking front line for the Gunners that will no doubt cause plenty of sides trouble this season. If he can gel quickly with his new teammates then I’m sure he’ll hit the ground running and the confidence boost of scoring twice for England during the week will certainly do no harm. For City they really need to focus on creating more in the final third as they were really choked out of the game against Stoke last week despite having a massive 73% possession which really goes to show only one stat matters, and that’s goals. We should see a bigger threat from City this week in response to such a poor result at home against Stoke. Arsenal have been far from convincing this season with a late win over Palace, a late draw with Everton , and another draw against Leicester proving to be an underwhelming start to their season.
Predicted score: Manchester City 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.62 (75%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.78
Chelsea ($1.33) versus Swansea ($10), Draw ($5)
It may well be early in the season but it’s interesting here that we have a top of the table clash between Chelsea and Swansea. I for one didn’t see Swansea having a perfect start with 3 wins to kick off their 2014/15 campaign but having seen what they’ve done thus far they have certainly deserved it. It’s fair to say though that their opponents this week have been another level above the rest of the competition with 3 excellent wins led by Diego Costa who has 4 goals from 3 games and looks very much at home in the EPL thus far. This will no doubt be their biggest test thus far against a rampant Chelsea attack that look in no mood to slow down under Mourinho. I kind of wonder here also of how much Swansea will want to win after 3 wins in the bag which makes me feel as though they could take their foot off the pedal early especially if Chelsea score early as they will be pretty hard to stop. Swansea’s chances will again sit with Sigurdsson who’s had an excellent start to the season with a goal and 4 assists to his name already. Perhaps more importantly though will be Bony who’s had a pretty quiet start to the season but if he can impose himself on this game early then we could be in for a pretty exciting contest. Whilst I’m hoping for an exciting contest I can’t see anything but a Chelsea win here as they push on for their 4th win.
Predicted score: Chelsea 3-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.7 (90%)
Next Best: Diego Costa to score anytime at $1.62
Crystal Palace ($2.25) versus Burnley ($3.4), Draw ($3.2)
Neil Warnock’s Crystal Palace take on Burnley this weekend in a battle to get off the foot of the table with both sides claiming just the one point so far this season. Palace put in a pretty good performance away at Newcastle last time out to claim their first point of the season and they’ll be looking to build on that in their first home game under Warnock. After a tumultuous start to the season with the resignation of Pulis, it’s starting to look a lot more optimistic at Palace. The return of Zaha on loan from Manchester United is a good one and I think he’ll slot back in nicely and show again why Manchester United paid a high price for him. Their opponents have had a tough run of opponents to start their campaign but they’ve showed some promise albeit without the desired results. They are perhaps 1 point ahead of where they should be in a run of games against Chelsea, Swansea, and Manchester United, and I think the draw against Manchester United showed that they can compete in this league even if it was against a very poor Manchester United side on the day. For this weekend though I’m not sure if they can improve their record. Palace are generally very hard to beat at home and I think Warnock has had a really good impact on the players thus far which should see them get a win here. After all they haven’t lost to Burnley at home since 2001.
Predicted score: Crystal Palace 1-0
Best Bet: Crystal Palace Draw No Bet at $1.51 (95%)
Next Best: Crystal Palace to win at $2.25
Southampton ($1.83) versus Newcastle ($4.5), Draw ($3.6)
Southampton take on the misfiring Newcastle this weekend with Newcastle desperate to get their first win of the season. For all their good signings over the transfer window things just haven’t clicked yet for Newcastle, though it’s certainly too early to be anything to worry too much about. They finally scored in their last game against Palace at home which in many ways should break the shackles in their games moving forward but they lacked a little defensive tightness to close out the game. The addition of Siem De Jong to their injury list is a bit of a blow as he’d looked like he was starting to hit good form. Things are looking a little more positive at Southampton with their strong 3-1 win over West Ham away with a brace from Schneiderlin and a late goal from new signing Pelle closing out their first 3 points of the season. This is a great opportunity for the Saints to get another win at home against Newcastle. I think this one is going to see Newcastle leave empty handed and still in search of their first win but at the very least they should get a goal.
Predicted score: Southampton 2-1
Best Bet: Southampton to win either Half at $1.41 (75%)
Next Best: Both teams to score at $1.83
Stoke ($2.1) versus Leicester ($3.75), Draw ($3.3)
Stoke will be high on confidence after a fantastic win away at Manchester City last time out and they’ll be confident of backing it up against Leicester this weekend. They’ll need to be careful thought that they don’t get too confident as often the case can be that after such a big result sides can fall flat the following game. Leicester are another side looking for their first win of the season and they again face a tough ask here having already attempting to do so against Everton, Chelsea, and Arsenal. To their credit though they’ve snatched 2 points from Everton and Arsenal which is a lot more than what most would have thought. For me though the key to that has been those results have been at home and I think that’ll be their strength this season. Playing away is what will test them and Stoke are always a tough ask to beat at home. Stoke have built on their well known defensive strength with a much more creative attack with the likes of Moses, Bojan, and Diouf transforming their attack and once they click they’ll be a pretty handy side at both ends of the pitch. I’ve been impressed by both sides but I’m not convinced just yet that Leicester can get the job done away from home. They could be a good shot at a draw here but I think Stoke may have a little too much in this one.
Predicted score: Stoke 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.57 (80%)
Next Best: Draw no bet Stoke at $1.43
Sunderland ($3.5) versus Tottenham ($2.15), Draw ($3.6)
Spurs travel to Sunderland this week as they look to bounce back from a thumping defeat against Liverpool last season which would have surely given them bad memories from last season. The score line wasn’t as embarrassing but it certainly showed they have a lot of work to do if they are to claw their way into the top 4 this season. it’s clear that defence is still the biggest issue against the big sides and they can’t afford to defend poorly this weekend albeit against a less potent side in Sunderland. Sunderland sit 13th still searching for their first 3 points of the season having drawn twice against West Brom and Manchester United with a defeat away against QPR last time out. There’s some promising signs for Sunderland but I just think they lack a real potent threat up front. Wickham is a player who grow into that threat up front on a more consistent basis but I’m not convinced him combined with Johnson and Buckley will be enough against Spurs here. Tottenham have won the past 4 meetings against Sunderland in the Premier League and I think it’ll be their 5th this weekend. Tottenham will be a side that’ll continue to struggle against the top sides this season but they have the personnel and game plan to get through the mid-tier to lower sides fairly easily.
Predicted score: Tottenham 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.95 (80%)
Next Best: Tottenham to win at $2.15
West Brom ($3.5) versus Everton ($2.2), Draw ($3.25)
It certainly hasn’t been an easy start for Everton this season with a tough run of games against Leicester, Arsenal, and Chelsea. With a record of 2 draws and 1 loss it’s certainly not the worst start they could have had but I’m sure they would be disappointed to not at least have 1 win especially after they suffered that late draw to Leicester when they looked home. The good thing about football though is they have another opportunity this week away at West Brom. For me West Brom have done better than expected with 2 draws although their 3-0 loss away at Swansea surely wouldn’t have done the confidence much good. They do however take on an Everton side that uncharacteristically has let through 11 goals in 3 games when they are normally very tight at the back. It makes me wonder whether perhaps age is catching up with the likes of Distin who at 36 doesn’t have age on his side. the real issue in this game I think will be for West Brom as they don’t have the best attack by any means and with just the 1 goal from open play so far, they’ll need to be at their best to get past Everton here. It’s early in the season but this is really a must win game for Everton and I’m backing them to get the job done in response to that hefty loss against Chelsea last time out.
Predicted score: Everton 3-0
Best Bet: Everton to win either half at $1.58 (80%)
Next Best: Everton to win at $2.2
Liverpool ($1.33) versus Aston Villa ($10), Draw ($5)
Last time out it was business as usual for Liverpool as they accounted for Tottenham in easy fashion with a convincing 3-0 win at White Hart Lane. They host Aston Villa here who themselves have been really impressive this season as they sit 3rd after 2 wins and a draw. Villa will back themselves here especially as they have a pretty solid record against Liverpool in their last 5 meetings with 2 draws, 1 win, and 2 losses. Their losses have only been by a 1 goal margin and given they arguably have a much better defence this season it could be a similarly close contest. Villa will however need to content with an increasingly improving Sterling and the new addition of Balotelli who should have had a brace against Spurs last week. A blow for Liverpool will be the absence of Sturridge to an injury though with Balotelli in the side I doubt it will hamper their chances too much this week. For me though it’s hard to go past Liverpool at home here as the crowd seems to always give them a massive boost and I’m backing Balotelli to score in his first game for Liverpool at Anfield.
Predicted score: Liverpool 3-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.51 (90%)
Next Best: Balotelli to score anytime at $1.72
Manchester United ($1.25) versus QPR ($11), Draw ($6)
Manchester United are in desperate need of a win as they look to explode their way off the bottom rungs of the table when they take on QPR this weekend at Old Trafford. A poor draw against Burnley last time out left a hell of a lot of question marks about how this United side will improve but there were some great signs from new signing Di Maria as he showed his clear quality with some great touches and passing. The optimism will be aplenty here among the United faithful after Rojo has finally been granted a work permit and he could well make his debut alongside fellow signings Blind and Falcao. It’ll be interesting to see how they line-up against QPR and whilst I have no doubt they’ll need more time to gel, I’m sure they are somewhat under less pressure knowing they are playing a QPR side that are susceptible to quality attacking outfits. Although QPR will be happy after a 1-0 win over Sunderland I don’t think they can be under illusions as to how difficult this game could turn out to be. If they somehow sneak the lead then the pressure could really heap on United and they could struggle once more but this surely has to be United’s first win of the season.
Predicted score: Manchester United 2-0
Best Bet: Manchester United to win 1st Half at $1.67 (70%)
Next Best: Manchester United to win to Nil at $1.97
Hull ($2.15) versus West Ham ($3.5), Draw ($3.3)
The final game of week 4 sees Hull host West Ham with West Ham looking to bounce back after a poor loss against Southampton last time out at home. Hull have been very ambitious through the transfer window and pulled off some brilliant business in bringing Abel Hernandez and Ben Arfa to add to their now many attacking options. It remains to be seen whether these two will get a start but at the very least I’d expect to see 1 or both get some action off the bench to provide that extra attacking threat. It’s that extra attacking threat that the Hammer’s will be wary of as well having conceded in each of their first 3 games. Combine this with the pressure on Big Sam to get a win and I think this one is really Hull’s to lose. A loss here for West Ham makes it their third of the season with a visit from Liverpool and a trip to Manchester United to follow. This could very well be the end of Sam Allardyce’s tenure at West Ham if results don’t go his way over the next 3 games. I can’t see the Hammer’s winning this one but a draw looks more likely with Hull needing a little more time to gel their new additions.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.57 (80%)
Next Best: A goal scored in Both Halves – No at $1.72
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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