Welcome to the week 5 preview of the English Premier League. There’s been some great football thus far and certainly a few surprises along the way but there’s a hell of a long way to go in 2014/15 starting with this weekend. All eyes are sure to be on the meeting between Chelsea and Manchester City in an early meeting between the two favourites to take out the title this season. Let’s just hope we get an entertaining game and not a dull contest with few opportunities as these contests can sometimes turn out to be.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 20th September
QPR ($2.7) versus Stoke ($2.75), Draw ($3.2)
We kick off week 5 with QPR hosting Stoke with both sides looking to bounce back after losses to Manchester United and Leicester respectively. For QPR it was another horrid performance away from home where they let through another 4 goals against United having already let through 4 against Spurs. Their home form however has been a lot better in contrast, albeit against somewhat lesser opposition with one win and one loss from their two games so far whilst conceding just the once. They come up against a Stoke side though that has played far better away from home with a win over Manchester City and a draw against Hull. For me, both these sides need more time to gel their new players together which has meant some indifferent results thus far. Both are struggling to find the back of the net which leads me to think this will be another low scoring contest. Redknapp will be pushing hard on his players to be more defensively accountable this week with Stoke looking to be a little more creative after their loss to Leicester. This could go either way but for me a low scoring draw looks likely.
Predicted score: Draw 0-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.5 (85%)
Next Best: Double Chance Stoke at $1.4
Aston Villa ($4.5) versus Arsenal ($1.85), Draw ($3.5)
The wins keep coming in for Aston Villa after a fantastic start to the season and they face another tough opponent this week in Arsenal who will be looking for their second win this weekend. It certainly won’t be easy for the Gunners though with Villa in excellent form with 3 wins a draw with their latest win away at Liverpool keeping their strong start alive. Perhaps the key though for Villa has been their excellent defence with just the 1 goal conceded which gives them the best defensive record in the league after 4 games. They’ll need that record to continue against the Gunners who look under immense pressure after some pretty poor results considering the talent they have. With 3 draws and the 1 win I think it’s safe to say we all expected better but in truth having watched some of their performances it’s probably about right and they really could have been worse off. Arsenal haven’t won in 3 weeks and will be keen to get on the front foot here after their Champions League loss to Dortmund during the week. One player in desperate need of form is Ozil having looked out of sorts in big patches of the season so far so if selected I’m sure he’ll be keen to build some form in this one. As a result goes though it’s difficult to pick a clear cut winner. Arsenal could well come out get a good win but Villa have been fantastic this season so far. I’m not convinced of an Arsenal win here and nor am I convinced of a Villa win so for me I think we may be in for another tight game with a draw looking like a fair outcome. Arsenal are yet to keep a clean sheet and I can’t see that trend stopping just yet with their defence looking pretty sloppy and injury ravaged so far.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: 1st Half Double Chance Aston Villa at $1.5 (70%)
Value option: Aston Villa to score exactly 1 goal at $2.4
Burnley ($2.5) versus Sunderland ($2.9), Draw ($3.25)
Burnley are still in search of a win this season as they prepare to take on Sunderland at home this weekend. With just the solitary goal scored in their opening 4 games as well it makes the injury worry over striker Danny Ings certainly not ideal. There’s no such concerns for Sunderland though as they look to build on a somewhat lucky draw with Tottenham last weekend. A win is what they need though having drawn 3 and lost 1 and this could be a good opportunity to grab that first win of 2014/15. They’ll need to be a lot more attacking here compared to their game against Tottenham having registered just the 1 shot on target. I think they’ll get back to their numbers in the first 3 games where they averaged 3.66 shots on target and whilst not huge numbers they did show a lot more intent. It’s still early in the season so I don’t think either side will be playing for a draw here in the hope of not dropping points so both sides will be out for a win. Burnley have been ok the past two games with 2 scoreless draws but this should be a different contest. Burnley won’t be easy but I can see Sunderland getting over the line here, just.
Predicted score: Sunderland 2-1
Best Bet: Half time draw at $1.91
Next Best: Draw no bet Sunderland at $2.06
Newcastle ($2.2) versus Hull ($3.5), Draw ($3.25)
Newcastle have had an incredibly tough start to the season and I don’t think many would have thought they’d be sitting at the bottom of the table after 4 games. At least though it’s only 4 games in and not 10-15 where they’d be staring at a relegation fight later on in the season so they have time to turn things around starting with Hull. They’ll be keen to bounce back as well from a big loss away at Southampton last weekend where they went down 4-0. Hull won’t be an easy opponent either although they too are looking for a win having not won since their opening game against QPR where they have since gone on to record 2 draws and 1 loss. Abel Hernandez looks like a great bit of business having scored against West Ham in their last game and could well be a big threat here against a confidence sapped Newcastle. Being a home game though I’m sure Newcastle won’t be playing for the draw if it comes to that, they’ll want the win which for me leads me to feel it’ll be a somewhat open contest. Hull have a lot more attacking options than they did last season but they’ve also let through 5 goals and although Newcastle have only scored 3 and in 1 game, I think it opens up the door a little for them this week. I can’t see a convincing win for either side here but I am leaning towards Newcastle slightly. If anything though we should see a few goals.
Predicted score: Newcastle for a tight 2-1 win.
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.83 (80%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $2.16
Swansea ($2.5) versus Southampton ($2.87), Draw ($3.3)
Swansea are another of those sides such as Aston Villa and Southampton that have exceeded expectations after 4 games. They sit 3rd on the table as they get ready for 4th placed Southampton which sets up the game for a good contest. It was all doom and gloom for Southampton before the season kicked off but their last 2 weeks have been absolutely fantastic with big wins over West Ham and Newcastle with 3 goals each to Schneiderlin and Pelle. It’s a big turnaround in form and looks as though the players are really starting to gel together nicely. Swansea won’t be as easy as their last two opponents though with a record of 3 wins and a loss with the loss coming to Chelsea last week. They played well against Chelsea though before Chelsea ran away with it in the second half so I don’t think we can look too much into that one as a blip in form by any means. With both sides in good form I think we could be in for a high scoring game here as they both look to extend their good starts. Pretty difficult to pick a winner from these two with a draw looking the go for me. If I had to pick I’d take Southampton as their last two wins would have instilled big belief amongst the players but in the end my pick is a draw.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.72 (85%)
Next Best: Second half to have the most goals at $2.09
West Ham ($4.33) versus Liverpool ($1.85), Draw ($3.6)
Liverpool take on West Ham this week in what looks to be a pretty interesting contest. Liverpool have stuttered a little after a bit of a shock home loss to Villa last weekend so they’ll be keen to get back to winning ways this weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how they cope after Champions League football during the week having just scraped over the line with a late win. Balotelli scoring though was important ahead of this game against West Ham and will take a little pressure off him with the absence of Sturridge to injury of late. Liverpool will still be up there in the top 3-4 sides by the end of the season but for me it still seems they need to sort out some defensive issues. They’ve let through 5 goals in 4 games which isn’t terrible by any means but they aren’t yet scoring as heavily as they were last season which I think may take some time to build back up to those lofty heights set with Suarez. They do however take on a West Ham side that has let through 7 goals in 4 games and are yet to get points in their two home games this season. I don’t think West Ham have the defence though to keep Balotelli and Sterling quiet this weekend though and although I don’t think it’ll be a convincing Liverpool win, it’ll be a Liverpool win regardless.
Predicted score: Liverpool 2-1
Best Bet: Liverpool to win at $1.85 (75%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $.61
Leicester ($5.5) versus Manchester United ($1.61), Draw ($4)
Manchester United finally got the win they were so desperately after with a 4-0 thumping over QPR last weekend. It’s not exactly a win that they scream about to say that all their problems have miraculously gone as they need to string together a few good performances first before they can say they have improved. Regardless though it was a good win and it’ll no doubt instil plenty of confidence amongst the players as they prepare for Leicester this weekend. Leicester have had a bright start to their campaign undefeated at home and registering their first win last week away at Stoke. Record signing striker Ulloa has been in excellent form with 3 goals in 4 games already for his new side and he could well pose problems for Manchester United’s sometimes shaky defence. Leicester won’t be easy though having registered 2 draws at home against quality opposition in Everton and Arsenal so United will need to be on their game if they are to get the points here. Whilst I don’t think United will get it easy here and without reading too much into their win against QPR I think they’re starting to turn the corner and should make it 2 in a row this weekend. At the same time though, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see a draw, but all the same I’ll stick with a United win.
Predicted score: Manchester United 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.67 (80%)
Next Best: Manchester United to win at $1.61
Tottenham ($1.5) versus West Brom ($7), Draw ($4.2)
Spurs head back to White Hart Lane after a trip to Serbia in their Europa League commitments during the week as they prepare to take on West Brom. A long trip isn’t ideal preparation for this but they have the luxury of a fresh first XI for this one with at least 8-9 changes expected from their Europa League tie during the week so they should be pretty fresh for this. Tottenham had a lightning quick start against Sunderland last week but a few lapses in defence and an own goal meant Sunderland were able to draw 2-2 with just the one shot on target for the game. Their problem though has been a clinical edge in the final third despite scoring 7 goals in 4 games thus far. In their favour though for this ones is the fact that West Brom seem to be struggling a little both defensively and in attack having gone without a goal in their last 3 games and conceding 7 goals in 4 games. Away from home this time and I think they’ll struggle again against a Tottenham side keen to impress at home and build up some good early season form. Expect a fairly straight forward win from Spurs this weekend.
Predicted score: Tottenham 3-0
Best Bet: Tottenham to win at $1.5 (85%)
Next Best: Tottenham/Tottenham for the Half-time/Full-time double at $2.2
Everton ($1.4) versus Crystal Palace ($8), Draw ($4.75)
Everton are starting to look like they’re back on track after their 2-0 win away to West Brom last week and a resounding win over Wolfsburg in their Europa League clash during the week. Their Europa League clash shouldn’t take too much out of them given it’s early in the season but it’ll be interesting to see if it does have any affect against a typically stubborn side in Crystal Palace. Palace have done ok this season considering the way they started the season when Pulis walked out and on a run of 2 draws they’ll be keen to put in a strong performance here. Palace were a little lucky last week against Burnley thanks to a penalty save late in the game keeping it to a draw but I don’t think they can rely on such heroics this week. I can’t see this one being a high scoring game but I still see things pointing to a tight Everton win with their quality in the likes of Lukaku enough to see them to 3 points.
Predicted score: Everton 1-0
Best Bet: Everton to win at $1.4 (70%)
Next Best: Under 2.5 goals at $2.09
Manchester City ($2.4) versus Chelsea ($3), Draw ($3.3)
The big game of the weekend rounds out week 5 with Manchester City taking on Chelsea in what is billed to be a cracking contest. Sometimes though these early season meetings between the favourites can turn out to be cagey affairs with both sides more keen to not drop points than to get the win. There’s no doubt however that Chelsea have been far and away the best side of the league with 4 wins, 15 goals, and plenty of confidence building. This will though be their biggest test thus far in their quest for the title this season so I dare say they could approach this game a little more cautiously than their previous 4. One player to watch though for sure will be Diego Costa. He’s had an incredible start to the season scoring in all 4 games with a tally of 7 goals. There had been concerns over his fitness and they’ll persist through the season at times but he’ll no doubt be a threat here. Manchester City had a great start to the season with 2 wins but they’ve stuttered a little the past 2 games with a shock loss at home to Stoke before a 2-2 draw with Arsenal last week. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chelsea come out and get the win but I think City will be pretty keen not to lose this one as they look to not let the gap grow with Chelsea sitting pretty at the top of the table. Look for a low scoring tight game here that looks set to be a draw.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Exactly 2 or 3 goals for the match at $2.04 (75%)
Next Best: Under 2.5 goals at $1.97
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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