Another massive weekend of football beckons and we’ve certainly got some exciting matchups to keep us entertained this weekend. The pick of them look to all be on Sunday with Chelsea hosting Arsenal, Manchester United taking on Everton, and Tottenham hosting Southampton. Chelsea have a commanding early lead for the title but they can be pegged back if Arsenal cause a bit of a shock. Ahead by 5 points from Manchester City, 6 points over Arsenal, 8 over Manchester United, 8 over Spurs, and 9 over Liverpool, they certainly look as though they are in cruise control. Things can change quickly in football though and a rough patch can even things right up in the race for the title. In the meantime let’s see how this weekend is shaping up.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 4th October
Hull ($2.1) versus Crystal Palace ($3.75), Draw ($3.3)
Hull haven’t had it easy their last 5 games with 3 draws and 2 losses and they take on a Crystal Palace side gunning for 3 in a row this weekend. I really like the look of this Hull side after the transfer window and I think it’ll just take some time for the side to settle after plenty of new faces joining the squad. In some ways I think they expected to be in the Europa League so they’ve perhaps strengthened a little more than they ideally needed to but hopefully it doesn’t unsettle the squad too much. Michael Dawson has been really good for them since arriving from Tottenham whilst Abel Hernandez has been a great addition after the sale of Shane Long to Southampton. Palace likewise made some handy additions to their squad and I don’t think we’ll see either of these two dropping this season. Looking at the game I think we can expect a fairly open game with both sides showing plenty of attacking flair this season. Palace have scored and conceded 10 whilst Hull have scored 9 and conceded 11. As for a winner though I’m not sure we’ll see one this weekend, but one thing I’m pretty confident of is we’ll see both sides score.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.83 (90%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $2.07 (both sides have had 4 of their 6 games over 2.5 goals)
Leicester ($1.83) versus Burnley ($4.5), Draw ($3.6)
Two of this season’s newcomers battle it out this week with one side certainly impressing more so than the other so far. That team of course is Leicester who’ve already managed two wins along with two draws. Their opposition have managed 3 draws which doesn’t seem that bad but the key stat is that they have scored just the one goal in 7 games which is quite appalling really and something they’ll need to rectify pretty quickly if they have any hope of surviving. They of course have some key injuries in the striking department with Ings and Vokes out but it’s perhaps more the lack of quality across the pitch that has them in this position so far. Leicester look the clear favourites this weekend and although football can surprise at any time, I don’t think it’ll be in this one. Leicester look a much more potent outfit and should get the points here. Good chance for Ulloa to get on the scoreboard again having already knocked in 5 goals. Leicester are of course a little susceptible at the back but given Burnley’s lack of offense they shouldn’t have too much trouble in defence.
Predicted score: Leicester 2-0
Best Bet: Leicester to win at $1.83 (80%)
Next Best: Ulloa to score anytime at $2.5
Liverpool ($1.44) versus West Brom ($7.5), Draw ($4.5)
The start to 2014/15 has certainly been less than ideal for Liverpool and they again face a bit of a test here at home this weekend against a surprisingly in form West Brom who’ve won their last 3 in all competitions. It’s a little different for Liverpool who are winless in their last 3 in the premier league. It’s easy to pinpoint the blame of the frailties of Liverpool’s defence coupled with a wealth of new faces amongst the squad has resulted in a poor start to the season but it’s easy to forget the impact that the loss for Suarez to Barcelona and Sturridge to injury has had. They need Sturridge back desperately and it would be interesting to see if he makes an appearance this weekend at least off the bench. Liverpool were a little unlucky last week to draw with Everton thanks to a late screamer from Jagielka took the 3 points away from them so I’m sure they’ll be focused on a much more clinical performance this weekend. I think they may be a little flat this weekend though having come off a Champion’s league loss away at FC Basel so it’ll be interesting to see how they cope with the travel and smaller preparation time. On the flipside though whilst West Brom have been impressive in their last two I’m not sure if they’ll have enough of a clinical edge to get 3 points here. Look for Liverpool to scrape over the line here.
Predicted score: Liverpool 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.59 (70%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.72
Sunderland ($2.5) versus Stoke ($2.9), Draw ($3.25)
Sunderland are still searching for their first win of the season after 5 draws and 1 loss which sees them in 17th place. Despite a lacklustre start to the season they have been much better defensively compared to the same point last season conceding just 6 goals compared to 14 whilst also being 4 points ahead where last season at this stage they had just the 1. They take on a tough side to break down though this weekend with Stoke looking to make it two in a row having beaten Newcastle last week. For me though this one is looking very much like a low scoring draw and I’d be surprised if we got an over 2.5 here. Both sides have scored just the 5 times this season and have been solid in defence so I can’t see this being an open game. They have however already played this season in the League Cup which resulted in a 2-1 win to Stoke but the previous 5 meetings were all under 2.5 goals and I think that trend will continue here.
Predicted score: Draw 0-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.53 (85%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – No at $1.8
Swansea ($1.91) versus Newcastle ($4.2), Draw ($3.5)
Another difficult trip for Newcastle as they prepare to take on Swansea still one of 3 sides in the league searching for their first win of the season. Swansea meanwhile are sitting pretty comfortably in 5th and will be hard to beat this weekend. Another loss or poor result for Newcastle this week could spell the end for Pardew as the pressure mounts to get a win. They do have a few injuries but not enough in my opinion that they can’t still put out a good side. Perhaps it’s a confidence thing and they just need that one good performance to get their season going. One thing in their favour though is despite Swansea sitting in 5th on the table, they’ve been a little underwhelming in their past 2 games losing at home to Southampton and getting a scoreless away at Sunderland. Swansea will be difficult to beat here but I think Newcastle can play well enough for a draw here.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.8 (75%)
Next Best: Half-time result Swansea at $2.4
Aston Villa ($7) versus Manchester City ($1.53), Draw ($4)
Man City head to Villa this weekend in what should be a good game given Villa’s good start to the season and the obvious talent that City have at their disposal. Villa have lost their last two though, albeit against similarly tough opposition in Arsenal and Chelsea, and could well find it tough again this weekend to get the result they need at home. Man City had a tough game at Hull last week and a difficult game with Roma in their 1-1 Champion’s league draw during the week. Up until the past two games, Villa had been very strong defensively having conceded just the 1 goal but after two games against quality opposition they’ve let through 6. This could be partially attributed to the loss of Ron Vlaar but Chelsea and Arsenal can be difficult to stop. I think it could be a similar story this weekend. Villa will show plenty of spirit but I think City will run away with it in the end. Good to see Benteke back in training and he could well make an appearance off the bench this weekend which is great signs for the rest of Villa’s season.
Predicted score: Manchester City 3-1
Best Bet: Manchester City to win at $1.53
Next Best: Manchester City for the Half-Time/Full-Time double at $2.20
Manchester United ($1.67) versus Everton ($5), Draw ($4)
Manchester United are slowly restoring some credibility on the pitch but they still have a long way to go this season to get back to their lofty ambitions. It was a pretty good win last weekend against West Ham that could well have been worse having lost Rooney to a silly red card and caused much more embarrassment for LVG. It pushes them into 7th on the table but they have a difficult run over their next 4 games starting with Everton here. Everton have failed to impress this season and they sit in 15th and I think they could struggle again this weekend. They snatched a late draw thanks to a Jagielka screamer but I think they are missing the creativity and rise of Ross Barkley whilst also being a little soft in defence. Injuries don’t help but Manchester United are in much worse shape here but I’m still looking at them thinking they have the firepower to get home here. Falcao has yet to score but he’s not far away from getting a goal or two and if there is one thing United have done right this season is that they have scored. They struggled a little with just the 2 goals in their first 3 games but their last 3 games they’ve piled on 9 and I think they can add a couple more this weekend at home. Everton won’t be easy by any means but I think they’ll have enough to scrape by even if Everton are pretty tasty odds at $5.
Predicted score: Manchester United 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.57 (80%)
Next Best: Manchester United to win and Both teams to score at $2.96
Chelsea ($1.67) versus Arsenal ($5), Draw ($4)
One of the matches of the weekend here with league leaders Chelsea taking on Arsenal. No doubting Chelsea’s form here with just the one minor blemish being a 1-1 away draw at Manchester City which is really nothing bad by any means. All their other games have just been regulation strong performances where they’ve knocked in 18 goals in 5 games and look the clear early favourites for the title. Diego Costa has been the star with 8 goals already and I think he’ll cause plenty of issues for this frail Arsenal defence this weekend. Although Arsenal sit in 4th they’ve kept just the one clean sheet against Aston Villa and I think they’ll struggle to contain Chelsea’s attack away from home. Add to this injuries picked up by Arteta and Ramsey against Tottenham last weekend their depth will be tested again this weekend. One positive was their 4-1 thumping over Galatasaray in their Champion’s League meeting during the week but this will no doubt be a much tougher test. Chelsea look the clear winners here for me.
Predicted score: Chelsea 3-1
Best Bet: Chelsea to score first at $1.55 (85%)
Next Best: Chelsea to score in both Halves at $2.46
Tottenham ($2.2) versus Southampton ($3.4), Draw ($3.3)
This will be an interesting contest not just for the fact that it’s Pochettino against his old side for the first time but Southampton are in good form and Tottenham will have a tough test at home as a result. Southampton sit in 2nd on the table after 4 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss in what has been an excellent start to the season. They have arguably had a pretty comfortable string of games over their last 4 where they’ve picked up their wins against West Ham, Newcastle, Swansea, and QPR. This will be their biggest test of the season since their opening game defeat against Liverpool. Tottenham have been pretty up and down this season having started the season well with two wins. They have just the 2 points from their last 4 games but it’s perhaps their last match against Arsenal that points to this side getting back into some better form. They were strong defensively against Arsenal where in their previous 3 games they had been pretty poor. They still lack some cutting edge up front with Adebayor and Soldado struggling so I wouldn’t be surprised to see young Kane get a start this weekend after a solid game against Bestikas in the Europa League during the week. With all that said though, Southampton won’t be pushed aside easily and I can see them coming in and getting a draw with Tottenham perhaps still needing more time under Pochettino.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.67 (75%)
Next Best: Schneiderlin to get booked at $2.75
West Ham ($1.91) versus QPR ($4.2), Draw ($3.5)
Another London derby to follow Chelsea and Arsenal with West Ham taking on the struggling QPR. It’s no secret that QPR have struggled this season and they could find it tough again against West Ham here. QPR have lost 4 from 6 and with games to follow against Villa, Chelsea, and Manchester City it could well be 7 from 9 if they don’t find some form quickly. West Ham have the two wins over Crystal Palace and Liverpool but they’ve looked a much better side in their 6 games compared to QPR. I think QPR will get better this season but I don’t think they’ll have enough quality to get past West Ham at home here. West Ham have been a much more potent side in attack this season compared to last where they have 6 more goals after 6 games than they did last year. There’s a shift in the way they have been playing as well in that they are much more attacking. It’s resulted in them conceding more goals but they’ve also been more enjoyable to watch and are starting to get the results. Home win here for me.
Predicted score: West Ham 2-0
Best Bet: West Ham to win at $1.91 (85%)
Next Best: Half-Time Result West Ham at $2.4
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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