After another week off for the international break, it’s time we delve into the mouth-watering fixtures that the EPL will be dishing up this weekend. Of particular interest will be the Tottenham versus Chelsea game which is in no doubt the biggest fixture this weekend. Chelsea is sitting comfortably at the top of the league table with Tottenham steadily building momentum up the table after their lackluster start to the season. There are also a few injury concerns for a number of teams so it will be interesting to see how they cover these key personnel losses.
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Best value bet: Everton looks the best value to win against QPR this week at $2.32 though it looks to be a tight contest. Although Chelsea looks fantastic value at $2.88, don’t underestimate Tottenham.
October 20th Fixture
Tottenham ($2.68) Versus Chelsea ($2.88), Draw ($3.50)
It’s certainly fitting that the biggest game this week is the first to kick things off after the international break. It’s also the highly anticipated meeting of AVB with his old team Chelsea after he was sensationally sacked last season. Chelsea has been super impressive this season and they have done very little wrong. If there was one thing to say, it would be that they have not been as impressive away from home scoring 4 goals away (3 games) to 11 at home – then again, Petr Cech has only let 4 goals slip through. Looking at their recent form at White Hart Lane, their past 5 results here have seen 3 losses and 2 draws, with the most recent a 1-1 draw. In their favour is Fernando Torres is back with 4 goals so far this season. Looking at Tottenham, they have enjoyed a 6 game unbeaten streak since their opening loss to Newcastle. Defoe is in fine form with 4 goals, Dembele and Sandro are building a strong midfield partnership and Bale has started to find some form in recent weeks.
This is a tough game to call and with Chelsea’s form this season some will question why Tottenham are slight favourites with the bookies. We feel this really underlines the fact that this should be a very close game with a lot of emotion with AVB desperate to beat his former club. Perhaps this factor and the amazing win over Manchester United is why they are favourites. If Spurs play the first half the way they have been playing their second halves, they certainly have a chance though it’s difficult to overlook Chelsea after their stellar season so far.
Predicted Result: Spurs 1-0
Betting option: None
October 21st Fixture
Fulham ($1.84) Versus Aston Villa ($4.80), Draw ($3.75)
Fulham entertain Villa with Villa having had some poor recent results with a 2-0 loss to Spurs, a draw at home to West Brom and a 4-1 thrashing at Southampton. Fulham on the other hand had a pleasing 2-2 draw at Southampton without their new star striker Berbatov. Fulham will be bolstered by the potential return of Berbatov with the benefit of the International break giving him enough time to recover from his thigh muscle strain. Villa have some positive signs in new signing Benteke after he went close to scoring first against Spurs and he will surely cause the Fulham defence some concern. It’s hard to go past Fulham at home here and their decent form this season so far so expect them to get over the line.
Predicted result: Fulham 2-1
Betting option: Fulham to win at $1.84
Liverpool ($1.36) Versus Reading ($11), Draw ($5.40)
The Reds host the Royals at Anfield where Liverpool will hope to put their disappointing home draw to Stoke behind them and finally record their first home win for the season. This is now or never for Liverpool as their opponents has not recorded a win at all this season. With Reading struggling to establish themselves in the topflight and Liverpool short on striking options with Borini injured (out for 3 months) and Carroll on loan, this would be another test for Rodgers men to secure the three points. Suarez will have to shoulder the burden of scoring again having scored 5 so far, and will be helped by the defence of Reading who have conceded 13 goals to date. The last time these two played at Anfield in 2008 Liverpool won 2-1 thank to a Torres winner. This should hopefully be a safe bet but nothing is ever certain – Liverpool for the win.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0
Betting Option: Liverpool Win at $1.36
Manchester United ($1.31) Versus Stoke ($13.50), Draw ($5.90)
Manchester United play host to Stoke City at Old Trafford where the corresponding fixture last season resulted in a 2-0 win to United. Stoke, like many teams, have struggled to beat United and have lost their past 4 matches at Old Trafford. Stoke have been a tough team to score against this season with their ability to hold out in defence a key strength for them so far and have only conceded 5 goals so far (only Chelsea has conceded fewer goals). Worryingly though, their potency in front of goal has only seen a return of 6 goals. United have certainly had plenty of injury worries so far but have done very well to sit 2nd on the table. With their last game resulting in a 3-0 away win at Newcastle, expect them to gather some steam with a positive result here though it won’t be raining goals.
Predicted result: Manchester United 2-0
Betting option: Under 2.5 goals at $2.36
Norwich ($6.80) Versus Arsenal ($1.58), Draw ($4.40)
Coming off two heavy losses at the hands of Chelsea and Liverpool, it doesn’t get any easier for lowly Norwich as they entertain the Gunners this week. Norwich has at times show improvement from last season and can certainly trouble a few big teams such as they did against Tottenham as well as their surprising early opener against Chelsea in their 4-1 loss. They just seem to lack consistency across the park and will have a tough time against an Arsenal team that has been defensively very strong this season. Look for the Gunners to exploit the Norwich defence with their pace and fluid passing with the likes of Gervinho and Cazorla to run riot.
Predicted result: Arsenal 3-1
Betting option: Arsenal to win at $1.58
Swansea ($2.10) Versus Wigan ($4), Draw ($3.60)
Swansea were one of the most impressive teams early on in the season with their slick passing game working fantastically but it now seems like the wheels are starting to fall off a little. Coming off a 2-2 draw against Reading they’ll be striving to get a result when they host Wigan this week. Although Wigan have had a similar run of results the past 4 weeks as Swansea (1 draw and 3 losses), their 2-2 draw against a strong Everton side was a good result. The last time these two played it ended in a 0-0 draw and it’s looking likely this could be a similar result. Based on their early season form and if they can get back to it, $2.10 for Swansea is great value but recent results doesn’t bode to well for the confidence levels.
Predicted result: Draw 1-1
Betting option: none
West Brom ($5.50) Versus Manchester City ($1.75), Draw ($3.95)
City travel to the Hawthorns hoping to close the gap on Chelsea but this will be no easy task against a solid WBA side that has only lost once this season, away to Fulham. West Brom’s home form has been outstanding so far with 4 wins out of 4 (and have only conceded 2 goals at home) and will prove a stern test against a City side still trying to find the form that won them the championship last season. The last time both teams met at the Hawthorns it ended a stalemate with both teams unable to break each other’s defences. Look for Aguero to continue his scoring run with 2 goals in the past two games. Many will write West Brom off against the defending champions but a note to consider is that they have beaten Liverpool and Everton convincingly, drawn with Tottenham, and have not lost at home as of yet. With that said, this is a team that won’t be swept aside easily like in the past. This will be a close encounter but it’s hard to see City having too much trouble with thier star power and depth to deny West Brom a 5th home win.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-1
Betting Option: City Win at $1.75
West Ham ($1.93) Versus Southampton ($4.30), Draw ($3.80)
The Hammers host Southampton at Upton Park looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to the Gunners. Southampton on the other hand will be trying to close the flood gates on the road as they have conceded an average of 4 goals per game away from home. The Hammers will be boosted by the finally fit Carroll and the partnership with Captain Nolan will be crucial to their success in this game and for the remainder of the season. The only positive so far this season for Southampton is the ability to find the back of the net against strong opponents which has seen them push both Manchester clubs right to the end of 90 minutes. Record signing Gaston Ramirez is a major doubt after being ruled out with a thigh injury and will be sorely missed, though they still have Rickie Lambert who has been a standout player thus far contributing 3 goals. Look for him to try and exploit a West Ham defence which leaked 3 goals against Arsenal. With the Hammers record of 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss at home look for them to close this one out albeit with some sporadic resistance from their opponents.
Prediction: West Ham 2-1
Betting Option: None
Sunderland ($2.52) Versus Newcastle ($3.10), Draw ($3.40)
Both teams will be looking to bounce back from heavy defeats handed by the two Manchester clubs in their last games and would have had plenty of time to work through their problems during the international break. The last time these two met at the Stadium of Light Newcastle walked away winners by a goal. This season Newcastle has struggled away losing to Chelsea and drawing twice. This will be another tough ask for Alan Pardew’s men as the Black Cats are yet to lose at home this season after their 2 home games. Keep an eye out for Fletcher and Ba for their respective sides as they have found the net multiple times so far. This will be a tightly fought contest with a draw on the cards.
Prediction: Draw 2-2
Betting Option: None
October 22nd Fixture
QPR ($3.40) Versus Everton ($2.32), Draw ($3.55)
QPR’s start to the season has been a disaster with only two points after 7 games and a win doesn’t look like its coming any time soon. The Rangers last win was on the 6th of May against Stoke at home, narrowly beating them 1-0. QPR have conceded the 3rd most goals this season (16) and have been lacking firepower having only scored once at home. The last time QPR hosted Everton at Loftus Road it ended in a 1-1 draw, however in the last fixture for the week we believe it could be a different outcome with Everton flying and QPR desperately holding on. David Moyes will have to look for cover for key man Fellaini who was injured in the last match against Wigan with the loss of the Belgium man mountain sure to be felt. He’s been a key member dominating in midfield whilst contributing with some important goals. Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar have been in good form along the wings and will create multiple chances for Jelevic and Mirallas to score. Nelson and Ferdinand look to have their work cut out to deny Everton. Expect a strong home effort by QPR but Everton should just take the 3 points.
Prediction: Everton to win 2-1
Betting Option: None
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