Welcome back to the English Premier League for the preview of week 8. It’s been a tough couple of weeks without the biggest league in the world, but its back this weekend in what should again be another massive weekend of football. Without dribbling on too much let’s get into it.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 17th October
Manchester City ($1.44) versus Tottenham ($7.5), Draw ($4.33)
Great game to kick off week 8 with Manchester City hosting Tottenham in a game where Spurs will be hoping to not implode as they did last season when they were thumped 6-0 which started from the first minute thanks to a Navas goal. Tottenham’s record against Manchester City was again not helped in the return leg at White Hart Lane where they were again thumped 5-1. It certainly doesn’t paint a good picture for Tottenham’s chances this weekend and I think they’ll certainly be a long shot to get the 3 points away from home. City have been in mixed form this season and although they sit 2nd I don’t think they’ve yet hit their stride. The biggest difference in comparison to last season has been their goal scoring record at home. Last season they piled on the goals at home and at the same point last season they had a record for 13 goals for and 2 goals against which is in stark contrast to a record of 4 and 3 this season. I think that’s something Tottenham can take confidence in knowing that City are yet to hit top form and they could get a result away from home much like they did against Arsenal, if they play good counter attacking football and take their chances. Spurs have looked a little suspect defensively but they’ve tightened up their past 3 games conceding just twice. I think in the end City will win but I don’t think Tottenham will be beaten by a huge margin.
Predicted score: Manchester City 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.6 (90%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.72
Arsenal ($1.4) versus Hull ($8), Draw ($4.75)
Ravaged by injuries and form, Arsenal have certainly had a tough start to their campaign which for me has been a delight as a Tottenham fanatic. A record of 2 wins and 4 draws from 7 could really have been much more but equally could have been much less having clawed their way back into a couple of contests particularly against Everton and Tottenham. Compared to this time last season they were sitting on top of the table so it’s clear they haven’t had the start they would have liked. It’s a new week though and a chance to get back into things as they take on Hull at home. What might look like a regulation game for an Arsenal side in top form I think will be much tougher given their injury list as well as the suspension of Chambers to an already depleted defence. Hull sit 11th at the moment and are pretty much in a similar position to last season at the same point and I think the International break would have helped them immensely as they settle in their new players and work on tactics. I also like the attacking threat that Abel Hernandez brings to this side, he has a keen eye for goal and I think will cause this Arsenal defence plenty of trouble with his pace. In the end I’m not sure if I see a clear winner. Arsenal surely has the edge at home and still have plenty of quality in Sanchez and co but Hull are a tricky side and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them snatch a point.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.83 (85%)
Next Best: Hull to score exactly 1 goal at $2.5
Burnley ($2.7) versus West Ham ($2.62), Draw ($3.3)
Certainly not the biggest matchup of the weekend with Burnley hosting West Ham but it’ll be interesting to see how Burnley go having snatched a point away at Leicester last time out. The one positive Burnley can take from this season so far is they’ve held their own in their home games with the 2 draws and a loss where they also only conceded 3 goals. For a side that didn’t strengthen through the transfer window I think that’s a pretty good result. West Ham though have been pretty good this season and they’ve made some big changes to the way they play. The biggest change has been their attacking intent which has shown with 12 goals scored in 7 games compared to 7 in their first 7 games last season. It’s come at a bit of a cost in opening up their defence to opposition attacks but they’ve looked a far better side so far. Burnley won’t go down easy this weekend but I think West Ham will get away with another win this weekend in a close contest.
Predicted score: West Ham 1-0
Best Bet: West Ham to win either Half at $1.81
Next Best: West Ham to lead at Half time at $3.2
Crystal Palace ($8.5) versus Chelsea ($1.4), Draw ($4.5)
Every EPL weekend needs a London Derby and although this isn’t the biggest, it should be an interesting match all the same. I think everyone will be looking here for a regulation Chelsea win given their incredibly strong start to the season and I’m inclined to agree. Palace have had their best form over the past 3 games winning 2 and losing 1 but I think this is where they’ll come a little unstuck. Chelsea have generally cruised through their contests this season with just the one blemish a draw at Manchester City which is in many respects an excellent result against a title rival. With Diego Costa in such good form having scored in 6 of Chelsea’s 7 games so far, I think we can pen this one in for a Chelsea win. Don’t be surprised to see a stubborn Palace side but you should expect a Chelsea win in the end.
Predicted score: Chelsea 2-1
Best Bet: Chelsea to win at $1.4 (90%)
Next Best: Total goals – Odd at $1.89
Everton ($1.57) versus Aston Villa ($6), Draw ($4)
Season 2014/15 has been a tough one so far for Everton who surprisingly sit in 17th spot with just the 1 win from their 7 games to date. They desperately need points to climb their way up the ladder, starting with Aston Villa this weekend. For a side that is normally incredibly tough to beat at home, Everton have just the solitary point from their 3 home games this season but coming off the international break I think they’ll be primed for this home contest. Take nothing away from Villa who themselves had a great start to the season, it’s about time Everton start showing their quality that saw them finish 5th last season. Having secured 3 wins from their first 4 games, Villa are on a 3 game losing streak and it’s not the best time to be facing Everton at home who themselves are desperate for the 3 points. One major positive though will be the expected return of Ron Vlaar which should help their defence immensely. He was a massive part of their strong start to the season and they’ve definitely missed him in recent weeks. On the flipside though, Fabian Delph is a doubt with injury and it’ll be a blow to lose his creativity and rive through midfield. Should be an interesting contest but Everton for me in a tight one.
Predicted score: Everton 2-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $2.05 (75%)
Next Best: Everton to win at $1.57
Newcastle ($2.15) versus Leicester ($3.4), Draw ($3.4)
Another side desperate for a win is no doubt that of Newcastle who are still yet to taste victory this season after 4 draws and 3 losses. They host promoted Leicester this weekend in what should be a good game. Leicester have certainly held their own this season with 2 wins, 3 draws, and 2 losses to give them a pretty handy start t the season. It’s a little too early to read into their away form with losses to Chelsea and Crystal Palace as well as a handy win over Stoke. They do however need to be a little more adventurous away from home having scored just the 1 away goal so far compared to 10 goals in their 4 home games. They’ll fancy their chances though against a Newcastle side that is short on confidence and that just can’t seem to get any luck. There comes a time though where things should come together and I think things may just come together this weekend even if I’m not exactly bursting with confidence on this one. A good sign though has been the goal scoring form of Cisse who’s scored 4 in his last 3 games and if they can continue to get good performances out of him then it’s a big bonus.
Predicted score: Newcastle 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.62 (75%)
Next Best: Exactly 2 or 3 goals at $2.04
Southampton ($1.57) versus Sunderland ($6.5), Draw ($3.8)
Southampton return home this week to take on Sunderland having come off a narrow 1-0 loss at Tottenham before the International break. It cut short a 4 game winning streak but they could well build another streak starting with Sunderland this weekend. They’ll need to get back to their best though as Sunderland have been difficult to put away having already gained 5 draws from their 7 games thus far. They’ll feel they’re in some good form too coming off a strong 3-1 win over Stoke at home before the break but they’ll need to get their scoring boots on having scored just twice in away games so far. Southampton for me though have been the better side and if they can recapture that form that saw them win 4 games straight then they should get the 3 points here albeit against a stubborn Sunderland side.
Predicted score: Southampton 1-0
Best Bet: Southampton to win at $1.57 (80%)
Next Best: Total goals – Odd at $1.91
QPR ($6) versus Liverpool ($1.57), Draw ($4)
One of 3 sides equal on points at the bottom of the table, QPR face a huge task in trying to beat their opponents this weekend with Liverpool making the trip to London. Liverpool though haven’t made it to their heights of last season but they’re not too far off the pace and it’s early enough in the season to close the gap in build back into the top 4. They have lost two of their 3 away games at Manchester City and West Ham but I think the International break would have been a blessing, their last game against West Brom they at times laboured a little but I think they’ll be a much better side this weekend or they’ll at least look a much better side given the quality that is lacking in QPR’s line-up. The big plus and key to this game is of course the expected return from injury of Daniel Sturridge. He is the one player they have missed most this season through his pace up front and finishing. If he starts, expect Liverpool to get a comfortable win here.
Predicted score: Liverpool 3-0
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.64 (85%) – for me this depends on Sturridge playing.
Next Best: Liverpool to win at $1.57
Stoke ($2.4) versus Swansea ($3), Draw ($3.3)
Stoke take on Swansea in this week with Stoke not far off the pace given that although they sit in 16th, they are only 3 points off Swansea in 5th. Swansea had a really bright start to the season with 3 wins but they’ve dipped in their last 4 games with just the 2 points claimed so far. It makes for an interesting clash here though I’m not expecting a lot of goals here. Stoke are typically difficult to break down having conceded just twice at home this season and although Swansea showed plenty of firepower in their first 4 games, a return of 2 goals in their last 3 heading into this one isn’t giving me great confidence of a high scoring contest. I do think though both sides are capable of scoring though an under 2.5 looks the go here with a draw the likely result.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.67 (75%)
Speculative option: Quite like the Draw with Both teams to score at $4.35
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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