We’re pretty much a quarter of the way through the season with Match Day 10 upon us this weekend. Man City still lead the way on top but Arsenal are hot on their heels and I’d expect at this stage these two to be fighting it out as we head into the final quarter of the season. What may make things interesting in the short term is the result of the Manchester derby this week between Man United and Man City with a win for United pushing them a point above their rivals. It would give them some credibility too in their title aspirations as they really haven’t had to play any serious title or top 4 contenders yet this season. Apart from that though there’s still another 9 games to be had that should no doubt provide plenty of action.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 24th October
Aston Villa ($2.8) versus Swansea ($2.5), Draw ($3.4)
Villa just can’t seem to get going after their 5th loss straight and 7th in 9 games last time out against Chelsea. At this stage it’s probably only a matter of time until Sherwood is given the flick unless the results start to come in. Swansea at home this week won’t be easy though so they need a drastic turnaround in form and confidence. Swansea too though are in a bit of a bad patch of form with 2 draws and 3 losses in their last 5 games. For me it’s a bit of a surprise that Swansea have had such a dip in performances this season given their opening day draw away at Chelsea and 2-1 win over United not long after. It’s clear then that both managers need something from this game but a loss for either side would do more harm than perhaps a fairer result of a draw. Swansea were pretty flat against Stoke last time out so have some work to do to bounce back from that defeat.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.58 (80%)
Next Best: Half-Time Draw at $1.91
Leicester ($2.3) versus Crystal Palace ($3.1), Draw ($3.4)
After 9 games I wouldn’t have thought this would have been a contest between 5th and 6th but both have shown great form this season. Leicester have just the 1 loss this season whilst in comparison Palace have lost 4 times but sit just 1 point behind Leicester. It’s interesting that Palace are yet to register a draw in their 9 games but they have been in the contest in the majority of their games. Of their 4 losses, 3 against Manchester City, Tottenham, and Arsenal have been by no more than 1 goal. Their latest loss against West Ham at 3-1 was perhaps inflated by the red card to Dwight Gayle when the scores were at 1-1 with two late goals inflating the score line a little. This should be a great contest between two genuinely exciting sides to watch. Both have pace and great counter attacking ability that should make this a tight contest. Leicester will be in this throughout no doubt but I feel that Palace may be able to get something from this game. Palace have been solid away from home conceding just the 3 goals in 4 games and whilst there should be goals in this, Palace may keep it a little tighter at their end.
Predicted score: Crystal Palace 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.71 (90%)
Next Best: A goal scored in both halves – Yes at $1.65
Norwich ($2) versus West Brom ($4), Draw ($3.3)
Norwich need to bounce back from a shocking defensive display last time out that saw them 6-2 losers away at Newcastle that left them with the worst defensive record in the league after 9 games with 20 goals conceded. They won’t have easy this week against West Brom either though I wouldn’t expect the score line from last week given the Baggies lack a bit of firepower up front with just the 7 goals scored from 9 games. West Brom have a good away record too so far with just the 1 loss from 4 games conceding just the 2 goals so will no doubt make it a tough test for Norwich here. This is a difficult game to gauge given Norwich have been good in patches this season and you’d expect them to bounce back from that loss last week at Newcastle whilst for West Brom they’ve started to play some better football winning 3 of their last 6. I think West Brom will be wary that Norwich will be looking to come at them pretty hard and I’d expect the Baggies to again be difficult to score against. I can’t see a clear winner in this one but it should be a hard fought draw for both sides.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.7 (85%)
Next Best: Double Chance West Brom at $1.8
Stoke ($2.15) versus Watford ($3.6), Draw ($3.3)
It took them a while to get going but Stoke have found form after 3 wins in a row and find themselves now in a position to register win number 4 against Watford this week. If this fixture was at Watford I’d be inclined to go for a draw given Watford are generally a pretty organised outfit and have conceded just 4 goals at home. It’s not to say that their away record is poor defensively conceding just 6 times and losing just the once but I doubt they have the goals in their side to win against Stoke here. They have scored just 6 times this season with Ighalo scoring 5 of them. Stoke themselves are well organised at the back conceding just the once in their last 3 games and I think they’ll again keep things pretty tight in this one.
Predicted score: Stoke 1-0
Best Bet: Stoke to win at $2.15 (80%)
Next Best: Stoke to win to Nil at $3.22
West Ham ($4) versus Chelsea ($1.91), Draw ($3.6)
An interesting game here given both sides varying positions on the table with West Ham in 4th whilst Chelsea have started to climb their way up the table to sit in 12th. Chelsea still have a lot of work to do and West Ham this season have been excellent and their recent form has been just that. Undefeated across their last 6 games in the league they’ll be pretty confident in their ability against a Chelsea side that has surprisingly struggled this season. For a side that had the best defensive record in the league last season (32 conceded), they currently have the equal 3rd worst with 17 goals conceded already. West Ham have shown too this season their ability to score regularly with the 2nd best offensive record so far with 20 goals and have scored 2 or more goals in 8 of their 9 league games so far this season. There is a danger sign for West Ham here though with their good form and results pretty much coming away from home. They have only taken 4 of their 17 points this season at home against Newcastle and Norwich but they do seem to like the big sides with wins over Man City, Liverpool, and Arsenal. An away Champions leg draw at Dynamo Kyiv isn’t ideal preparation for Chelsea but the question mark for me is on West Ham and their ability to produce their good form at home. I think they’ll play better given they tend to get up for the top sides but I can see Chelsea getting something from this.
Predicted score: Chelsea 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.7 (85%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.62
Arsenal ($1.45) versus Everton ($7.5), Draw ($4.5)
The Gunners have been in great form recently winning 5 of their last 6 in the league and will be boosted by that 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League during the week. Everton have been in ok form recently but their 3-0 loss at home to Manchester United came as a bit of a surprise when it should have been a much closer contest. I think Everton will bounce back a bit this week and play better but Arsenal are in such good form a the moment it’s difficult to see that run being cut down by Everton here. I don’t think Everton will be able to slow down Alexis Sanchez either after 7 goals in his last 5 games in all competitions. A blow for Arsenal will be the loss of Aaron Ramsey in a quartet of Ozil, Sanchez, and Walcott that have been in great form. I don’t think it’s going to harm their chances of the 3 points but it’s a blow regardless because those 4 together have been excellent.
Predicted score: Arsenal 2-0
Best Bet: exactly 2 or 3 goals at $2.14 (80%)
Next Best: Arsenal to lead at Half-Time at $1.83
Sunderland ($2.6) versus Newcastle ($2.8), Draw ($3.25)
They may sit last on the table, but Sunderland will give themselves every chance ahead of this derby having won the past 5 and not losing to Newcastle since 2011. Perhaps what adds to the difficulty in this one is what the win for Newcastle against Norwich last week does for their confidence. They can certainly take some from that game but in the back of their minds will be that Sunderland have the edge over them in this fixture. I’d expect Sunderland to keep things pretty tight at the back under new manager Sam Allardyce especially after Newcastle’s 6 goal effort last week but also because they can’t afford to be too loose given their position at the bottom of the table. If they don’t focus on defence then Newcastle will have the confidence to open them up after last week. Similarly for Newcastle though, they will be a bit wary of Sunderland given recent results against them and that they too sit in the relegation zone. I think this will be a heated and tough contest but one that just may end in a draw though a positive result for Sunderland wouldn’t be out of the question if they keep their form up against Newcastle.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.82 (70%)
Next Best: Sunderland to win either half at $1.77
Bournemouth ($3.3) versus Tottenham ($2.2), Draw ($3.4)
A big test for Bournemouth here with the visit of Tottenham this week. Tottenham haven’t lost since their opening day defeat away at Manchester United and they’ve certainly shown themselves to be a lot tougher to score against with the equal best defensive record in the league with Arsenal at 7 goals conceded. The problem for Tottenham has been converting chances with just 11 goals scored this season despite registering the 3rd most shots per game average of 16 and the 3rd highest average of shots on target per game at 6.2. Perhaps it’s partly down to luck but 7 of the 9 sides they have played currently sit in the top half of the league of defensive records albeit their 2 games against defensively weaker opponents in Leicester and Sunderland they produced only the 2 goals. I think it’s only a matter of time until they kick into gear but the reliance on Kane up front who is struggling to impact the game with goals is becoming obvious now. In saying that, Tottenham still have the ability and quality to get the win here as defensively I think they are too strong for Bournemouth and a goal or two should be enough for the 3 points.
Predicted score: Tottenham 2-0
Best Bet: Tottenham to win at $2.2 (85%)
Next Best: Under 2.5 goals at 1.81
Manchester United ($2.6) versus Manchester City ($2.75), Draw ($3.3)
It’s 1st versus 3rd here and the result of this derby has varying impacts. A win for City sees them maintain their lead over Arsenal at the very least whilst a win for United puts them ahead of City and potentially to the top of the table if Arsenal don’t beat Everton. For United though, it would also give them some credibility to their title aspirations given they haven’t had the toughest of fixtures so far this season. They have the added bonus that City will be without Sergio Aguero who’s scored 6 goals against United in their last 5 meetings. Additionally David Silva remains a doubt for this one though the form of De Bruyne and Sterling should be enough to fill his shoes for another week. City are coming off two massive wins against Newcastle and Bournemouth where they produced 11 goals so they certainly come into this one with plenty of confidence in the absence of Aguero and Silva. United of course are a step up in opposition and haven’t made it easy for sides to score against them with 8 goals but then again being a derby those sorts of things really go out the window. Despite United’s good form this season I have some doubts on their ability to keep Bony, Sterling, and De Bruyne quiet despite the absence of Aguero and Silva so for me I’m going to stick with City.
Predicted score: Manchester City 2-1
Best Bet: Manchester City to win either half at $1.83 (80%)
Next Best: Manchester City Draw no bet at $1.93
Liverpool ($1.95) versus Southampton ($4), Draw ($3.5)
New manager Jurgen Klopp clearly has some work to do with his Liverpool side. They had a respectable draw at Tottenham last time out but offensively they weren’t really able to trouble Tottenham too much. Then came their Europa League fixture during the week where the expectations were high on a home win and despite Rubin Kazan going down to 10 men at the 36 minute mark they weren’t able to close out the game. Southampton have been in good form recently too winning 2 of their last 3 whilst adding 8 goals in that time as well. As a result I think the pressure is well and truly on Klopp and his side to get a home win here. A loss wouldn’t be catastrophic by any means but would certainly reinforce the issues that this squad has and the work that Klopp has to do to rectify it. It’s certainly clear that at the very least Liverpool are missing Jordan Henderson in midfield. He gives them a lot of drive and energy through the middle but they’ll again need to do without him. This is a difficult one to predict given Liverpool could no doubt bounce back after their poor showing in the Europa League whilst Southampton have shown themselves to pretty dangerous and possess plenty of attack threats particularly down the wings through Mane and Tadic. This will be a close one but I might just give Liverpool a chance to get a first win for Klopp.
Predicted score: Liverpool 2-1
Best Bet: Half-Time Draw at $2 (75%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.95