Welcome to Match Day 9 of the English Premier League. As always it’s felt like an eternity since Match Day 8 due to the International break but there’s some great matchups this week to make up for that break. Tottenham and Liverpool kick things off with plenty of interest surrounding Jurgen Klopp’s first game in charge of his new side. As with any new manager, and especially for those of the really big clubs with a larger supporter base, the expectations are high so it will be intriguing to see how the match unfolds and the aftermath depending on what the result is. I’d suspect either way there is going to be a huge sense of optimism whether they win lose or draw. Following this game we have games between Everton (7th) and Man United (3rd) and Crystal Palace (4th) taking on West Ham (6th). One of the games I’m particularly looking forward to is Southampton taking on Leicester. Southampton has found some form lately winning their last 2 games whilst we all know how well Leicester have done this season who currently sit in 5th. Either way it’s an action packed weekend once more so it’s time to get a look at what to expect.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 17th October
Tottenham ($2.5) versus Liverpool ($2.9), Draw ($3.3)
It’s always a boost when a new manager comes in and it should no doubt give Liverpool one for their trip to Tottenham. They perhaps have the added bonus that it’s an away game so the perceived pressure to win from the boost of a new manager if it was a home game is less apparent here. Both sides have plenty of injuries with Liverpool continuing to miss Henderson whilst they can add Firmino, Benteke, and Ings to that list. Similarly for Spurs they have a number of names out with Son, Mason, and Bentaleb all to miss through injury. Added to that list is Eric Dier through suspension after picking up 5 yellow cards already. His absence is a big blow as he’s been a revelation in a defensive midfield capacity and Tottenham don’t exactly have a ready-made replacement to fill that void. One option of course would be to play Toby Alderweireld in midfield as he’s done before for Southampton but his partnership with Vertonghen at the back has been a big reason why Tottenham share the best defensive record in the league with 4 other sides.
This is an interesting game to try and judge a result. There’s the unknown factor of Jurgen Klopp and what impact he can have whilst injuries for both sides even things up a bit. I’d expect Liverpool to play pretty well here on emotion but Tottenham have been very good the last month so I think we might be in for a draw here.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.63 (80%)
Next Best: Under 2.5 goals at $1.95
Chelsea ($1.36) versus Aston Villa ($8.5), Draw ($5)
The horror run continued for Chelsea last time out against Southampton when they lost their fourth game of the season to leave them pondering their state of affairs in 16th. They have a favourable match on paper this week with the visit of Aston Villa this week losing only 1 of the last 7 to them. Despite Villa’s struggles though this season it’s difficult to be confident on any Chelsea result at the moment. I think there will come a time this season when Chelsea spring to life, they just need a few results to start going their way but it’s a massive task for them to get back up to the top from here. For Villa there is probably more pressure now though on them and manager Tim Sherwood. 4 points from 8 games just isn’t good enough and I think they’ll remain in the relegation zone after this game. I’m not sure Chelsea will steamroll Villa or anything but I’m optimistic that they can get win number 3.
Predicted score: Chelsea 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.6 (75%)
Next Best: Chelsea to lead at half-time at $1.72
Crystal Palace ($2) versus West Ham ($3.9), Draw ($3.4)
Both sides have good runs this season but Palace have been the better side before the International break. They’ve won their last 2 games against difficult sides to score against in Watford and West Brom with home advantage they should again be strong here. West Ham have drawn their last two games against Norwich and Sunderland with the Sunderland game their first away loss of the season despite beating Liverpool, Man City, and Arsenal prior to that. It’s added evidence they set up well against the big clubs but against the smaller clubs it’s more of a battle. I think Palace has the edge here with home ground advantage and some good form before the International break so I’m going to back a home win.
Predicted score: Crystal Palace 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.87 (80%)
Next Best: Crystal Palace to win at $2
Everton ($3) versus Manchester United ($2.4), Draw ($3.3)
Manchester United were completely dismantled by Arsenal before the International break where sublime play and passing from the Gunners saw them 3-0 down inside the first 20 minutes. They face a tricky test this week as well having not beaten Everton away in their last 3 attempts. Everton have been playing some good football too to sit 7th with just 1 loss so far this season. I think United have a tough ask here to get a win and their result against Arsenal perhaps showed some falsities about their apparent title chances when they sat briefly at the top of the table a few weeks ago. They haven’t really beaten anyone of note convincingly and Everton are starting to once again look like they are once again enjoying their football. It’s not to say United don’t have a chance here because I think they do, I just don’t think it will be 3 points for them.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.72
Next Best: Exactly 2 or 3 goals at $2
Manchester City ($1.33) versus Bournemouth ($10), Draw ($5)
There’s a host of stars out for Manchester City this week in the form of Aguero and David Silva but I don’t think it will harm their chances of 3 points too dramatically against Bournemouth. That’s not to disrespect Bournemouth at all as I think they’ve done really well since promotion to take 8 points from 8 games but City’s ability to fill the gaps of Silva and Aguero should get them the win. It’s a great opportunity for Bony to get the gig up front and put his stamp on this side. He hasn’t exactly replicated his Swansea performances at Man City and I think he’ll relish the chance to lead the line against Bournemouth here. Bournemouth have been ok defensively this season at times so I think they’ll do ok in the early stages but I’d still expect to City to take control of this one relatively early.
Predicted score: Manchester City 2-0
Best Bet: Manchester City to lead at Half-Time at $1.72 (85%)
Next Best: Manchester City -1 handicap at $1.83
Southampton ($1.8) versus Leicester ($4.33), Draw ($3.8)
There’s no doubt that Leicester have been one of the standout sides this season but I think the highs of such a strong start to the season may start to erode in the coming games. Southampton were on some good form before the break winning their last 2 games and I think their confidence is coming back into their play after some challenging results are the start of the season. Beating Chelsea away last time out will give them plenty of confidence and whilst I’m thinking this will be quite an open contest I can see them getting a win once more to make it 3 from their last 3. Whilst they may get the win, it will be a tight one. Leicester have scored in all of their 10 games this season across all competitions this season with only scoring less than 2 goals on 2 occasions. That’s quite an effort but on the flipside, they haven’t kept a clean sheet either and that’s where for me Southampton have the advantage. Defensively they are stronger and that’s what should give them the edge in this one.
Predicted score: Southampton 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.71 (90%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.67
West Brom ($2.1) versus Sunderland ($3.8), Draw ($3.2)
Another new manager takes this charge of his side this weekend with Big Sam Allardyce taking charge of Sunderland for the first time. I think he’ll bring a defensive edge to Sunderland that we haven’t really seen yet from Sunderland this season but it’s clear there’s still a lot of work to do. Either way I think we can expect Sunderland to perform pretty well on the emotional boost that a new manager can bring but they are coming up against a Tony Pulis side that won’t be easy to beat away from home. What may make it difficult for Sunderland too apart from being an away game is that West Brom have lost their last 2 and will be pretty eager for a win after the break. They’ve looked a clearly much more organised side this season in comparison to Sunderland and I can’t see Sunderland turning things around just yet as it will take them a bit of time to adjust under their new manager. No doubt expect a difference in Sunderland’s performance but West Brom should take this one.
Predicted score: West Brom 1-0
Best Bet: Half-time draw at $1.91 (70%)
Next Best: West Brom to win at $2.1
Watford ($5.5) versus Arsenal ($1.61), Draw ($4)
If Arsenal turn it on like they did against Manchester United in that first 10-20 minutes where their passing game was in unbelievable form then it won’t matter how defensively strong Watford have been this season. It’s impressive that Watford share the best defensive record in the league at the moment with just the 7 goals conceded. That’s certainly a plus for them but they haven’t really yet been able to get their attacking game going with just the 6 goals in 8 games which site equal lowest with West Brom and Newcastle. I’d expect Arsenal to find this a pretty tricky game to score but they are clearly in a good run of form and their front 4 of Walcott, Ozil, Ramsey, and Sanchez are really starting to click. I don’t expect a blowout or anything but Arsenal should be winning this with a 1 or 2 nil result.
Predicted score: Arsenal 2-0
Best Bet: Both teams to score – No at $2 (75%)
Next Best: Arsenal to win to Nil at $2.76