The opening weekend of the season brought plenty of surprising results and week 2 should be no different. Chelsea as an example, already had some off-field tension brewing behind the scenes, their stunning 3-2 loss with 9 men at home to Burnley leaves them in a tricky position ahead of a tough match against Tottenham this week. There will be similar pressure building up at Liverpool after their defence, once again, simply failed to defend reasonably. Arsenal, whilst winning, will have had similar questions asked internally about their defence that Leicester broke down a number of times. These sorts of performances raise a number of uncertainties heading into week 2 and it’s for that reason that we should expect the unexpected this weekend because whilst they failed in some ways last week, it can go either way this week.
Week 2 Best Bet: Bournemouth vs Watford – Both teams to score – Yes at $1.72
Week 2 Best Value Bet: Liverpool vs Crystal Palace – Over 3.5 goals at $2.44
Week 2 Head to Head Multi Bet: Manchester United Win ($1.83), Tottenham Win ($2), Bournemouth/Watford Draw ($3.5), Leicester Win ($1.72) = $22.03
**Odds from Sportsbet.com.au as of 16th August
Swansea vs Manchester United
Last 5 meetings: Swansea 2, Manchester United 2, Draws 1
Manchester United opened their season with a very convincing 4-0 win at home over West Ham and they have another favourable matchup here against Swansea. The Welsh side did better than expected in their opening fixture to capture a scoreless draw away from home. Scoreless is the key word there though and is an area they’ll need to solve pretty quickly if they’re any chance of survival this season. They’re already lost their star player Sigurdsson to Everton whilst one of the other players that immensely helped their survival last season, Llorente, is injured and even if he does come up to play a part it may not be the best of him that we’ll see. They’ll of course take some confidence out of their away draw with Southampton, but United will be hard pressed to lose here. Looking back at recent meetings between these two, the last 6 have seen both teams score but without Sigurdsson, Swansea may just find it too difficult to score. Sigurdsson has either assisted or scored 4 of the last 5 goals that Swansea have managed to get past United and that shows just how crucial he is to this side’s attack.
Predicted Result: Manchester United 2-0
Best Bet: Manchester United to lead at Half-Time at $1.83
Best Value Bet: Manchester United to win to Nil at $2
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
Last 5 meetings: Crystal Palace 3, Liverpool 2
Yet again, Liverpool proved how much they need reinforcements at the back having leaked 3 goals to Watford. It was a really poor defensive display and although they’ll be hoping to bounce back at home against Crystal Palace, recent records say otherwise. Palace were well beaten by newly promoted Huddersfield last weekend when they lost 3-0 despite the better of the possession and attempts on goal. That may fire them up into action though without the added pressure from a home crowd and particularly knowing Liverpool’s defensive frailties. Palace have won their last 3 at Anfield and their hunger to turn last week’s result around will put the pressure on Liverpool here.
Predicted Result: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.72
Best Value Bet: Over 3.5 goals at $2.44
Stoke vs Arsenal
Last 5 meetings: Arsenal 4, Draws 1
The Gunners were lucky to get the win against Leicester in the end and like that of Liverpool, they look short at the back going off last week’s defensive efforts. That said, up front Arsenal look well placed with Lacazette leading the line. He’s the sort that looks like he can score all sorts of goals and to score as early as he did last week would have taken a lot of pressure off him. It’s clear though that they will need to change something up down back this week because without Koscielny they just look unsure about themselves. That’ll open up the door for Stoke to cause some trouble where Arsenal just don’t seem to have the quality or depth to defend anyone. Like Liverpool, they might be able to kick a winning score and get out of jail, but they’ll create plenty of opportunities for those that they play against. The Gunners may win in the end, but don’t count on it being convincing.
Predicted Result: Arsenal 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.67
Best Value Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.72
Tottenham vs Chelsea
Last 5 meetings: Chelsea 2, Tottenham 1, Draws 2
The turmoil at Chelsea in relation to their dwindling squad availability makes this an even tougher fixture than what it already was before the red cards to Cahill and Fabregas at the weekend. Those suspensions add to the already absent Pedro and Hazard to injury whilst Diego Costa remains an outcast. Where they do have a chance this weekend though is perhaps the unknown factor surrounding Tottenham and how they’ll adapt to playing their home matches at Wembley this season. They had a decent pre-season win over Juventus at Wembley a few weeks back, but there’s no truer test than a premier league fixture. Spurs were solid enough in their win over Newcastle away albeit a silly red card to Jonjo Shelvey helped their cause when the game was locked at 0-0. This will be a tight contest and despite Tottenham looking the stronger of the two, the Wembley factor and perhaps the backs against the wall mentality that Chelsea will need could give them a sniff. For Tottenham though, a win against a title rival not least a win over Chelsea would give them a huge boost not just for their title credentials but it would give them great confidence to get a first up home win at Wembley.
Predicted Result: Tottenham 2-1
Best Bet: Tottenham to win at $2
Best Value Bet: Tottenham to score 2 or more goals at $1.91
Manchester City vs Everton
Last 5 meetings: Everton 2, Manchester City 1, Draws 1
The Title favourites had to wait until late to break through against a resolute Brighton side last week but a win is a win and sometimes these are the tricky fixtures that count for everything in title calculations. The score of 2-0 suggests as much as it does about Brighton’s deep defending as it does that City still need some time to get going. Everton pose a more quality opposition this weekend but one in which City should be winning against. With no Lukaku to headline their attack they’ll need to rely on Rooney who could be about to be reborn in his second stint at Everton. To score on his 2nd debut for the club would have been an incredible feeling for him. The addition this week of Sigurdsson from Swansea is a great one although he may only play a part off the bench this week. On recent meetings between these two at the Etihad though, scoring hasn’t been that easy the last 2 meetings at the Etihad have produced just the 2 goals and this may be 3 meetings in a row where the scores are low. Manchester City look to have a greater focus defensively this season and it’s certainly been a focus in the transfer market. Expect this one to be tight but City will see this as a critical result to their early progress towards the title and they won’t be letting much through.
Predicted Result: Manchester City 1-0
Best Bet: Both teams to score – No at $1.91
Best Value Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $2.45
Southampton vs West Ham
Last 5 meetings: Southampton 2, West Ham 2, Draws 1
West Ham are still figuring themselves out with all the new faces and need to bounce back after a thumping from United. Southampton on the other hand will be looking for a home win after they didn’t take their chances last week.
Predicted Result: Southampton 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.89
Best Value Bet: Half-Time Draw at $2.2
Bournemouth vs Watford
Last 5 meetings: Bournemouth 1, Draws 4
These two don’t mind a draw nor do they mind scoring a goal when they meet with the last 2 meetings producing 8 goals with 4 apiece. Expect much of the same in this one in Bournemouth’s first home game of the season whilst Watford showed their capabilities against Liverpool last time out.
Predicted Result: 1-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.72
Best Value Bet: Draw at $3.5
Burnley vs West Brom
Last 5 meetings: West Brom 2, Burnley 1, Draws 2
Burnley won’t give much away as usual when they play at home whilst the win over a 9 man Chelsea last time out will be a major boost just so long as they don’t get complacent. The Baggies run a tight ship at the back and with Burnley tough to break down there could be little in the way of goals in this one.
Predicted Result: Draw 0-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.5
Best Value Bet: Both teams to score – No at $1.72
Leicester vs Brighton
Last 5 meetings: Leicester 1, Brighton 3, Draws 1
Unlucky to not get more from Arsenal last time out, Leicester will have a hungry Brighton side coming at them this weekend. There’s little to read into on recent meetings with the last one back in 2014, but Leicester weren’t bad at home last season compared to their away form so should win this.
Predicted Result: Leicester 2-0
Best Bet: Leicester to win at $1.72
Best Value Bet: Leicester to lead at half-time at $2.25
Huddersfield vs Newcastle
Last 5 meetings: Newcastle 2, Huddersfield 1, Draws 2
A silly red card for Jonjo Shelvey ruined chance of Newcastle capturing an upset draw with Tottenham last time out. An away trip to newly promoted Huddersfield doesn’t look to easy either after they beat Palace 3-0. Injuries to Dummett and Lejeune may stretch them as well.
Predicted Result: Huddersfield 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.83
Best Value Bet: Half-time Draw at $1.91