Degsy is backing Brendan to alleviate some pressure with victory over Norwich. Man United will also beat Southampton…
Chelsea v Arsenal
Chelsea have not kept a clean sheet all season (including pre-season) and they look unrecognisable from the side that made all the running in the Premier League this time last year. Hilariously, Jose Mourinho has apparently banned his players from engaging in ‘banter’ following their dismal start, a start that has left them languishing at the wrong end of the table. Will prohibiting ‘bantz’ see an upturn in fortunes? Will forbidding Willian to whip an unsuspecting John Obi Mikel with a soggy towel in the showers after training see them across the line against Arsenal? My guess is not. Indeed I reckon Arsenal look a great shout at 29/20 to score twice in this match against a Blues rearguard who seemingly don’t know whether to stick or twist at present.
Betting: Arsenal to score 2+ goals at 29/20 (Coral)
Aston Villa v West Brom
Speaking of dodgy defences, Villa have not kept a clean sheet since the opening day and their second-half collapse at Leicester was pretty horrific (unless you’d backed Leicester, obviously). They have shipped eight goals in their last three matches. Contrast that with the Baggies, who have kept three clean sheets. Big derby game this. The atmosphere will be white hot but my hunch is goals will be at a premium.
Betting: Both teams to score – No at 4/5 (Paddy Power)
Bournemouth v Sunderland
The Cherries have yet to beat the Black Cats in six attempts but won’t be sh*tting themselves about a meeting with the Wearsiders, who are yet to win themselves this season. Sunderland gave it a real go against Spurs last weekend by all accounts and the signs are that the players are knuckling down at last. I may be in the minority, but I feel 9/2 about the away win here is decent when you factor in Bournemouth’s poor effort against Norwich last time out.
Betting: Sunderland to win at 9/2 (Betfred/Bet365/Paddy Power)
Newcastle v Watford
New season. Same old nonsense from Newcastle, who prop up the table after five matches. There will be another full house this weekend, but 50,000 in the stands don’t mean jack if the 11 selected players are not up to the task. They’ve spent some decent money this summer so Steve McLaren will be feeling the heat and I think Watford have enough about them to claim a point here. In Odion Ighalo, Watford have a player who has scored 18 goals in 23 games so far in 2015 and the nippy Nigerian looks a big price to score first on Tyneside.
Betting: Ighalo to score first at 15/2 (Boylesports)
Stoke City v Leicester City
Stoke have lost their way a bit in recent weeks while Leicester have been flying. Every Premier League fixture between these teams had finished 1-0 to the team playing away and I’m going to gamble that sequence continues on Saturday.
Betting: Leicester to win 1-0 at 19/2 (Bet Victor)
Swansea v Everton
Steven Naismith was swaggering about like Neymar at Goodison last Saturday and his treble against the champions will go down in Toffees folklore. ‘Naismar’ is a whopping 3/1 to continue his goalscoring exploits in Wales and I am all over that bad boy. Be afraid bet365. Be very afraid…
Betting: Naismith to score anytime at 3/1 (bet365)
Manchester City v West Ham
The Citizens’ inability to beat Juventus on Tuesday night cost yours truly over £380 and led me into a dark place from which I have only just emerged. So even though I write this through gritted teeth I fancy the hosts to maintain their perfect league form. That said I can definitely see West Ham scoring. Citeh have won 11 straight top-flight games and have the 14 chalked up by Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ firmly in their sights.
Betting: Manchester City to win and both teams to score at 17/10 (Coral)
Tottenham v Crystal Palace
Spurs have been unconvincing at home so far and I would much rather take the 4/5 about both teams scoring here than the even money about a home win. Spurs were involved in Europa League action on Thursday and have key personnel missing. Palace are flying.
Betting: Both teams to score at 4/5 (Bet Victor)
Liverpool v Norwich City
Philippe Coutinho’s return for Liverpool might be the difference here. But make no bones, if the Reds fail to take maximum points from this fixture the pressure on Brendan Rodgers will be almost unbearable. It’s mad to think that just 16 short months ago Rodgers was a couple of wins away from winning the league and thus joining the likes of Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish in the pantheon of great Anfield bosses. He’s desperately trying to avoid adding to Merseyside’s unemployment statistics, but has he bought well enough and do the players respect him enough to get through this current malaise? Sunday should tell us plenty.
Betting: Liverpool to win and both teams to score at 13/5 (bet365/William Hill)
Southampton v Manchester United
This one should be intriguing and one wonders how the Red Devils will bounce back following their horror night in Eindhoven. Now I like social media. I like the fact that nearly 12 years worth of YouTube footage is uploaded every single day. I like how if Twitter were a country, it would apparently be the twelfth largest in the world. I especially like trawling Facebook on a Sunday morning looking for status evidence of folk having actual breakdowns online after smashing 16 pints and seven jäger bombs into them the night before. Yet I was disgusted to see people, loads of people in fact, gloating and poking fun at Luke Shaw’s double leg break the other night. I’m not sure how ManYoo will cope in his absence (he’s arguably been their star man this season) but I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing the young England international a speedy recovery.
Betting: Manchester United to win 2-1 at 10/1 (bet365)