Watford v Manchester United
In terms of resources and personnel this one shouldn’t even be close. It should, in theory, be akin to watching a fight between a Labrador with COPD fighting a massive lion who has not eaten for three days. But United have been really labouring in recent weeks while Watford have enjoyed a decent time of it (they sit just a point behind Liverpool at time of writing). A draw here really wouldn’t surprise me and for this reason I am going to lay a few shekels down on the Hornets getting something at home.
Betting: Watford (+1) to beat Manchester United at 19/20 (Coral)
Chelsea v Norwich City
The Blues have lost their last three in the league so I am stunned to see them chalked up at a ‘best price’ 4/9 to win here. Madness. Absolute f*cking madness! Answer me this. Would you dare, hand on heart, wax the rent money on Chelsea this weekend given how awful they have looked in recent weeks? Exactly.
Betting: Both teams to score at evens (Bet Bright)
Everton v Aston Villa
Everton have not been setting the world alight so far this season but they should get it done against Villa at home. Remi Garde’s men destroyed many a decent coupon the other Sunday in claiming a 0-0 draw at home to Man City but it was hardly a performance for the ages and my hunch is the Toffees claim a hard-fought win here.
Betting: Everton to win by one goal at 11/4 (Stan James)
Newcastle v Leicester
Jamie Vardy has been backed to break Ruud van Nistelrooy’s top-flight scoring record by no lesser authority than Micky Mellon. And as those in the know know, when The Mellon speaks, you listen. The former Fleetwood boss gushed: “He has got fire – he could heat a cold room” – suggesting that when Vardy hangs up his boots, football’s loss could be Scottish Southern Electric’s gain. A hip problem kept him out of England’s recent friendly games with Spain and France but I’m hearing he is prepared to play through the pain barrier in order to have a crack at the Geordies, who were awful against Bournemouth but who somehow came away with a 1-0 win on the south coast. And if he starts, even at 75%, I am all over current 5/4 quotes that he finds the net against a defence that has been pretty pregnable for the most part this season.
Betting: Vardy to score anytime at 5/4 (Ladbrokes)
Southampton v Stoke City
Graziano Pelle is rumoured to be a target for Juventus and the word round the campfire is he is missing his homeland. So what better way to ramp up his stock and nod suggestively towards ‘The Old Lady’ than by firing a few into the old onion bag against Stoke? The Italian Stallion is a 4/1 poke to score first on Saturday and as the old Italian saying goes ‘A chi vuole, non mancano modi’.
Betting: Pelle to score first at 4/1 (bet365)
Swansea v Bournemouth
Both of these teams are in relative freefall and Bournemouth seem to have abandoned their expansive, early season swag mentality in favour of making themselves hard to beat. ‘Sexy’ Eddie Howe has morphed into ‘Steady’ Eddie Howe and for this reason I don’t envisage there being an abundance of goals in this one.
Betting: Under 1.5 goals at 5/2 (Boylesports)
West Brom v Arsenal
A crazy night on the suds a week last Friday resulted in me somehow ending up in Manchester United’s Stretford End the following afternoon (don’t ask). I was bleary-eyed and my underpants were caked in sh*t but I know a bad team when I see one (even through one bloodshot eye). And West Brom are a bad team. Away win. Easy.
Betting: Arsenal (-1) to beat West Brom at 7/5 (Paddy Power)
Manchester City v Liverpool
Former Reds protégée Raheem Sterling might live to regret agent Aidy Ward’s recent baiting of all things Liverpool when he lines up against the Scousers for the first time this weekend. The 20-year-old completed a £50million move in the summer, with Ward recently claiming that Sterling has ‘gone up a tier’ since leaving the Anfield club. Sterling will surely be pleased that ‘maison de brique de la merde’ Mamadou Sakho is missing through injury but can still expect a rough time from Liverpool. Both teams suffered unsatisfactory results last time out and will be keen to get back on track here. I think the layers have this about right though. City, at home, just hold too many trump cards for Klopp’s emerging Liverpool side.
Betting: Manchester City to win and both teams to score at 12/5 (Hills)
Tottenham v West Ham
Spurs don’t have a great record against other clubs from the capital and a win percentage of just 25.7% is worse than Chelsea, Arsenal and West Ham. They face the Hammers this Sunday with both teams locked on 21 points from 12 matches. If Spurs are serious about Champions League qualification, these are the matches they have to be winning and despite the stats I can see them winning an entertaining encounter down the Lane.
Betting: Tottenham to win and both teams to score at 11/5 (Hills)