Manchester City v Liverpool
Well here we are again. I’m suitably refreshed after ten days in Benidorm that passed by largely without incident, save for the pool being evacuated due to a floating turd being discovered in the shallow end (that’ll teach them to call a f**king toastie a panini). If ever a game should banish those pesky international break blues though it is this; it screams goalfest. There’s not been a 0-0 draw between the two sides since 2010 and if you’d have backed both teams to score in the last five matches at the Etihad you’d have won each time. Liverpool’s fine recent record against the Citizens cannot be ignored and the general rule is Jurgen Klopp’s team always do well against the top clubs. Then they struggle against the s**te. Liverpool to win and both teams to score is available at bigger than 5/1. Now if that doesn’t make you hot under the collar you are basically dead.
Betting: Liverpool to win and both teams to score at 21/4 (Stan James)
Arsenal v Bournemouth
Abject. Dishonourable. Humiliating. Scandalous. Just a few words to sum up Arsenal’s ‘effort’ at Liverpool the other week. Now ask yourself honestly, would you really go conkers deep on them at 4/11 to beat Bournemouth here? Anyone who does is just flat out mental. They just look so bad at the back and it might pay to lay down a few bones on the draw at 5/1.
Betting: Draw at 5/1 (Unibet)
Brighton v West Brom
How ‘West Brom’ have West Brom been so far this season? Three games. Two 1-0 wins and 1-1 draw. At Stoke. Fifth top. No f**ks given. You just know Mr Pulis will send his side to Brighton to be complete nuisances. And probably emerge with a 1-0 win.
Betting: West Brom to win 1-0 at 7/1 (Betfair)
Everton v Tottenham
Spurs going off as solid favourites here in the betting is interesting, given that Everton have lost just one game at HQ in the league this calendar year. Three of the last four meetings between the teams at Goodison Park have ended all square, and then there’s the Wayne Rooney factor. Pilloried in the media after his recent drink driving arrest, I’m not sure I can resist nibbling odds of bigger than 6/1 about him creating more positive headlines on Merseyside.
Betting: Rooney to score first at 13/2 (Bet Victor)
Leicester City v Chelsea
Ray Wilkins was raging in the week about the fact Chelsea sold Nemanja Matic to Manchester United. Wilkins is essentially the definition of your dad. Bald, says ‘matey’ a lot, rates players who are clearly bobbins, and uses irrelevant arguments to make a point. Except he has got a point regarding Matic, a player who Chelsea are all the weaker for losing and who United are all the stronger for signing.
Antonio Conte’s men are a shade of odds on to win at Leicester, who they beat 3-0 home and away last season, but the smart play here is to back both teams to score.
Betting: Both teams to score at 4/5 (Betfred/Stan James)
Southampton v Watford
Mauricio Pellegrino won the transfer war with Virgil van Dijk but now must earn his dough as a manager by getting a tune on the pitch out of the wantaway Dutchman. Given he has not played since January it’s unlikely van Dijk will feature here and the bookies may be sleeping on Watford, who have started the season very well.
Betting: Watford (Draw no Bet) to win at 100/30 (Betfair/Bet Victor)
Stoke City v Manchester United
United knows it’s never easy in Staffordshire and Stoke have enjoyed the kind of start that should propel them towards another inglorious mid-table finish. However the Red Devils have been perfect so far. Three wins out of three. Ten goals scored and yet to concede. What’s not to like? This is definitely their toughest test to date and when the dust settles on Saturday evening the nation will know a hell of a lot more about their 2017/18 title credentials. Mourinho’s men by one.
Betting: Manchester United to win by one goal at 5/2 (Sky Bet)
Burnley v Crystal Palace
The Frank de Boer era at Palace has not made the best of starts. Clearly. Now will the Dutchman swallow his pride and try and grind out a few results? Or stick to his 3-5-2 ‘philosophy’ and keep pretending Ruben Loftus-Cheek is Johan Cruyff? If it’s the latter they’ll lose again.
Betting: Burnley to win at 11/8 (bet365)
Swansea v Newcastle United
It wasn’t that long ago I was watching my beloved Hartlepool United mix it with Swansea in the Football League. Now we are shambling around the National League with the likes of AFC Fylde and Gateshead while they are signing Renato Sanches. Renato f**king Sanches! Life can be cruel. Sanches, one of the most prodigiously gifted youngsters in Europe, is set to start against the Toon and can help propel his new employers to three points.
Betting: Swansea to win to nil at 3/1 (Sky Bet)