Manchester City v Chelsea
What a game to kick off Premier League proceedings this weekend. Indeed, if this game was an Eastenders character, it would be Dirty Den; it’s that f**king big. Huge test of Chelsea’s title credentials and their 3-4-3 system. Antonio Conte’s men have won seven off the belt, scoring 19 and conceding just one. If they win at the Etihad, their title odds will be slashed to ribbons. But how will they cope with Sergio Aguero, a player who has scored in 33 of his last 34 matches for City and who hit a sublime hat-trick the last time these teams met back in April? It’s anyone’s game for me and this is why I’m slightly shocked to see Pep Guardiola’s men chalked up at odds as short as 11/10. Personally I’m happy to throw a few quid at the draw but wouldn’t be surprised if Chelsea made a statement in Manchester.
Betting: Draw at 13/5 (Hills)
Crystal Palace v Southampton
Alan Pardew’s job is hanging by a thread after a run of six straight defeats. They were an absolute shambles defensively in losing 5-4 at Swansea last weekend. You should never lose 5-4 at Swansea. Ever. Not even on a bloody PlayStation. Big Pards has apparently been locked in crisis talks with Steve Parish this week, with both Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson rumoured to be interested in the Eagles gig. Pardew has lost four of his last five Premier League games against the Saints, who look well tempting here at 13/10.
Betting: Southampton to win at 13/10 (Paddy Power)
Stoke City v Burnley
Stoke know a win against Burnley on Saturday could lift them as high as seventh. It’s been some turnaround for Mark Hughes who was under a bit of pressure after a difficult start this season. They’ve actually lost just one of their last eight and I fancy them to have too much for The Clarets here.
Betting: Stoke to win 2-0 at 15/2 (Bet Victor)
Sunderland v Leicester City
Leicester’s league form is a joke currently but the Black Cats still look up against it here having not beaten the Foxes since the 2001/02 season. Given what they achieved last season it’s a remarkable stat that Leicester have yet to lead at any point this season in the Premier League in matches away from the King Power. Sunderland are better than 2/1 in the betting but I am loathe to back a dude who went to Liverpool and played 8-2-0.
Betting: No goalscorer at 10/1 (Sky Bet)
Tottenham v Swansea
Crazy to think that Spurs are still in the title picture despite the fact they’ve been s**t for all but about two games this season. They’ll beat Swansea though, and beat ’em good.
Betting: Tottenham to win to nil at 11/8 (Bet Victor)
West Brom v Watford
Not an easy game to call this with Watford about as predictable these days as Princess Beatrice armed with a large sword. West Brom’s recent form has been slightly better than the Hornets but a draw here looks a fair shout, all things considered.
Betting: 1-1 draw at 6/1 (Bet Victor)
West Ham v Arsenal
Arsenal crashed out of the EFL Cup in midweek but they will be looking to start December with a bang and a win here would keep them right in touch at the top of the table. Theo Walcott loves playing against the Hammers; he’s bagged five in the Premier League against them, the most against any opponent he has faced. He’s 6/1 to score first and has the added incentive that his missus will buy him a coffee machine for Christmas if he scores ten goals before the big day.
Betting: Walcott to score first at 6/1 (Bet Victor)
Bournemouth v Liverpool
Philippe Coutinho’s injury cast a dark cloud over Liverpool’s season but the news could have been worse and the gifted Brazilian should be back within six weeks. Divock Origi has proved a willing deputy for the Reds, who can boost their title challenge further with another win on the south coast. Bournemouth were well beaten at Arsenal and lost 2-1 at home to 10-man Sunderland a few weeks ago. I just don’t think they have the team nor the tactics to keep a rampaging Liverpool at bay here.
Betting: Liverpool (-1) to win at 19/10 (Bet Victor)
Everton v Manchester United
Wayne Rooney will have to wait a while yet to equal Sir Bobby Charlton’s scoring record for United after picking up a fifth booking of the season against West Ham in the week. He was cautioned for dissent and, a little like his hair transplants, it was all rather needless. However the Red Devils were brilliant on Wednesday and if they put in a similar shift here they will be too much for Everton, who have stagnated after an impressive start to the season. Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a revelation in the EFL Cup win and my favourite ever Armenian must surely start against the Toffees.
Betting: Manchester United to win and both teams to score at 100/30 (bet365/Paddy Power)