Bournemouth v Newcastle
You couldn’t help but be impressed by Bournemouth’s free-flowing football last season. They were a breath of fresh air but with the pressure mounting (they’ve picked up just one point from a possible 15 in their last five games) Eddie Howe seems to be flapping and has abandoned a progressive approach in favour of making them hard to beat. Shame on you Eddie. Shame on you.
Betting: Under 2.5 goals at evens (Paddy Power)
Leicester v Watford
Both of these teams have been playing some decent stuff of late but Leicester’s form is that bit more impressive and in Jamie Vardy they have a striker who just can’t stop scoring. Indeed he has scored in eight successive Premier League games and is two short of equalling Ruud van Nistelrooy’s mind-blowing feat of scoring in 10 successive PL matches. If he gets it his achievement would be all the more impressive given the fact he doesn’t play for a ‘big club’ like Manchester United. Or facially look like a Doberman.
Betting: Vardy to score anytime at 21/20 (Boylesports)
Manchester United v West Brom
Tuesday night relieved the pressure on LVG and a certain Wayne Rooney somewhat but the boos ringing around Old Trafford told their own story. And when Andrei Kanchelskis starts piping up claiming United are playing like “robots” you know something must be off. I see a home win here but I do not see it being achieved with a swagger and for this reason see the 10/11 about their being less than three goals on the day (a day when West Brom will park the bus) as being an absolute gift from the punting Gods.
Betting: Under 2.5 goals at 10/11 (Hills)
Norwich City v Swansea City
Norwich are really struggling and have just not been cutting the mustard at home so far this season. Swansea’s recent form too has been patchier then a pair of clown’s trousers so I’ll sit firming on the fence here and shout score draw.
Betting: Norwich and Swansea to draw 1-1 at 13/2 (Bet Victor)
Sunderland v Southampton
Big Sam has a big job on alright. He probably knew anyway but their 6-2 spanking at Everton last Sunday merely highlighted the fact that this Sunderland side are a bit pathetic. They are heavy odds on for the drop. While Younes Kaboul is just heavy. Away win.
Betting: Southampton to win and both teams to score at 3/1 (bet365)
West Ham v Everton
A win for West Ham could take them back into the top four this weekend and the media are right to wax lyrical about the side Slaven Bilic has put together at Upton Park. They may take a while to get to Everton but I do fancy them to claim another three points and thus give Ray Winstone what he himself may term, ‘a proper raging salmon’.
Betting: HT Draw – FT West Ham at 11/2 (Betfred)
Stoke City v Chelsea
I’ve finally lost patience with Chelsea after losing my shirt and trousers punting them to beat Liverpool last week. They were taken to the wire in midweek too by a frankly poor Dynamo Kiev side and regardless of what John Terry says they are a team in turmoil. Looking at it I think Stoke have a real shout here and see 3/1 quotes for a home win as laughably big.
Betting: Stoke to win at 3/1 (Bet Victor/Betfred)
Aston Villa v Manchester City
This one could be x-rated if you are a Villa fan. Remi Garde takes charge of his first game from the dugout and it doesn’t get much tougher than Man City, who were amazing against a very good Sevilla side in midweek. Raheem Sterling is in great form for the Blues, who don’t seem to be missing Messrs Aguero and Silva as much as many anticipated. Pellegrini’s men should win this at a canter. And my gut feeling is Garde is going to bomb at Villa Park – Jozef Venglos style.
Betting: Manchester City (-2) to win at 16/5 (Paddy Power)
Arsenal v Tottenham
Huge game for both clubs. Spurs have been free scoring in their last two games and Harry Kane has bagged four in that time, simultaneously giving his critics a massive ‘Up Yours Pal’ in the process. A Spurs win would reduce the arrears on their north London rivals to just two points and they get their big rivals at just the right time. Not only were the Gunners rodgered 5-1 by Bayern Munich in the week, they also could have as many as 10 players out for this. So facing the prospect of having Betty the Tea Lady line up for them in midfield now could well be the time to tickle Spurs on the handicap.
Betting: Tottenham (+1) to beat Arsenal at 13/10 (bet365)
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Jurgen Klopp is definitely starting to weave his magic on Merseyside and the red men will be looking to make it four straight wins in all competitions with victory here. Klopp reminds me of one of those teachers at school who was cool as f*ck. He would swear, talk about pop music and even break the guitar out now and again for a ‘jam’ in class. Alan Pardew meanwhile is more like that teacher with shocking BO who was a stickler for the rules and drove a reliant robin. He ate boiled sweets, wore Hai Karate and only had sex with his wife twice a year (Christmas and birthday nights – and it was strictly missionary fayre on both of those occasions).
Betting: Liverpool to win by one goal at 11/4 (Stan James)