Chelsea kept up their 100% record last weekend with a 4-2 win over Swansea and head into Sunday’s big match with Manchester City at the top of the table.
A loss for Newcastle United, West Ham or West Brom could be a fatal blow to their manager – even this early in the season – and so it’s a big week of fixtures for all sorts of reasons. Keep reading for our preview of all the Premier League action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
Had Scott Arfield converted his 85th minute penalty against Crystal Palace last weekend, Burnley would sit in 13th place in the table on the back of a win, a draw and two clean sheets.
As it is, Sean Dyche will have been encouraged by his team’s last two performances in draws against Manchester United and Palace although a lack of goals could be Burnley’s problem this season. The Clarets are at home again this weekend and face Sunderland who have just three points from their four games.
Both teams have yet to win in the Premier League this season and Sunderland were a little lucky to escape with a point from last Saturday’s home match with Spurs. It took a late Harry Kane own goal to rescue a point for the Black Cats and Gus Poyet admitted that Sunderland had to work hard for a point.
This should be a close game but it’s only a matter of time before Dyche’s organised side get a little bit of luck and record their first win. Burnley look excellent value to beat Sunderland at Turf Moor at 6/4.
Saturday’s other action
It has been a frustrating season so far for Stoke City. A terrific win at Manchester City has been sandwiched between home defeats to Aston Villa and Leicester City and Stoke have now lost consecutive home matches for the first time since April 2013.
Mark Hughes’ side travel to struggling QPR in Saturday’s early kick-off in a match they would hope to win. QPR were well beaten last Sunday and I fancy Stoke to win at 9/5.
Before the season began you’d have got long odds on Aston Villa being Chelsea’s closest challengers in mid-September. An organised and disciplined performance saw Villa win at Anfield last weekend and Paul Lambert’s high-flying side welcome Arsenal to Villa Park on Saturday.
After their European exertions and with some defensive injury problems it could be a good time to face Arsenal. Villa are 7/2 to win with Arsenal available at a skinny 4/5.
A defeat for Newcastle United at St James Park this weekend would almost certainly be the end for Alan Pardew. The Magpies play Hull City and it promises to be a toxic atmosphere on Tyneside.
Despite their summer investment Hull haven’t really clicked this season and twice gave away a lead on Monday night to draw 2-2 with QPR. Newcastle ought to win – and desperately need to – but United have been rotten this season so far and Hull look the value at 13/5.
Third plays fourth at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday as Swansea City face Southampton. Both teams play attractive football and this could be an entertaining tie between two of the league’s more aesthetically pleasing sides. Swansea are 6/4 although this could be a high scoring draw at 23/10.
It’s been a disappointing start to the season for Liverpool and they face a tricky away tie at West Ham in Saturday’s late kick-off. Liverpool are 8/11 to win but the 4/1 on a home win looks tempting.
Top clubs in action on Sunday
Both Leicester City and Manchester United recorded their first league wins of the season last weekend and the two sides meet at the King Power Stadium on Sunday lunchtime.
United looked to have finally clicked in their win over QPR and, if their superstars play as they did last weekend, they should have too much for City at 8/13. In the 4pm kick-off, Everton can follow up their 2-0 win at WBA with a home win over Crystal Palace at 2/5.
Mauricio Pochettino said that Spurs had to improve after their 2-2 draw with Sunderland last week. His side look to have a winnable home match this Sunday against West Bromwich Albion where the pressure is starting to build on boss Alan Irvine with his side yet to record a win. Spurs should secure the three points at 1/2.
Sunday’s big match sees the two main title rivals go head to head. Manchester City host Chelsea and this promises to be an intriguing tie. City’s form this season has been variable while Chelsea have recorded four wins out of four and top the table.
I think the title will go to one or other of these sides but Chelsea can strike an early blow with an away win at 9/5.
The transfer window has closed until January and this weekend will give thousands of fans the first chance to see some of their club’s new players in action. With the likes of Radamel Falcao, Danny Welbeck, Hatem Ben Arfa and Sandro moving clubs there will be plenty of interest in the debuts of some of these multi-million pound stars.
Keep reading for our preview of all the Premier League action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
Crystal Palace’s search for a new manager ended with the appointment of Neil Warnock: a man whose philosophy seems to be a reasonable match for former boss Tony Pulis.
Since his appointment Warnock has added proven Premier League experience in the form of James MacArthur, Kevin Doyle and Wilfried Zaha as well as promise in the form of ex-Spurs defender Zeki Fryers. More importantly, he has also been able to keep hold of the core of his team.
After their excellent run at the end of last season I don’t think Crystal Palace have become a poor team overnight. Still well organised and with some decent players they perhaps ought to have won at Newcastle last week and I expect them to get their campaign up and running with a home win on Saturday against Burnley.
Burnley have endured a tricky start to the campaign although were spirited in defeats to Swansea and Chelsea and secured their first point of the season last Saturday against fellow strugglers Manchester United.
Sean Dyche’s side really need a win sooner rather than later but Crystal Palace look fantastic value at 11/10 to get their first three points of the season.
All the other action
Two of the title challengers meet in Saturday’s early kick-off as Arsenal host Manchester City.
The Gunners’ early transfer business had whetted the fans’ appetite for the new season but the injury to Olivier Giroud and a lack of defensive reinforcements have left supporters concerned about the lack of arrivals. Danny Welbeck should slot straight into Arsenal’s attack for this match and the England international should prove a more effective front man than either Yaya Sanogo or Lukas Podolski.
Manchester City slumped to an unexpected defeat at home to Stoke last weekend and have rather blown hot and cold this season so far. When they have been good they have been very good and I fancy them to cause Arsenal’s defence some problems. An entertaining draw could be the call here with 2-2 available at 10/1.
Chelsea’s record at Stamford Bridge is second to none and they can end Swansea City’s 100% start to the season with a win at 1/4. Liverpool should also record a comfortable home win and are 1/4 to beat high flying Aston Villa. I also like Stoke City’s chances of following up their win over Manchester City with a home victory over Leicester City at evens.
Spurs had shown encouragement to their fans with their early performances before coming crashing down to earth in a 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool last Sunday. Mauricio Pochettino’s side head to Sunderland this weekend and face a tricky test against Gus Poyet’s well organised if limited side. This is precisely the sort of match that Spurs tend to lose and the 5/2 on a home victory looks terrific value.
It may well also be worth a speculative punt on West Bromwich Albion to register their first win of the season as they take on Everton at the Hawthorns. Once Alan Irvine’s raft of new signings starts to click they should end up comfortably in mid table and could have enough to beat Everton at 23/10.
Southampton are 5/6 to follow up their win last Saturday with victory at home over Newcastle United.
Sunday’s match sees Manchester United try to register their first win of the season as they host QPR. While their attacking talent may be the envy of the league – Mata, Rooney, van Persie and Falcao – their lack of defensive reinforcements mean that Louis van Gaal’s side remain vulnerable. I fancy United to beat QPR but the evens on both teams to score looks good value.
Hull City have been one of the transfer window’s biggest spenders and can parade the likes of Gaston Ramirez, Mohamed Diame, Hatem Ben Arfa and Abel Hernandez as they welcome West Ham United on Monday evening.
Steve Bruce has added proven quality to an already decent side and they can hasten Sam Allardyce’s inevitable departure with a win at 6/5.
Four teams take a 100% record into the third weekend of Premier League fixtures with Spurs setting the early pace at the top of the table. There have been plenty of talking points already so far this season, and there are more intriguing fixtures this weekend.
Keep reading for our preview of all the Premier League action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
To celebrate the 50th birthday of Match of the Day last weekend, the BBC brought back seasoned commentator Barry Davies for one week only. It had been 45 years since Davies had commentated on his first match for the show and he returned to the scene of his first report – Selhurst Park – for the anniversary.
What he saw was a spirited West Ham side with no shortage of quality comfortably beat Crystal Palace. Sam Allardyce has been charged this season with not only improving results but also the style of his side and there was plenty to enjoy in the 3-1 win.
West Ham host Southampton this weekend and while the Hammers were winning in style, the Saints were labouring to a 0-0 draw at home against West Brom. I have said it before and will say it again: Ronald Koeman’s managerial record over the years is extremely mediocre and I fear for Southampton’s season, especially considering their exodus of players over the summer.
If West Ham can play as they did last weekend they should have too much for the struggling Saints. Back the home side at 8/5.
All the other action
While there may have been an unfamiliar look about Manchester United’s line-up in the Capital One Cup this week, the combined starting eleven can boast almost 700 league appearances for the side. That makes their 4-0 capitulation to the MK Dons even more humbling and United head to Turf Moor in Saturday’s early kick-off knowing that they can’t afford another defeat – this time to promoted Burnley.
Burnley have played well in patches in both their games this season without any points to show for it but will take encouragement from their last season in the top flight when they beat United in an early season encounter. Angel di Maria could make his United debut after his record move (he is 11/5 to score on his debut) but considering how badly they have played to date the 8/15 on the away side doesn’t look very generous.
Everton take on Chelsea in Saturday’s tea-time kick off and that could be a terrific match. Everton were cruising to victory against Arsenal last week before switching off in the last ten minutes while Chelsea had to dig deep to see off Leicester. This should be close but Mourinho’s side can nick this at 11/10.
Manchester City should have no problem in dispatching Stoke City at 2/11 on Saturday afternoon while Newcastle can register their first win of the campaign by beating Crystal Palace who will have new boss Neil Warnock in charge at St James’ Park. QPR are 6/4 to get off the mark with a win against Sunderland while Swansea can make it three wins out of three with a home victory over West Bromwich Albion at 17/20.
Sunday’s big match sees league leaders Spurs take on Liverpool at White Hart Lane. This fixture last season ended 5-0 to the Reds but I envisage it being closer this time around. Spurs are 8/5 to win and stay top of the table while Liverpool need to bounce back after their defeat to Manchester City and can be backed at 17/10.
Aston Villa have enjoyed a better start to the season than many expected and can continue their good form with a home win over Hull City at 5/4. And, now that they have safely reached the Champions League group stage, Arsenal can concentrate on the league and should start with a win at Leicester City at 4/5.
There was plenty of action and talking points in the opening weekend of the Premier League season. Louis van Gaal’s reign as Manchester United manager ended in home defeat while all the title challengers came through their opening fixtures with wins.
There are more intriguing fixtures this weekend and so keep reading for our preview of all the Premier League action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
Earlier this summer, Louis van Gaal admitted that his first three months in charge of Manchester United would be ‘a struggle’. The Dutchman confessed that his aim in the first three months at a club has been to ‘survive’ and that it takes time for new teams to get used to his tactics and management style.
That was apparent in United’s opening day defeat to Swansea where it was clear that van Gaal faces problems both in terms of personnel and performances. With a major injury crisis and another player departing this week (Nani has gone to Sporting Lisbon) things could get worse at Old Trafford before they get better.
On Sunday United travel to Sunderland who opened their campaign with an encouraging 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion. Gus Poyet still needs to add a striker to his squad – the talk this week has been of signing Danny Welbeck – but in recent years the Black Cats have shown that they can go toe to toe with the big guns at the Stadium of Light.
Van Gaal’s first three Bayern Munich games ended in two 1-1 draws and a defeat and with a threadbare squad it could be another tricky weekend. Sunderland look terrific value at 7/2 to heap more pressure on the United manager.
All the other action
The title contenders all opened with wins although some were made to work harder for them than expected. Liverpool overcome Southampton 2-1 and feature in the match of the weekend as they travel to Manchester City on Monday night.
City looked comfortable in their win at St James Park last Sunday and were excellent at home last season. They look good value at 17/20 to make it two wins out of two.
Arsenal scored a last minute winner to see off Crystal Palace before a reasonably successful trip to Turkey where they drew 0-0 with Besiktas in the first leg of their Champions League play-off. They face a tricky away tie at Everton in Saturday’s late kick-off and this promises to be a terrific match.
There is little to choose in the betting between these two sides but I fancy the Gunners to prevail in a close match at 8/5.
Chelsea should have too much for promoted Leicester at 2/9 while Spurs welcome back a former manager as they face Harry Redknapp’s QPR at White Hart Lane on Sunday. Spurs can make it two wins out of two at 1/2.
Aston Villa were surprise winners at Stoke City last weekend and face Newcastle United at Villa Park. A home win would pile more pressure on Alan Pardew and there’s not much to choose between the sides. The draw at 9/4 could be the call.
Sam Allardyce is many people’s favourite to win the sack race this season and his West Ham side travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Palace were unlucky to lose at the Emirates last weekend and could pile more pressure on the Hammers boss by winning at 7/5. I also fancy Hull City to see off Stoke City at 6/4 while Swansea City were excellent at Old Trafford and can beat Burnley at 7/10.
I remain unconvinced about Southampton’s chances this season despite their spirited showing at Anfield. They are just 10/11 to beat West Bromwich Albion at St Mary’s but the value looks to be on the away side at 3/1.
It’s only been a month since the end of the World Cup but the new Premier League starts this weekend. With many clubs yet to conclude their transfer activity there could be some intriguing results over the next couple of weeks and there’s plenty of value to be had in the first round of fixtures.
Keep reading for our preview of all the weekend’s Premier League action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
Stoke City went quietly about their business last season eventually finishing in 9th place, their best finish since their return to the Premier League. This was achieved with playing a more expansive type of football than fans had been used to under Tony Pulis and boss Mark Hughes looks to have made some excellent additions to his squad in the close season.
Steve Sidwell and ex Manchester United players Phil Bardsley and Mame Diouf have come in on free transfers while the former Barcelona wonderkid Bojan Krkic could be a terrific signing if he can rediscover the form he showed as a teenager.
Stoke start their campaign at the Britannia Stadium this Saturday against Aston Villa. Villa’s most high profile addition this summer has been the appointment of Roy Keane as assistant manager, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Irishman in the top job before the year is out. Signings including Joe Cole, Philippe Senderos and Keiron Richardson have hardly set pulses racing at Villa Park and most fans are expecting it to be another long, hard relegation battle.
Stoke are 19/20 to begin their campaign with three points and this looks like absolutely terrific value.
All the other action
The 2014/15 Premier League season kicks off at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime as Manchester United take on Swansea City in Louis van Gaal’s first league match in charge.
United have been in imperious pre-season form – winning six out of six matches – but it’s worth remembering that Swansea won at Old Trafford in the FA Cup earlier this year. United ought to get off to a flying start at 1/3 and new captain Wayne Rooney can net the Reds first goal of the new season at 3/1.
As well as siding with United, there looks to be value in backing some of the other home sides on the opening weekend of the campaign.
Manchester City looked strangely out of sorts in their 3-0 Community Shield defeat last Sunday and could be vulnerable to a revitalised Newcastle United side at St James’ Park. Alan Pardew is likely to field a number of new signings and the Magpies look excellent value at 4/1 to get off to a great start.
West Ham are 5/2 to beat Spurs at the Boleyn Ground and, again, that looks to be where the value lies. Leicester City are 2/1 to mark their return to the top flight with a win against Everton while I also like the chances of West Bromwich Albion. Alan Irvine has made some shrewd signings in the close season and the Baggies are 13/10 to get all three points against Sunderland.
QPR ought to have a better campaign than their last top-flight effort this time around and are 6/4 to beat FA Cup finalists Hull City.
The big guns have been given relatively straightforward ties in the opening weekend and all should open with a morale boosting win. Arsenal look to have the easiest task as they face Crystal Palace at the Emirates in Saturday’s late kick-off and are 3/10 to win. A handful of Southampton old boys are likely to face their former employers at Anfield where Liverpool ought to get off to a winning start at 4/11.
Chelsea face the promoted Burnley in Monday night’s match. There promises to be a terrific atmosphere at Turf Moor but I fancy Jose Mourinho’s side to send out a true statement of intent at 2/5.
One ante-post bet to consider
Southampton have lost most of their best players, bought replacements untested in the Premier League and have appointed a manager with no English experience. Indeed, with the exception of his recent spell at Feyenoord, Ronald Koeman’s managerial record is decidedly mediocre and previous stints at Valencia, AZ, Ajax and Benfica have been less than impressive.
You can get 4/1 on Southampton’s relegation from the Premier League and while there may be three worse sides on paper, it could be a year of struggle for the Saints.
With a third of the season left, the Premier League is as intriguing as it has ever been. Four teams have genuine title ambitions, five more are gunning for European places and just eight points separate the bottom eleven sides.
So, as we enter the final straight, we look at where the betting value lies in this season’s Premier League.
A four horse race for the title
With twelve matches left, just four points separates the top four sides in the Premier League. Chelsea lead the way from Arsenal with Manchester City and Liverpool in close pursuit.
City remain the 6/5 favourites for the title and there will be plenty of backers for Manuel Pelligrini’s side. Their home form this season has been excellent and there is plenty of strength in depth in the squad. And, their next four Premier League games are against Stoke, Aston Villa, Hull and Fulham and so they could be in a strong position come the middle of March.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that City have four very tricky away fixtures to negotiate. They travel to Arsenal and to neighbours Manchester City in five days at the end of March before awkward ties at Liverpool in April and Everton in early May.
I actually much prefer the chances of current table toppers Chelsea at 17/10. The Blues’ most difficult away match is on the very last day of the season when they travel to Anfield but in the meantime trips to the likes of Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Swansea look more straightforward.
Yet again, Arsenal’s season looks to be petering out. A heavy defeat at Anfield and a bore draw at home to Manchester United suggest the team is running out of steam. They also have a difficult set of fixtures and face Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton in an 18 day period. They represent decent value – just a point off the top and available at 8/1 – but it looks like being another disappointing season for Gunners fans.
Brendan Rodgers insists that Liverpool remain in the title race and on the evidence of their recent displays you’d have to take him seriously. Their fate is in their own hands – they play two of the teams above them at Anfield in the run-in – and if they can avoid slip-ups at the likes of West Ham, Cardiff and Palace then they could still have a say in the title race. They are 8/1 to win their first title since 1990.
European spots up for grabs
Will Manchester United finish in the European places? It’s a question that would have seemed ludicrous at the start of the season but David Moyes’ side remain three points behind Everton and eleven points off a Champions League qualification berth.
We’ve been waiting for the United revival all season but perhaps it’s now time to acknowledge that it is unlikely to happen. Their form is terrible and it’s hard to see where a win against a decent side will come from, especially considering they have only beaten one of the top 9 sides in the league this season. The 1/2 on them overhauling Everton or Spurs looks one to swerve.
I like Everton’s chances of a top 6 finish at 4/6. Roberto Martinez has done a great job at Goodison and I expect them to secure enough points over the remaining games to keep United at bay. Spurs should complete the top 6 although the 1/8 doesn’t represent much value.
The tightest relegation race in years
Two months ago West Ham were in the bottom three and Sam Allardyce was facing the sack. Fast forward to now and the Hammers sit in eleventh position, four points above the drop zone. Earlier in the season it seemed that Sunderland and Crystal Palace were doomed but both of those teams have also been revived under new management.
It’s that kind of league this season and picking the three teams that will go down is tough. Fulham look the weakest team in the league right now and, in Felix Magath, have appointed their third manager in as many months. They have a set of winnable home matches against relegation rivals to come and so maximum points against Norwich, Hull and Crystal Palace could be key to their survival.
Despite their managerial change I do think it could be tough for Cardiff City to stay up. I’m not sure they have the firepower to survive and they have to welcome the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool before the end of the season. The Bluebirds are 8/11 to be relegated.
I think Swansea, Hull, Stoke, West Brom and Sunderland will all so enough to stay up and so the final relegation place looks like a battle between Crystal Palace, Norwich and Aston Villa. A couple of weeks ago I’d have said that Norwich looked the most likely, but having considered the fixtures I think it may finally be the turn of Aston Villa to lose their top flight status.
Paul Lambert’s side are in no form at all and have to play both Manchester sides, Chelsea and Spurs before the end of the season. Their home form is dreadful and so even winnable looking matches against Norwich, Stoke and Fulham look like being a test and they could very easily be dragged into serious trouble.
While Norwich or Palace may end up being the ones that go down, the 10/1 available on Villa dropping into the Championship looks too good to ignore.
Having bagged a couple in the Community Shield, Robin van Persie looks in good nick ahead of the new Premier League season and the Dutch striker will be trying to make sure it is he slipping on the Golden Boot again at the end of the campaign
The close season, summer break or, as they insist on calling it on TV, the transfer window, has been dominated this year by who might be leaving rather than who’s arrived.