Manchester City versus Chelsea (Saturday, 12.30)
Following consecutive defeats by Liverpool and Arsenal in September, the switch to a 3-4-3 formation was a stroke of genius by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. The Blues have won their last seven matches in the Premier League, scoring 19 goals and conceding just one, and are in the best possible form ahead of their trip to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday lunchtime. Manchester City are unbeaten at home this season, having scored at least once in all six home matches, but have managed just one clean sheet. Sergio Aguero remains in fine goal-scoring form for the Sky Blues so, in a (hopefully) exciting encounter, let’s try Aguero to score the first goal and Chelsea to win 2-1 at 33/1 with BetVictor.
Selection: Sergio Aguero/Chelsea 2-1 (33/1 with Bet Victor)
Chelsea versus Tottenham Hotspur, Saturday, November 26
Since a harrowing 3-0 defeat by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium at the end of September, Chelsea have won all six Premier League matches, scoring 17 goals and conceding none. Blues’ boss Antonio switched to a 3-4-3 formation for the game against Hull City at the KCOM Stadium and his side hasn’t looked back, with Victor Moses, in particular, enjoying a new lease of life at right wing-back. Back-to-back matches against Tottenham and Manchester City will test the Blues’ resilience, but they could be playing the Lilywhites at the right time.
Tottenham have the not insignificant distraction of a crucial Champions’ League against Monaco at the Stade Louis II on Tuesday, which could see them eliminated from the competition if they fail to win. Spurs’ boss Mauricio Pochettino was due to make late decisions on the fitness of Harry Kane, Delle Alli and Moussa Dembele and may be forced into changes of personnel on Saturday. In any case, Chelsea are on the crest of a wave at present so, with home advantage, let’s try the Blues to win 2-0 at 17/2 with bet365.
Selection: Chelsea to win 2-0 (17/2 with bet365)
Manchester United versus Arsenal, Saturday, November 19
Arsenal missed their previous chance of leading the Premier League at home to Tottenham a fortnight ago, but have another shot at doing so, at least for a few hours, at Old Trafford on Saturday. The Gunners lost to Liverpool by the odd goal in a seven-goal thriller at the Emirates Stadium on the opening weekend of the season, but are unbeaten since and have scored 12 goals in five away games, while conceding just three. The Red Devils have been beaten just once in five Premier League home games this season, going down 1-2 in the Manchester Derby, but manager Jose Mourinho has exhibited distinct signs of uneasiness in recent weeks.
The ‘Special One’ was charged with misconduct and fined £50,000 over comments he made about referee Anthony Taylor prior to the game against Liverpool at Anfield and was sent to the Old Trafford stands by Mark Clattenberg during the 0-0 with Burnley after an altercation in or around the tunnel area at half-time. He served a touchline ban against Swansea and was fined a further £8,000 for the latter offence. More recently, he has expressed his dismay at the culture he has inherited at Old Trafford,
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has urged Chile not to risk striker Alexis Sanchez, who picked up a low grade muscle injury on international duty, in their World Cup qualifier against Uruguay on Tuesday but, with or without the 27-year-old, Arsenal are probably playing United at just the right time. Recent form suggests that the respective defences will have the upper hand, though, so let’s try a 1-1 draw at 6/1 with William Hill.
Selection: 1-1 Draw (6/1 with William Hill)
Chelsea versus Everton, Saturday, November 5
Four wins, and four clean sheets, in a row, including dominant displays against Manchester United and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge, have left Chelsea just a point off the top of the Premier League table. A change in formation, to include three centre-backs, has secured the Blues’ erstwhile suspect defence, while star midfielder Eden Hazard appears to have regained his confidence and has already scored one more goal than he did last season. In fact, the Blues have exactly double the number of points they had at the same stage last season and, in their current mood, should be too hot for sixth-placed Everton in the evening kick-off on Saturday.
Everton managed to maintain their unbeaten record at home with a scrappy 2-0 victory over West Ham last Sunday, but their recent away form is a major cause for concern. The Toffees were completely outplayed by Bournemouth, needed goalkeeping heroics from
Maarten Stekelenburg to salvage a point at Manchester City and lost against Burnley despite dominating possession and territory.
Chelsea have scored 11 goals in their last four games, so let’s try a sporting wager on a 3-0 home win at 12/1 with bet365.
Selection: Chelsea to win 3-0 (12/1 with bet365)
Sunderland versus Arsenal, Saturday, October 29
Draws for Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal and a comprehensive 4-0 win for Chelsea against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge last weekend left the top five in the Premier League separated by just a single point. However, Arsenal can steal a march on their rivals and return to the top of the table, at least temporarily, when they play Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in the early kick-off on Saturday.
The Black Cats have made their worst ever start to a Premier League season, with just six goals and two points from nine games since David Moyes took over from Sam Allardyce in the summer. Jermain Defoe has scored four of those six goals, but the 34-year-old was largely anonymous during the 1-0 defeat by West Ham at the London Stadium last Saturday, touching the ball just once inside the opposition penalty area.
Despite enjoying 75% possession against Middlesbrough at the Emirates Stadium last Saturday, Arsenal lacked conviction in front of goal and the 0-0 draw was the sixth time in seven Premier League meetings that they’d failed to beat the Teesiders. Nevertheless, the Gooners are unbeaten in the Premier League since a 4-3 defeat by Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on the opening day of the season and have scored 19 goals in total, while conceding just nine. It’s frankly difficult to hold out much hope for rock-bottom Sunderland, so let’s try Arsenal -1 in the handicap betting market at 21/20 with Coral or Stan James.
Selection: Arsenal -1 (21/20 with Coral or Stan James)
AFC Bournemouth versus Tottenham Hotspur, Saturday, October 22
Bournemouth made it three home wins in a row with an impressive 6-1 victory over Hull City last Saturday, despite the absence of Brad Smith, Lewis Cook and Max Gradel, who all returned from international duty with significant injuries. Unbeaten Tottenham Hotspur, on the other hand, relied on a late equaliser from Dele Alli to rescue a point against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, despite enjoying more than 70% of possession.
Spurs’ striker Harry Kane was originally ruled out for eight weeks after injuring his ankle on September 18, but could be in contention for the trip to Dean Court, but defender Toby Alderweireld is unlikely to feature in Saturday’s match after being carried off on a stretcher at the Hawthorn. Nevertheless, Mauricio Pochettino’s side displayed admirable determination against what Baggies’ goalkeeper Ben Foster called “a classic Tony Pulis team” last Saturday and look bona fide title contenders.
In terms of betting opportunities, let’s not over-egg the pudding and go for Tottenham to win at even money with Betfred, Sporting Bet or plenty of others.
Selection: Tottenham Hotspur to win (1/1 generally available)
West Bromwich Albion versus Tottenham Hotspur
West Bromwich Albion have made fair, if unspectacular, start to the Premier League season, but face bona fide title contenders, in the form of Tottenham Hotspur, for the first time at the Hawthorns this Saturday. The Baggies played with width and pace when beating West Ham 4-2 at the Hawthorns three starts ago, but proved less effective in subsequent 1-1 draws against Stoke at the Bet365 Stadium and Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and may find themselves firmly on the back foot against an unbeaten Tottenham side.
Spurs’ high-octane brand of football proved too much for Premier League leaders Manchester City at White Hart Lane a fortnight ago, despite the absence of first-choice striker Harry Kane, and a repeat performance must surely be good enough. Touted as the first high-profile casualty of Spurs’ collapse at the end of last season, revitalised South Korean striker Son Heung-min has scored six goals and assisted two more in his last seven Premier League games and made a major contribution towards the Lilywhites’ best ever start to a Premier League season.
Even if Baggies’ manager Tony Pulis decides to ‘park the bus’, the home defence could be in for a torrid time, so let’s try a sporting wager on Son Heung-min to score two or more goals at 8/1 with William Hill.
Selection: Son Heung-min to score two or more goals (8/1 with William Hill)
Swansea City versus Liverpool, Saturday, October 1
Liverpool are the only team currently in the top four of the Premier League without the distraction of a midweek European fixture and can take full advantage when they face struggling Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday. The Reds continue to gather momentum after convincing wins against Leicester City, Chelsea and Hull City in recent weeks and, in fact, have scored more goals than any other team in the Premier League since Jurgen Klopp took over last October.
Swansea, by contrast, have accumulated just a single point in five games since beating Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor on the opening day of the Premier League season and the pressure is mounting on manager Francesco Guidolin. No decision has yet been made to replace Guidolin but, with former United States coach Bob Bradley, Ryan Giggs and Gianfranco Zola linked with the job, the Swans face difficult fixtures against Liverpool, followed by Arsenal, at just the wrong time.
Expect another spirited display from the hosts but, for betting purposes, let’s try Liverpool to score in both halves at 2.1 with Stan James.
Selection: Liverpool to score in both halves (2.1 with Stan James)
Manchester United versus Leicester City, Saturday, September 24
Leicester City were outplayed during their 4-1 defeat by Liverpool in front of a sell-out crowd at Anfield on their penultimate outing in the Premier League – a fact fully acknowledged by manager Claudio Ranieri – but responded by outclassing newly-promoted Burnley at the King Power Stadium last Saturday. Record signing Islam Slimani not only scored twice on his Premier League debut, but linked up well with Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy during the 3-0 victory and could be destined for further success against a United side lacking in confidence.
Successive defeats by Manchester City and Watford have left the Reds in seventh place, already six points behind the pace set by their Manchester rivals. Even with Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic restored to the side, United were ineffective against Watford, particularly in the first half, with Paul Pogba playing in a deep midfield role alongside Marouane Fellaini. The “Special One” clearly still has tactical problems to solve, so there may be some value in backing the Foxes at 22/5 with BetVictor to record their first away win of the season.
Selection: Leicester City (22/5 with BetVictor)