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)
Hull City versus Arsenal, Saturday, September 10
Tigers’ caretaker manager Mike Phelan did his chances of being appointed on a permanent basis by winning the Barclays Premier League manager of the month award for August and will be hoping that his side continues its remarkable start to the season against Arsenal at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday.
Two wins and a draw from four Premier League games leaves the former relegation favourites in eighth place, on level points with Arsenal, and anyone who takes the 3/5 available for an away win could be in for a nervy afternoon. The Gunners struggled in front of goal on their last Premier League outing against Southampton at the Emirates and may do so again in the face of determined, spirited defending from Curtis Davies and company.
At the other end of the pitch, a rejuvenated Robert Snodgrass, who spent 16 months on the sidelines after dislocating his kneecap, has been a key figure in the Tigers’ success. Snodgrass has scored three goals and assisted two more in his last eight league appearances for Hull City, not to mention scoring a hat-trick for Scotland during their 5-1 defeat of Malta in the international break, so looks cracking value at 11/2 with Paddy Power to get his name on the scoresheet at some point during the 90 minutes.
Selection: Anytime Scorer – Robert Snodgrass (11/2 with Paddy Power)
Manchester United versus Manchester City, Saturday, September 10
The Premier League season resumes following the international break, on September 10, with the pivotal Manchester derby at Old Trafford. Last season, both Manchester clubs were ultimately just bit part players in one of the most remarkable stories in the history of English football but, with new, ‘superstar’ managers in charge and both teams with 100% records after three games in the Premier League, a similar scenario seems unlikely this time.
The Red Devils (4/3) are probably justifiably favourites against the Sky Blues (29/12), who are without top-scorer Sergio Aguero, banned for three games after being found guilty of violent conduct against West Ham on August 28. Aguero has scored three goals in three Premier League games, not to mention a hat-trick (and two missed penalties) in the first leg of the Champions League qualifier against Steaua Bucharest, so he will be missed. That said, summer signing Manuel Agudo Durán, known as Nolito, has scored three goals and assisted two more in five games in all competitions, while a rejuvenated Rahim Sterling has scored two goals and assisted three more in four games.
City still have plenty of firepower so, in search of a little value, let’s try both teams to score and Manchester City to win at 11/2 with bet365.
It’s good to be back to covering the league this year. If you’re not spent after this week’s football feast, have a play on New GVG Slot games. It’s a good time waster and if nowadays there are so many slot machine options. Weirdly I tend to do best on the games I’m new to, rather that the ones that in theory I already know how to play. Bring on my oblivious riches!
Selection: Both Teams to Score/Manchester City to win (11/2 with bet365)