By Antony Jordan
Saturday is the second day of matches from round five of the Premier League season following the Chelsea v Liverpool clash last night and there are another five games being played. The biggest games see two sides that were successful in the Champions League look to kick start their season and stretch their advantage at the top of the table as Leicester host newly promoted Burnley and Man City welcome Bournemouth to an Etihad Stadium that was washed out on Tuesday night.
We preview this massive duo of matches along with the day’s other three clashes with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our best EPL picks.
Leicester return from Belgium having made history as they cruised to a 3-0 victory against Club Brugge in their first ever match in the Champions League as Marc Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez guided them to the top of their group. However, its back to the domestic duties and they’ll hope that their European adventures will help kick start their EPL title defence as they start the weekend in 16th place having taken just four points from four games. They are sure to take confidence from that performance, but how will they manage with these two matches being so close together?
All four points for Leicester have come on home soil as they drew 0-0 with Arsenal and then defeated Swansea 2-1, although they were hanging on after The Swans got their goal with ten minutes to go, but with Burnley’s only away match this season seeing them beaten 3-0 at Chelsea this one could be easier for The Foxes. Despite their respective strong and weak performances at home and on the road the last two meetings between these sides on this ground have seen the sides share the spoils and there is a chance that this could happen again as Sean Dyche will set his Clarets side out to sit deep, defend and try to hit their hosts on the counter.
With their win during the week we feel that Leicester will be more than happy to have the majority of possession and they’ll take their chances to secure all three points. Odds of 1.55 to win do not provide the best return and we are skipping over this and moving onto the goalscorer markets. Jamie Vardy has netted three times this season already and with him not netting in Belgium we favour the England man to make the headlines this Saturday.
City come into this match sitting top of the Premier League having won all four of their matches in the league this season and having managed to rest the attacking talent that Pep Guardiola has at his disposal as he started Sergio Aguero who still has two games to run in his domestic ban. The Argentine striker will be missed as he netted three of the four goals against Monchengladbach on Wednesday night’s deferred match following its postponement due to rain on Tuesday, but as Kevin de Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho netted against Manchester United last weekend in Aguero’s first match of his ban City certainly have enough talent to find the net in this one too.
They are the massive favourites to win and we feel that the one thing that could stop them winning this match is themselves. Pep Guardiola brought in Claudio Bravo in goal and got rid of Joe Hart due to his distribution abilities yet after he flapped at high balls and crosses versus Man United and was closed down regularly with the ball at his feet last weekend they are asking to concede goals. They have no clean sheets in the league this season and with Bournemouth only failing to score once in their four games this season there is certain to be more pressure on the City goal this weekend. City did beat Bournemouth 9-1 on aggregate last season but that single goal came on this ground and we can see the same kind of result this weekend, so we are backing a City win but one that sees both of these teams on the scoresheet.
Both of these two sides clashing in the late kick off at Goodison Park have had fine starts to the season as Everton’s 3-0 win away to a hapless Sunderland on Monday Night Football moved them to third in the league while their guests this Saturday evening begin the weekend in the top half of the table having taken five points from their four games. Going on history of this fixture alone it will be the home side who have the more confidence as they have not lost to ‘Boro in a decade and have won five and drawn two of the seven meetings since that time, including triumphing 2-0 at The Riverside last December in the league cup. They are favoured to go eight games unbeaten against the newly promoted side, but can they continue their impressive start to the season?
New manager Ronald Koeman will be delighted that key striker Romelu Lukaku has rediscovered his goal scoring form as he has five goals in September after a goalless August as he netted two for Belgium against Cyprus before scoring all three at the Stadium of Light on Monday. Add to this the league’s best defensive record with just two goals conceded in the EPL – and neither of these were scored when new signing Ashley Williams has been on the pitch – and odds of 1.66 are looking very good value for a home win in this late game.
However, Middlesbrough have claimed four of their five points on their travels this season with a 2-1 win at Sunderland and a 0-0 draw at West Brom so they will be optimistic coming into this match. However, the level of their opposition in their two away games has nothing on Everton and their top defensive record so we are struggling to see Middlesbrough get anything from this match and we see an easy home win.
Hull have had a great start to the season (and they come into this match behind their guests on goal difference alone) but this match is historically not one of their strongest as they have lost nine and drawn three of their last 12 clashes since shocking the odds to win 2-1 at The Emirates in 2008. However, with attacking players Will Keane and Dieumerci Mbokani both looking to make their home debuts after joining the side in the summer transfer window to boost a front line that has failed to score just once this season they will hope to end this winless streak against Arsenal this Saturday afternoon.
The Gunners have kept just a single clean sheet this season, while they have also conceded six goals in their other four EPL and Champions League games during this campaign, and will be tired from their midweek draw in Paris we feel that the confidence Hull may be able to snatch something from this game. This belief is boosted by the fact that Aaron Ramsey, Gabriel, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are all out injured and there are also doubts over the Olivier Giroud – who was red carded against PSG – and Theo Walcott for this game. This will leave Alexis Sanchez as the key man up front for Arsene Wenger and the Chilean has netted four, with two further assists, in four matches against Hull and no matter how this clash plays out or who takes the points we favour Sanchez to find the net in this match at The KC Stadium.
Last season’s meetings between The Baggies and The Hammers saw the sides share the spoils at Upton Park before West Ham triumphed 3-0 on this ground as they ran out comfortable winners. Bet365 do not see this match going that way this season as they make both sides are available at odds of 2.80 to win the game. If West Ham are to win back to back matches at The Hawthorns then they will need to be much better than last weekend as they let a two goal lead against Watford slip as they were beaten 4-2 and this leaves them out of Europe and fourth bottom of the league. They certainly have the talent, but do Slaven Bilic’s men have the will to turn things around in a match against a defensively solid West Brom?
The home side are struggling as they have managed just one point since defeating Crystal Palace on the opening day as they drew with newly promoted Middlesbrough between a home defeat to Everton and an away loss at Bournemouth last weekend. They were also eliminated from the league cup by League One side Northampton Town on penalties and of the two sides clashing in the Midlands today they are certainly the weaker of the two. West Ham should win this match and they’ll be motivated to do so after surely getting the hairdryer treatment from Bilic after the Watford game. Still, it’ll be a close game as West Brom do defend well and we see a close clash, but we are backing the away win in this one.