By Antony Jordan
After an excellent opening to the weekend’s EPL football as Everton and Crystal Palace clashed at Goodison Park on Friday night, the October 1st Premier League game card sees another five matches being played. The majority of the sides playing today come into this pre-international break round of games looking to leave for their international matches having finally recorded a positive result to kick start their season, but who’ll be celebrating and who’ll feel down and out?
We preview all five of the Premier League matches playing this Saturday with online sportsbook Bet365.com and provide our best EPL picks.
The two sides clashing in Saturday’s EPL opener have had very different starts to the season as they come into this match sitting just outside of the bottom three and top three places in the league respectively as The Swans have taken just four points from their six league games so far, while their guests this weekend have nine more points thanks to playing some of the most exciting football in the league. Liverpool are favoured for victory this Saturday lunchtime, but were beaten 3-1 here last season. Will it be the visitors who continue their excellent start to the season or will Swansea tear up the formbook to take all three points for the second season running?
Things are very different for the home side than the last time these teams clashed at The Liberty Stadium as captain Ashley Williams and striker Andre Ayew joined Everton and West Ham respectively, leaving manager Francesco Guidolin lacking at the back and up front this season. The pressure is mounting on him now too with Ryan Giggs linked with the Swansea job. With Liverpool having netted 16 in six EPL games this season while impressing in every match bar the 2-0 loss to Burnley we can see them winning this match, but with nine goals conceded and Swansea having netted against Man City, Chelsea and Leicester this season we also goals in the early kick off.
Despite collecting seven points from their opening four matches of the season and only losing to Manchester United thanks to a last gasp winner from Maarcus Rashford, things have gone downhill for Hull in their last two games and they are currently sitting 14th in the table, roughly where they were expected to be after an awful pre-season. They suffered 4-1 and 5-1 losses to Arsenal and Liverpool, seeing Jake Livermore and Ahmed El Mohamady red carded in these games, to see them leaking goals, out of form, low on confidence and lacking in players for the visit of Chelsea this Saturday. Mike Phelan’s men are the big outsiders, but can they rediscover their early season form to upset the odds?
Chelsea have plenty of work to do as well as they come into this match without a win in three EPL games having drawn 2-2 at Swansea before losing 2-1 at home to Liverpool and 3-0 away at Arsenal last weekend. New manager Antonio Conte came into the club with high expectations about his ability to turn things around defensively, but with a vast number of injuries in the backline for him to contend with Chelsea have managed just one clean sheet this season. Hull have averaged one goal per game on home soil this season and we feel that Chelsea’s attacking players will guide them to victory the home side will not make it easy at the KC Stadium.
Two of the bottom five sides in the league clash at The London Stadium this Saturday afternoon with both sides desperate to claim all three points in an attempt to really kick start their season. In a total of 12 matches played by these two teams they have collected just eight points and, rather surprisingly after their last season, it is the home side who are lower in the table as they sit in the relegation zone with just three points to their name. West Ham are already out of the Europa League and have lost five of their six EPL clashes so far, so they are very close to crisis if they are not already in the midst of this. They are slightly favoured to win the first meeting of these two sides in four and a half years, but can they find the form to take all three points?
They will have to overcome continuing injury problem that has seen them decimated in recent times, while also finally getting to grips with their new home as this has been provided as one of the major reasons for their poor form this season. They are likely to struggle against a fully fit Middlesbrough squad too, especially considering that Boro have claimed four of their five points on the road this season. However, having said that the away side to the capital city this weekend have lost to Crystal Palace, Everton and Tottenham in their last three games and will be lacking in confidence.
As well as both team’s poor form they are both almost equal in the attacking and defensive areas of the pitch as West Ham have seen four of their six matches see both sides find the net, while Middlesbrough have gone one better with five of their games seeing this happen. As a result of this, we expect a good match between these two sides and we’re backing goals at The London Stadium.
Both Watford and Bournemouth have won two, drawn one and lost three of their opening matches in this campaign and are only separated in the table by Watford’s better goal scoring record this season. The home side at Vicarage Road have the best goal scoring record outside of the top six in the league and come into this match just a point off the top half of the league despite already having faced Southampton, Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham and Manchester United. They have several defensive and attacking players injured for this match, but first choice striking duo of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo are fit, and they will be desperate to find the net after The Hornets failed to net against Burnley last time around.
All of The Cherries seven points have come in their last four matches as they drew away at Crystal Palace – coming within seconds of victory – and winning 1-0 at home to West Brom and Everton, while the other game saw them beaten 4-0 at Man City. That loss sees them having failed to beat a current Premier League side on the road since February and they have scored more than one goal away from home only against the relegated Aston Villa in a run that goes back to March.
This suggests that it may be the home side that takes all three points in this match, but with four of the last five meetings between the teams having ended level we could just as easily see this match end as a draw also. We see a close and cagey match at Vicarage Road but our money with Watford having scored so well this season if either side is to take all three points we believe it’ll be the home team.
The final match of the five playing this Saturday comes from the Stadium of Light where The Black Cats have to attempt to bounce back from another devastating defeat last weekend to attempt to claim their first win of the season. They let Crystal Palace back into the match despite holding a 2-0 lead and a last second Christian Benteke goal saw The Eagles claim all three points and now with Adnan Januzaj, Steven Pienaar and Lee Cattermole joining the long term injuries of Vito Mannone, Sebastian Larsson, Victor Anichebe and Fabio Borini David Moyes’ men are running low on players too.
The home side have been outscored 8-3 on home soil this season, but with West Brom rarely troubling anyone with their goalscoring – especially considering that more than 50% of their goals this season came in the 4-2 win over West Ham – then Sunderland may be able to secure their first win of the season. Add to this the fact that three of the last four meetings between the sides have ended level, while there has been just a single goal in the last three clashes and we see this being a close and scrappy match. If any player is going to fire the ball into the net from either side we feel that Sunderland striker Jermaine Defoe, who has already netted four goals this season, will be the man to do this.