By Antony Jordan
This weekend sees the third round of Premier League action from the 2016/17 season and the opening day of the weekend sees eight matches being played. Three of the four sides to have won both of their opening games are in action with Chelsea facing Burnley and Hull taking on Manchester United, yet the opening match of the weekend is the big one as Tottenham face Liverpool at White Hart Lane. Neither side have looked particularly impressive as the home side needed a late winner against Crystal Palace last week to take their first win while Liverpool were beaten by Burnley.
Who’ll win this match? We preview the opening Saturday clash, as well as all other seven matches, with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our best EPL picks.
After five successive victories in a row the home side in the weekend’s opening match of EPL football managed to stem the tide last season with home and away draws against Liverpool, but they are still without a win against Jurgen Klopp’s men since November 2012. Tottenham have started the season reasonably well with a draw at Everton being followed by a win at home to Crystal Palace but, unlike last season where they were scoring goals for fun, they have been much more measured and the goals have not yet started to flow.
The hosts may need them to start coming in this match if they’re to take all three points, however this will depend on which Liverpool side arrives at White Hart Lane. They were poor defensively against Arsenal on the opening weekend but scored four times to win 4-3 at The Emirates on their last trip to North London but despite having 81% possession against Burnley the following weekend they were beaten 2-0. They did bounce back in the league cup during the week with a 5-0 win over second tier Burton Albion, but it does appear that at the top level they are struggling to keep the goals out.
Tottenham are missing the suspended Mousa Dembele and the injured Hugo Lloris in goal while Liverpool have doubts over Emre Can and Divock Origi, but with both sides looking to keep moving forward and bounce back respectively we can see this being an attacking match. We feel that there will be goals, despite Tottenham’s lack of them so far, thanks to Liverpool’s poor defensive record and the fact there have been at least three goals in six of the last eight meetings.
The KC Stadium hosts the last match of the day in the EPL this Saturday as the teams sitting third and second respectively go head to head. Very few, if any people, expected Hull to be one of the four sides that made it to the third game of the season having taken maximum points as they faced defending champions Leicester and Swansea in their openers despite having just 13 senior players available. They will be boosted by the return of defender Harry Maguire but caretaker manager Mike Phelan is unlikely to make changes against his former employers following these back to back victories.
Jose Mourinho is also likely to keep faith with his side that defeated Southampton 2-0 last weekend too as all of the same players are fit and ready to play while Jesse Lingard, who was injured in the Community Shield win over Leicester, has returned to training and may play a part too. With United certainly stronger at the start of this campaign than they have been at any stage over the last three years and having won seven of their eight EPL clashes with Hull, drawing the last clash at the KC Stadium 0-0 at the end of the 2014/15 season, we can only see this game going one way despite Hull’s bright start to the season. Expect United and their star players, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, to ease to victory in Hull this Saturday evening.
Our top Hull v Man United tip is back Manchester United to win by at least two goals (Man United -1) at odds of 2.30 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!
Chelsea are the final side playing this Saturday that have won both of their first two matches and with them at home to newly promoted Burnley will be confident that they will already have secured nine points by the time that the full time whistle blows at Stamford Bridge. They will be boosted by the return of Willian in midfield following a calf injury that saw him miss the late comeback to beat Watford and they will need it as their two winners to secure back to back wins have come from Diego Costa, who was lucky to be on the pitch on both occasions, in the 89th and 87th minutes.
Burnley were beaten 1-0 at home on the opening weekend as Leroy Fer netted an 82nd minute winner for Swansea, but they bounced back exceptionally with a 2-0 victory over Liverpool last weekend. They were knocked out of the league cup during the weekend as League Two side Accrington Stanley scored a 120th minute winner in extra time and you can be sure that for a small squad Burnley will be tired after two hours of football. However, in Sam Vokes – the Welsh hero at the Euros – and Andre Gray they have two outstanding talents up front and as Chelsea have conceded four goals in three league and cup games this season we can see goals in this match.
Our money is on Both Teams to Score – Yes @ 2.37 in this Chelsea v Burnley clash at Stamford Bridge.
The start of the 2016/17 campaigns for both Leicester and Swansea have been unusual as the defending champions were beaten at Hull in their first game before recovering well to secure a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal, but this was a big improvement from last season when they were beaten 5-2. The Swans defeated Burnley on their travels in their first match before losing 2-0 at home to Hull in a shock result. However, they did rest players and still progress in the cup during the week away at Peterborough but can they record a third straight away win this season at the King Power Stadium?
Leicester saw Swansea off 7-0 on aggregate last season with a 3-0 win at the Liberty Stadium followed up with a 4-0 thumping on this ground in April and the visitors to the Midlands this weekend have never won on this ground so we believe that the Bet365 match odds are correct on this one. The home side will also be boosted by the prospect of going a fair distance in the Champions League after a favourable draw in the group stages so we see them bringing their ‘A’ game to this match and we’re backing them to win.
After a poor start to the season that has seen them beaten 4-3 by Liverpool and draw 0-0 with Leicester the Arsenal fans were crying out for their manager to spend some funds and bring players to The Emirates. It appears as if Arsene Wenger has listened as defender Shkodran Mustafi and striker Lucas Perez appear to be on their way to North London – although certainly not in time for this match – but will the news of two potential new signings boost The Gunners for this vital clash?
They are still missing Per Mertesacker, Carl Jenkinson, Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi and Aaron Ramsey through injury for this third match of the season that sees them still searching for a first win and this will make the search for all three points more difficult, but they have not lost to Watford in the league since 1988 and will fancy their chances after a 3-0 win here last season. The return of Mesut Özil after his European Championship exertions will also be a boost for the side currently sitting 13th in the EPL table.
Watford have not started well either as they led a one goal lead slip against Southampton on the opening day and then Chelsea bagged two goals in the last ten minutes last weekend to see The Hornets beaten again. Add to this an extra time home loss to League One Gillingham during the week, again where they scored first and lost control late on, and things do not look good for this game for the home side. We expect Arsenal to have too much for their hosts and we see the side travelling 18 miles for this match to secure their opening victory of the season.
Both of these teams progressed to the third round of the League Cup during the week with 4-0 victories as Everton saw off Yeovil Town at Goodison Park and Stoke eased past Stevenage away from home, but this is where the similarities between the sides ends at the start of this season. The reason for this is that Everton are unbeaten, having won one and drawn one, and sit fifth in the league while Stoke are 17th having taken just a single point from their two games so far. Will this early season form continue in this Everton v Stoke match? Bet365.com believe so as they make the home team the odds-on favourites for victory.
New signings for The Toffees Ashley Williams and Yannick Bolasie are likely to make their full debuts in this match while injury doubts James McCarthy, Darron Gibson and Tom Cleverley may play a part at some stage of the clash. However, Seamus Coleman is certainly out of the match but the certain loss of their left back is better than Stoke’s issues as goalkeeper Jack Butland and right back Glen Johnson are not recovered enough to play for the away side this weekend. Playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri faces a late fitness test too and Mark Hughes will be hopeful he can play as without him they fell to a heavy 4-1 loss at home to Man City.
We hope that this game will be like the two clashes last season that produced ten goals as Stoke triumphed 4-3 on this ground and were then well beaten 3-0 at home, but with Ronald Koeman in charge of Everton this season we expect them to be tighter at the back and there to be fewer goals. The Dutchman has brought confidence to the Merseyside club and this was showed as they fought back against West Brom to win last week and we can see them creating enough chances and scoring enough goals against 40 year old Shay Given to win this match too.
The clash of Southampton and Sunderland at St. Mary’s sees another meeting of sides both looking for their first win of the season as the home side have taken just a point and Sunderland have suffered back to back EPL losses, however they did see off Shrewsbury Town in the League Cup during the week so will they be able to use this to kick start their Premier League season?
Sunderland do have a large number of injuries to contend with as Billy Jones, Lee Cattermole and Sebastian Larsson have been joined by goalkeeper Vito Mannone this week, while John O’Shea, Lamine Kone, Fabio Borini and Jeremain Lens are all subject to late fitness tests. They did show some attacking intent at times against Middlesbrough as they were beaten 2-1 last weekend, but they will need to vastly improve if they’re to get anything from this match.
Southampton have drawn two and won one (8-0!) of their last three home matches against Sunderland and are likely to be boosted by the return of Ryan Bertrand in defence for this match so will believe that they’re the odds-on favourites to win the game as Bet365 suggest. They have looked a reasonably decent side so far this season, but after losing their best strikers from the past two seasons in Saido Mane and Graziano Pelle this summer they are looking short on strikers. Still, they should still have enough to win this match and take all three points for the first time this season, but we do not see it being an easy victory for the south coast side.
Our top Southampton v Sunderland tip is back Southampton to win and Under 2.5 goals to be scored @ 3.25 with Bet365.
The final match that we’re looking at from Saturday sees a clash of the teams occupying the bottom two places in the EPL table as Crystal Palace have failed to score with 1-0 losses to West Brom and Tottenham while Bournemouth are yet to take a point and are bottom after losing 3-1 to Manchester United and 1-0 to West Ham. At least one of these sides will claim, at minimum, a single point this Saturday afternoon but both will be desperate to take all three and drop the other into bigger trouble, but who’ll succeed?
The only doubts for this match for both sides come from the home team as goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey is doubtful and this may see new signing Steve Mandanda make his debut for the Londoners while new signing Christian Benteke is lacking match fitness and is likely to start on the bench. With both sides short on form with Palace having just one win since April and Bournemouth one since March, while both are especially suffering in front of goal we are backing this to be a lacklustre affair with few chances and even fewer goals.
Our money is on Both Teams to Score – No at odds of 1.90 in this Crystal Palace v Bournemouth match at Selhurst Park.
There are plenty of options to choose from with eight games this Saturday in the EPL and here are our favourite three bets of the day.
- Everton to beat Stoke @ 1.72: Everton are looking much more assured at home under Ronald Koeman than they were last season under Roberto Martinez and with Ashley Williams likely to start for The Toffees this weekend their defence will become even sturdier, so we feel that a home win is on the cards in this one.
- Arsenal to beat Watford @ 1.72: Watford have been conceding late goals this season and even though Arsenal have not yet gotten into top gear they do excellently against The Hornets and we see an away win in this clash.
- Both Teams to Score – No in Crystal Palace v Bournemouth: No luck and even less goals has been the story for both Crystal Palace and Bournemouth this season so we’re backing few goals to be scored at Selhurst Park this Saturday afternoon.