The Premier League returns this Saturday lunchtime following a break for two international football qualifiers for the 2016 European Championships. Wayne Rooney was the name on everybody’s lips as he became England’s all time top goalscorer and this weekend he takes centre stage again as Manchester United versus Liverpool at Old Trafford tops the bill of top drawer games, including Everton v Chelsea and the top of the table clash between Crystal Palace and Manchester City.
Can Rooney fire United to victory for the third time in a row against Brendan Rodgers’ men? We preview all of Saturday’s EPL action and provide our top EPL picks. All odds are provided by online sportsbook WilliamHill.com.
Man United v Liverpool: 1.91 – 3.40 – 4.00
The biggest game in the EPL this weekend as the English top flight returns from an international break is the late kickoff as one of the biggest and oldest rivalries in English football is renewed for another season. Manchester United and Liverpool are hated rivals with Sir Alex Ferguson having aimed to overthrow Liverpool as the side with the most titles, and he succeeded in doing so before his retirement. Louis van Gaal has done well against Liverpool with last season seeing a 3-0 home win and a 2-1 win at Anfield, and according to William Hill he is favoured to make it three wins from three this weekend too.
Both of these teams have claimed seven points from their opening four league matches thanks to two wins and a draw as well as losing their final match before the international break. United let a one goal lead slip against Swansea as they were beaten 2-1 by the Welsh side whereas Liverpool were thumped 3-0 by West Ham at Anfield two weeks ago. Of the two sides United are slightly the better in goals scored and conceded at 3:2 compared to 2:3 for Brendan Rodgers’ men. With United seemingly the slightly better side and having home advantage we feel that they’ll be the side to snatch all three points in what promises to be a slightly dour match.
Back Man United to beat Liverpool at odds of 1.91 in the William Hill Sportsbook.
Everton v Chelsea: 4.20 – 3.60 – 1.83
The opening game of the weekend sees the sides sitting ninth and 13th in the Premier League table looking to kick start their campaigns. Everton have had a mediocre start to the season for a side that were expected to be challenging for a place in the top six this season as they have drawn two and won just one of their four matches, but their only loss came at home to the unstoppable Manchester City. Chelsea have found things tougher going as their opening four matches have yielded just four points as they have suffered losses to Man City and Crystal Palace while seeing players red carded in the 2-2 draw with Swansea and narrow 3-2 win at West Brom.
Everton have been in relatively good for on home soil against the current EPL champions having lost just twice since 2008, securing four wins and two draws in the other six games in that time. They were beaten 6-3 here last season, but they are one of the better looking sides in the league despite their set of flat results while Chelsea have looked to be struggling, and with several players including goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois likely to be missing for this clash, we can only see things being difficult for them again this weekend. Back Everton/Draw Double Chance @ 1.75.
West Brom v Southampton: 2.80 – 3.00 – 2.50
This Baggies versus Saints clash at The Hawthorns this Saturday afternoon sees another clash of two sides sitting on four and five points from their opening four matches of the EPL season. West Brom moved out of the bottom three places in the division with a 0-1 away win at Stoke before the break for international football as the home team saw two red cards in the opening half an hour of the game, but after conceding six goals in their opening pair of home games in losses to Man City and Chelsea the Midlanders will be worried as they welcome the side with the best defence in the league last season.
Southampton, however, had looked poor so far this season with them failing to hit the net in two of their opening trio of matches as they were beaten 3-0 at home to Everton and drew 0-0 away at newcomers Watford. They did find their scoring boots as they ran rampant against Norwich two weekends ago as they bagged three goals following the Canaries being reduced to ten men, but can they add to their tally this weekend?
Matches between these two sides recently have not been goal filled with just one goal last season and just three over the last four clashes, and with Tony Pulis managing West Brom now while Southampton are hit and miss we feel that there will once again be few goals. Back both sides not to score at odds of 1.80 with William Hill.
Watford v Swansea: 2.60 – 3.10 – 2.60
William Hill make these two sides level in the betting market to take all three points in this match at Vicarage Road, but with Watford having drawn three and lost one of their four matches this season while Swansea have won two and drawn two to see them sitting fourth bottom and fourth respectively the visitors will certainly fancy their chances.
Both teams have drawn their two respective home and away matches this season, but with Swansea bagging three while Watford’s two games at Vicarage Road have ended 0-0 we feel that the odds on the visiting Welsh team are too high and we’re backing an away win for Swansea. Our money is on Swansea to beat Watford @ 2.60.
Arsenal v Stoke: 1.25 – 5.00 – 11.00
The home side in this clash between Arsenal and Stoke are certainly the happier of the two sides so far as they sit sixth with two wins and a draw seeing them claim seven points following a shock 2-0 defeat at The Emirates to West Ham on the opening day of the season. Stoke, on the other hand, have collected just two points as they lost 1-0 at home to Liverpool and West Brom – with the latter assisted by two very early red cards – while they have drawn both of their away matches this season as they came back from 2-0 down at half time to Tottenham and fought a tight battle at Norwich.
However, with them missing both Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam for this match through suspension we have a feeling that they may be overran in the middle of the park, even with top quality players such as Xherdan Shaqiri on the pitch, and we’ll see all three points for the home side and with Alexis Sanchez being the man to bag two goals in a 3-0 win last season on this ground we feel that the Chilean is the man to fire the Gunners to victory. Back the home win with Sanchez to score at odds of 2.50 at WilliamHill.com.
Norwich v Bournemouth: 2.37 – 3.40 – 2.90
Norwich and Bournemouth both found themselves promoted to the Premier League this season after finishing third and first in the Championship last season but in their only clashes in recent history it was the home side in this Saturday’s Premier League action that performed best. The Canaries followed up an early season 1-1 home draw with a 2-1 win at Dean Court in January of this year, but can they take points from a third successive match against the Cherries this weekend?
Both sides have averaged a point a game this season with Norwich beating Sunderland 3-1 and drawing 1-1 with Stoke while Bournemouth have beaten West Ham 4-3 and drawn with Leicester. Norwich’s points came in games two and three as they were beaten by Crystal Palace on the opening day and then brushed aside by Southampton prior to the international break, while Eddie Howe’s men were edged 1-0 by Aston Villa and Liverpool in their first two games before collecting their points. Both teams are more than capable of winning this match and already look like proven top flight teams so we see plenty of chances and our money is on goals from both teams at Carrow Road this Saturday afternoon @ 1.70 in the William Hill Sportsbook!
Crystal Palace v Man City: 5.50 – 4.00 – 1.57
Possibly the most intriguing game of the weekend, if not the biggest draw, as sides sitting second and first in the EPL clash at Selhurst Park. Palace have looked fantastic this season under Alan Pardew and their three wins and one defeat, to Arsenal, sees them enjoying their best start to a season in the Premier League. City, too, are looking in fine form with ten goals scored in four matches and no goals conceded.
Last season saw City triumph 3-0 at The Etihad but lose 2-1 in London and with Palace having beaten Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge prior to the international break they will be full of confidence for this match as they aim to bag the first goal against City this season and take points away from the 2013/14 champions. They are missing Mile Jedinak and Joel Ward in key positions for this game, but with City seeing Wilfred Bony, Fernando, Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy all doubtful for this clash there may be a level playing field.
Usually we’d say back City to win the game, but at odds of 1.57 they offer little value so we are going the opposite way boosted by Palace’s early season form and we’re backing the home team to get something from this match by causing an upset, something that we have seen plenty of already this Premier League season. Back Crystal Palace/Draw Double Chance at odds of 2.25 with William Hill.