By Antony Jordan
This weekend sees the sixth round of action from the 2016/17 Premier League season and we’re in for a busy Saturday as eight of the ten games are played on the opening day of football. All of the biggest names are in action and should Man City drop points at Swansea it is very possible that we could see Everton top of the table come Saturday evening if they can beat Bournemouth. Can The Toffees go top of the league?
We preview all eight games, including the massive opener in Manchester United v Leicester at Old Trafford, with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our biggest and best EPL picks from Saturday’s football action.
Both of these sides come into this first match of the EPL weekend having ended a run of form in the EPL Cup during the week as Manchester United’s 3-1 win at League One Northampton saw them break a three match losing streak while The Foxes let a two goal lead slip against Chelsea to lose 4-2 in extra time. That brought an end to their resurgence that had seen 3-0 wins over Club Brugge in the Champions League and Burnley in the Premier League, but with both teams clashing at Old Trafford being inconsistent this season both teams will fancy their chances at victory this Saturday.
Both games last season between the sides ended 1-1 and there was once again goals as the teams clashed at Wembley before the season in the Community Shield as United ran out 2-1 winners. This brings the total to five successive matches of both teams finding the net against each other and with three of the last four games from the home side in this tie and all of the last five clashes for the visitors seeing at least three goals we see a thriller.
Both sides have injury doubts for this game, although they are both are full strength in forward areas and it is defensively where they are struggling for this match, and with both sides very capable of scoring goals we’re backing a continuation of their form against each other in this one.
The final match playing in the EPL this Saturday is also a massive game as its North versus West in this London derby at The Emirates where the sides sitting fourth and fifth in the league table do battle. Although the Bet365 match odds suggest a home win in this one, it is Chelsea who have had the better of recent meetings with six wins and three draws in their nine EPL clashes since 2011, with The Gunners failing to find the net in the last six matches between the sides. Despite this four goals in both of their last two league and cup games against Hull and Nottingham Forest, as well as being unbeaten since their opening day loss to Liverpool, will see them in fine form for this clash, but will this confidence be enough to end their hoodoo against The Blues?
They will be missing Aaron Ramsey for this match while key forward Oliver Giroud is struggling with a toe injury also and may not be risked, but with Alexis Sanchez, as well as new signings Granit Xhaka and Lucas Perez, all bagging two goals in the last two games there is plenty of chance for goals from the home team in this game.
Chelsea are still missing John Terry and Kurt Zouma in defence, but despite Antonio Conte having marketed as a defensive manager this has not been his strength this season. They have scored 17 goals in their seven games in all competitions but have just one clean sheet and this again has pushed us towards goals in North London. We feel that both sides will feel they can win this one, and we are not ones to argue with this, so we’re backing something we feel is more sure in the goals market instead.
The starts to the season for these two sides could not be further apart as the home side at The Liberty Stadium have collected just four points from their five games having averaged less than a goal per game while City sit top of the pile having won five from five, scoring 15 times in the process. Pep Guardiola’s men are the big favourites to knock the EPL for six this weekend and with Sergio Aguero back in the starting XI after a ban it would not be a surprise for us to see City run riot in Wales this Saturday afternoon.
City have won seven and drawn two of the last nine meetings between the sides, including winning 2-1, 4-2 and 3-2 on their last three visits to this stadium, while there have been 25 goals between the sides in the last seven clashes. The last of these meetings came just three days ago as a rested City team saw Gael Clichy and Aleix Garcia put the away side into the lead before Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurðsson got a goal back late on to no avail, and with City playing a much stronger side in this one we cannot see anything but a comfortable and goal filled win for the away side.
Everton manager returns to familiar territory this weekend as he takes his new Everton side to the south coast, where he managed Southampton last season, to take on Eddie Howe and Bournemouth as well as attempt to go top of the league if Swansea can do them a favour (and kill our pick in the process!). Both of these sides had torrid midweek games as they exited the cup to second tier sides, but Everton will be more grateful that they were beaten by Norwich in normal time rather than playing for two hours unlike Bournemouth, but who’ll be able to bounce back better?
Everton have conceded just three goals all season, which is the same amount scored by Bournemouth, and with them having netted ten goals this season, with six coming in the last two EPL games, along with seeing Lukaku return from injury we feel that Everton are looking good value at even money to win this one. Bournemouth have a full squad to choose from for this match and this puts them at a slight advantage to a more injury hit Everton as James McCarthy, Darren Gibson and Muhamed Besic are all out.
However, the returning Romelu Lukaku will be the deciding factor in this match and we’re backing the Belgian to continue his hot streak in September with another goal.
Although they are both of the EPL table having claimed just a single point all season and also exited the cup during the week with a 2-1 home loss to Hull, Stoke come into this clash with a West Brom side fired up after bagging four goals against West Ham last weekend as the favourites to take all three points. As well as collecting just one point so far this season, Stoke have the joint worst goal scoring record at three and, with 14 goals conceded in five matches, they have the worst defensive record of all 20 teams in the division. They are missing their number one goalkeeper in Jack Butland and now Jon Walters is out injured, but if the returning Xherdan Shaqiri can find his feet quickly Mark Hughes’ side may be able to collect their first three point haul this weekend.
However, with The Baggies having netted twice as many goals and conceded only five in five matches while having an almost fully fit squad they will be no pushovers. This is especially true with removing the last result against West Ham as it leaves two goals scored and just three conceded in four matches and with a total of 11 goals scored in the last eight meetings between the teams we cannot see this being a goal filled match despite Stoke’s defensive issues.
However, there is little value on few goals in this clash and we feel that if either side is to win this match then it’ll be the more defensively solid West Brom team and we’re backing them to take the points with a little bit of insurance on them too.
Both of these sides booked their places in the last 16 stage of the EFL Cup during the week as Liverpool triumphed 3-0 at Championship side Derby County and Hull came from a goal down to score in injury time at the end of the first and second halves to beat Stoke 2-1. This extended Liverpool’s unbeaten run to five games – where they have won four and scored 15 goals – while Hull arrested a three game winless streak that has seen them slide to mid-table from the early season heights of challenging for top spot. Will that win over Stoke see Hull record back to back wins for the first time since they won three in a row at the end of August?
It will be difficult as after their shock 2-0 loss at Burnley, Liverpool have found some excellent form and they are scoring goals for fun. Even though striker Daniel Sturridge is an injury doubt for this match their last nine goals have been scored by eight different players and Liverpool have more than enough firepower to win this game. They have not been beaten at home since January and even though Hull have surprised a lot of people with their performances this season, we feel that the home side have far too much strength up front to be stopped.
These two teams meet for the first time since 2009 when Tottenham gained revenge for a 2-1 loss at The Riverside with a 4-0 thumping of Boro at White Hart Lane and after beating Stoke by the same scoreline in their last EPL away match they will fancy their chances of a repeat in this match. The biggest problems that the visitors to the North East have in this match is injuries with Harry Kane and Danny Rose definitely out while Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier are big doubts with hamstring injuries, but with only two of their 11 goals scored in their last four games in all competitions Tottenham, in a similar situation to Liverpool, have plenty of strength in depth to continue scoring goals without these key men.
While things are looking positive for third placed Tottenham in many senses, the opposite can be said for their hosts in this weekend’s game as they are winless in four matches since beating Sunderland 2-1 over a month ago. Second tier side Fulham sent them out of the EFL Cup in extra time and since then Aitor Karanka’s men have drawn 0-0 at West Brom and then lost 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace and 3-1 at Everton. They are conceding goals and scoring few, which we feel will leave them in big trouble against the free scoring Londoners and with Tottenham available at better than even money we feel that they are the value pick in this clash.
The final match from Saturday that we’re taking a look at comes from the Stadium of Light where an injury hit Sunderland are looking to add to their single point against a Crystal Palace side that has moved from the foot of the league into the top ten with a three match unbeaten run. However, the hosts are missing long term injured players goalkeeper Vito Mannone, midfielder Seb Larsson and forward Fabio Borini still and have big doubts over the fitness of Jermain Defoe and Wahbi Khazri for this match.
Palace have their own injury issues with defenders Scott Dann and Pape Souare as well as striker Loic Remy definitely out while another defender in James Tomkins is also doubtful. However, unlike their hosts who have netted just three times this season, Alan Pardew’s men have bagged seven goals in their last three EPL games and this is down to the signing of former Aston Villa and Liverpool striker Christian Benteke to give the London side a focal point up front. The Belgian has netted six times in seven Premier League meetings with Sunderland and we can see him offering the best value in this clash to find the net again.
Best EPL Picks:
Each week we pick three of our favourite bets from that week’s number of games and highlight them for you as our favourite wagers of the weekend. Here are this Saturday’s trio of EPL picks:
- Both Teams to Score – Yes in Man United v Leicester @ 1.80
- Over 2.5 goals in Arsenal v Chelsea @ 1.72
- Christian Benteke to score anytime v Sunderland @ 2.62
All of these three picks have a common theme this week as all of the four sides in the first two bets and Sunderland in the final wager are all having issues defending this season so far and are leaking goals. None of the four sides already mentioned have issues finding the net either and with Benteke having bagged so many against Sunderland in the past whilst being key to Crystal Palace’s strategy to win we cannot see a lack of goals from any of them this weekend either, so our favoured picks are all about goals this Saturday.